I once believed that there was a limit to the uses of used wine cork. It turns out, I was wrong. Some of the Internet's most creative DIY-ers are pushing the boundaries of crafts using wine cork, wine bottles and whatever else might be left over after a night of drinking.
As someone who searches the Web for wine-related stories more often than the average person (I'd suspect, anyhow), I've come across a lot of strange examples of wine cork or wine bottle DIY projects.
While I'm somewhat disturbed by these overzealous DIY-ers, I'm also kind of impressed. So, I decided to try my hand at a bit of DIY. Spoiler: it didn't turn out well.
The Wine Above
For those who love wine so much they want to be reminded of it whenever they look up, the wine cork "hanging ball" might be a good project to start with.
I gave it a whirl. The original directions called for a 10" Styrofoam ball but since I was limited on corks (if you can believe it), I opted for a 5" ball. I also needed a glue gun and some wire chord. I tried to replace the wire with a screw eye hook but the ball was too heavy for that -- so get some wire.
This was a pretty easy project that only requires a few hours of your time. But with about 70 corks, I still ran out before I was finished. In fact, you're looking at my finished product here, so just make sure you're prepared with well over 100 corks. Helpful hint: check out a nearby craft store to see if they sell extra used wine corks if you're running low.
Another one to try: the wine cork chandelier makes any dining room more wine-oriented.
I came across directions on how to make a cork pirate ship and figured I'd try it out -- because I wanted to play with it!
Full disclosure: this is actually meant as table decor for a dinner party but that just sounds silly. I think of this as more of a bauble. Maybe not a kids' toy since it involves straight pins and likely has some wine residue left, but it'd be a good toy for me!
This project turned out the best of all of my DIY attempts. All I had to do was cut off a small portion of the cork lengthwise to create a flat bottom, fold some paper, pin it and glue it a little. It's now a tchotchke on my desk.
Another one to try: the wine cork man is cute but he's not a good replacement for a date.
Gettin' Artsy With It
Cork is a terrific vehicle for stamps. Or so I'm told. I thought I'd be able to create an adorable turtle stamp from a cork relatively easily based on what I'd read. It didn't work out.
The directions told me to cut the end of the cork off to have a perfectly flat surface. I may have had a poor slicing tool but I did not end up with a flat surface. In fact, I used the other side of the cork and was able to make an okay drawing of a turtle.
Granted, it's not perfect but I'm not artist. A more adept individual would probably have better luck. Also, make sure you have some stamp ink on hand.
Another one to try: A wine cork cork board is far more exciting than a boring old-fashioned cork board.
Decking the Halls
Holiday decorations are the perfect use for used wine corks. In fact, you probably have a lot of used wine corks from the previous holiday season to work with.
The wine cork garland seemed like the best option for me since most of the other ones seemed a bit more complicated than I could manage. I used some green ribbon and tied it around the cork adding wooden beads in between the corks.
It might have turned out better if I'd drilled holes into the corks and pulled the ribbon through but I was short a drill and I thought my method worked well enough.
Another one to try: I just really want someone to make me this adorable wine cork angel!
I can't say I'm the kind of person who would wear jewelry made from wine corks, but the wine cork pendant sounded fun and easy. I did have to make a special trip to Home Depot for this one in order to get washers and screw eyes of a specific size, but the rest of the instructions were easy.
Either I misread the directions or they gave me the wrong size washer, but something was amiss and it looked a little off. Later, I realized that I could just use the smaller washer on the end, though my version is probably not as sturdy as the one created with two washers.
It's also worth noting that this can be used as part of a key chain, which might be hard to explain the next time you get pulled over for a routine traffic stop.
Another one to try: This framed jewelry display would be a good place to keep all your wine cork jewelry.
Bottle It Up
There are a lot of crafts that you can do with used bottles. Unfortunately, I was short on time and resources so I went with the most simple one: wine bottle boot shapers.
I don't use boot shapers generally so this one sounded interesting. It does work pretty well and could be a great way for me to organize a closet. My only advice is to make sure that bottle is really clean before you leave it sitting in your boot for days, weeks or even months.
Another one to try: This wine bottle bird feeder is a cute idea but I gotta say it looks a little unsteady.
7 Things I Didn't Dare Do
The most amazing craft I came across was an entire floor made of cork. It doesn't stop there. Here are a few more crafts that I either couldn't get around to or just didn't have the patience for. I tip my hat to those who've managed to achieve these!