11 Uses for Wine Bottles

stoneraven/stock.xchngWine bottles are just one of those things that tend to collect around the house. Certainly you can simply recycle them, but here are a few suggestions for creative uses for your empty wine bottles. If you aren’t a wine drinker, you may enjoy one or more of these ideas enough to want to scoop up some of your friends' leftover wine bottles.

1. Refill the bottles with gourmet liquids: Clean and refill bottles with your own homemade wine, herb-infused vinegars or oils for your own use or to be given as presents to your foodie friends.

2. Build borders for gardens, paths and walkways: Naturally, you’ll need quite a few bottles for this. Remove labels. For a path or walkway, dig a trench along the edge (and possibly refill with a mix of sand and earth) for easier placement. For gardens, you can create various designs no matter how small the space; outline with powdered lime -- this placement guide will also add nutrients to the soil. 

3. Hummingbird feeder: Wrap copper wire in a decorative design around the wine bottle, leaving enough wire at its bottom (which will become the top of your hummingbird feeder) for a hook to hang the feeder. Fill bottle with a prepackaged solution or a mix of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Place a hummingbird feeder nozzle (sold at some garden supply stores or online) in the bottle and you are all set. Much less pricey than a store-bought feeder!

4. Candle holders: Aside from simply placing a tall taper in an empty, clean wine bottle, you can explore all kinds of creative ways to transform empty wine bottles into elegant, unique candle holders if you are comfortable with and have the right tools for cutting glass. Naturally, you will want to sand or otherwise smooth off the sharp edges. The bottle will also protect the candle flame from the wind if placed outdoors.

5. Bottle or "spirit" trees: In sub-Saharan Africa and Arabia, legend has it that bottle trees captured evil spirits in the night, which were later burned off by the sun's heat. Clean bottles and remove labels. Either use the branches of a dead tree or create your own bottle tree by placing a fence post in cement and nailing 3-inch nails into the post. To attach the bottles (which traditionally are blue, but you can use any color you like), insert a branch into each bottle neck. The tree is best placed in a sunny area where the bottles can refract light. You may need to hose off the bottle tree from time to time. 

6. Decorative light refraction: Fill variously colored bottles with sand, beach glass, stones, or other objects and place in a sunny window. It's like a homemade light-refracting cut glass crystal. 

7. Water plants while you are away: If the plant and pot are large enough to accommodate the bottle, simply fill with water and insert the neck into the soil. The liquid will slowly water your plant.

8. Rolling pin: Take a clean wine bottle, remove the label, fill the bottle with water, cork it and store in the refrigerator. The weight and coolness of the bottle work well for rolling out pastry dough.

9. Replace a pitcher: Wine bottles are often reused in Europe, even in restaurants, to serve water or carbonated water. The bottles are attractive and take up less space than a pitcher.

10. Target practice: I don’t think I need to explain.

11. Create mosaics: With broken glass from colorful wine bottles (you may want to place the glass in a rock tumbler for a while to smooth out sharp edges), produce mosaic patio tiles. Either place the glass randomly in wet cement (in a mold) or create your own design.

Now you can enjoy your wine and your wine bottle.

Updated October 4, 2018.

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