Candle making is one of the first adventures I took with this blog, which is why the blog name is more of a company name than it is a blog name.
I wanted to create something and wasn’t sure what. I also love candles. So why not make some? I was interested in the process and realized there is SO much involved with making the candles. To make things more complicated, I didn’t want to just buy the containers and fill them. I wanted to upcycle in any way possible. That’s where beer and wine bottles came in. This isn’t some new idea – there are a few other creators of this product and their stuff is pretty neat. I am still trying to figure out a way to make mine stand out. But I also wanted to help others learn the process if they want to give it a try – enter this blog post.
So. Let’s get to crackin’. Just kidding, cracking the bottles results in a big glass shard pile. But you will soon learn that’s how it felt my first go around.
I bought this bottle cutter here first. Cheap, decent reviews, and enough to get me started. However, it worked about 40% of the time. And it did not come with rubber rings, which are NECESSARY if you want to keep the label intact. See some results here:
I ended up having to trash a lot of glass. (Fun fact: my county doesn’t recycle glass. This is what sparked the whole idea in the first place!) It was frustrating and I didn’t think it was worth the effort. Do you know how long it took to sand those bad boys? I was sore for the next 3 days. Mainly because I am out of shape but sanding blocks are a pain in the ass and jagged glass is terrifying. Thankfully, the kit DID come with some nice cloth/rubber combo gloves that made things feel a little bit safer.
Spend the Money
Enter this bottle cutter. It worked about 75% of the time, which is pretty good for the first go around with about 20 bottles! Why was this one so much better? (PS – No affiliate links here. I wish! That thing wasn’t cheap!)
It gave me tips and tricks. We all need those in a DIY project!
- RUBBER RINGS: These cute little things went right above and below the score line. What makes that so special? The hot/cold water combo stayed within the rings, therefore reducing the risk of cracking unevenly (and down the side, UGH) but also kept the labels intact!
Materials Needed to Start Cracking:
- A bottle cutter (do your research – I am not affiliated with these companies and am not endorsing either but just giving you an idea of what I tried.)
- Plenty of newspaper to lay down to protect any surfaces.
- Eye protection (get some glasses that don’t make you sweat and feel disgusting halfway through. That is the worst and you look like an idiot.)
- Protective gloves (I got lucky with my first cutter – it included them!)
- Sand paper. Sanding blocks. Emery cloth. They all work. But if you cutter does a good job, you barely need to sand.
- Dishwasher or sink. There really isn’t a need to clean the bottles beforehand unless you are trying to keep the label intact. I would suggest cleaning it out with a non-abrasive cleaner (something more ecofriendly) because you will eventually pour some wax into them.
- Either some pots to boil water and hold ice water. Or, what I sometimes use, is Pyrex-type measuring cups (GLASS – THEY GO IN THE MICROWAVE!). I boil the water in the microwave so I don’t have the stove (or beer brewing pot using gas!) going and just keep refilling ice water.
- I used an aluminum tray to pour alternating temps of water. Why? Because I’m an environmental geek and reused the water as long as there was minimally tiny pieces of glass in it. It all gets cleaned out ridiculously afterward, I promise!
- Patience. Read this post a few times over and save yourself a few minutes of frustration and risk of hurting yourself. I already did all of that for you!
Scoring Process (Really Amateur Video Included!)
- Put your protective gloves on, things are about to get fun! Set up your space. Be ready for water to spill and stay in a space where glass is okay to be broken. (Let’s not do this in the guest bedroom, mmkay?) The garage is good. I layered newspaper like a madwoman on my kitchen island and that worked well, too.
- Get your bottles lined up. If you get in a groove, be sure to have the bottles ready for scoring. Don’t be a dum dum and put them where your clumsy self will knock them over.
- Set up and READ THE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE BOTTLE CUTTER YOU BOUGHT. I can’t stress this enough. Understand the process. There is usually pictures but I will also explain it here in a general sense because your cutter might vary.
- Put out your bucket or pot of ice water. Start boiling or microwaving your hot water. (If you need instructions on how to do this, please exit the browser now and go to Bath & Body Works and buy a damn candle. There is no hope for you with this DIY.)
- Start scoring. What is scoring? It’s the tiny little wheel in your cutter that creates a small etch in your glass. It goes around the whole bottle ONCE.
My Very First Video Tutorial – Please do laugh. Check on my Instagram feed for a kind of funny blooper.
Hot/Cold Water Process (The ACTUAL cutting part!)
- Once you have your perfect (or nearly) line, you will add your rubber rings to either side of it as close to the etching that you can get without it rolling off.
- Using a glass pouring pitcher of some sort (my measuring glass has the little spout) and slowly add the boiling/VERY HOT water within the two rings. I find that about 1.5 cups of boiling water is sufficient.
- Now take the ice cold water and do the same (here’s where I do a bit more cold than hot because ice water is quicker to make than hot water!). This results in one of three things:
- The bottle does nothing: Repeat steps 2 and 3.
- The bottle partially cracks: Repeat steps 2 and 3. Do not try to re-score!
- The bottle cracks and the top falls off into your puddle of water. Angels descend from the sky and land on your shoulders and cheer loudly. Glitter falls all around you.
Tip: With the right lighting (and you should be doing this in a well-lit room and not in a dark, creepy basement unless that’s your thing) you can start to see the scoring line change its appearance.
Once you have successfully separated the top and bottom, sand and smooth the edges. Voila!
Tip: Emery cloth or a sanding block will work best, especially if you have a perfect cut. Use a heavier sanding block if you get a tiny jagged piece that didn’t crack perfectly.
Coming Soon: Part Two – Melting, mixing, and pouring the soy wax.