Upcycling wine bottles for use in lighting fixtures has been trending within the DIY community, but getting that clean even break can be a challenge. High speed cutting tools create too much heat and tapping scored glass with a hammer can cause unwanted cracks and rend the bottle useless. Using physics to crack the glass makes a cleaner cut that is easier to sand and polish for a smoother safer finish.
The physical properties of glass cause it to break under rapidly heating and cooling conditions but we can use this unfortunate side affect to our advantage. With simple tools we can score a line around the bottle for the brittle crack to follow. Controlling chaos you say? It is possible with a little patience and a steady hand.
First you need a straight edge to follow with your glass cutting tool. You are merely breaking through the glazing layer but a straight line will ensure your crack doesn’t take a side street as it runs around the bottle. I used a flexible cutting board and duct tape to wrap the bottle. Some pressure may be required to crack that glazing so make sure you have a good grip on the bottle.
Now that your bottle is scored set some water to boiling in a tea kettle or coffee pot, something easy to pour. Run the cold water tap at a steady trickle and heat the bottle from the kettle water along the score. (See attached Video) You may see some deepening of the score at this point but don’t rush or freak out, just keep heating. Cool the bottle off with the tap water and repeat the heating and cooling as the crack runs around the bottle. Keep the bottle low in the sink because the end will just pop off at some point during the process and you don’t want it to shatter.
Now you have two cleanly cut glass pieces with a slight edge. A light sanding with 120-grit sandpaper will take the edge off without discoloring the glass. The bottom part of the glass works very well as a cigar ashtray and the dark color accents a smoking room nicely. Just like days of old try to utilize every part of the kill. Wine and bottle, maybe even the cork as well.
For more useful tips and tricks check out my website at DIY by Tice. Thanks for stopping by.