Wine Bottle Glasses Tutorial


*This post is Scissors and Steam's most popular ever! Help support the blog and visit my Etsy shop, Retro Academic, if you're into awesome clothes!*

This is such an awesome tutorial, you could end up in the hospital!

No, really. I am such an incredible klutz that it is only by the grace of some higher power that I am not bleeding from an artery in the ER right now.

Today I'm gonna show you how to make drinking glasses out of wine bottles. "Wait. Jamie? Does that mean I get to drink with purpose?"

Why yes. Yes it does.

You're welcome.

(edit to add: some very smart person on pinterest noted that that these would make great candleholders! I'm totally gonna try that. Also be sure to scroll through the comments; so many people have offered up their own bits of advice!)
I've been seeing little things all over the internet about wine bottles-turned-into-fillintheblank, including drinking glasses. So this isn't really my idea, just my version. I think I originally saw it on Pinterest, the source of all wonderful creations.

You will need!
  • Common sense. Don't be a dumbass!
  • Some empty wine bottles. C'mon, you can do it.
  • Yarn
  • Nail Polish Remover and a little bowl to pour it in
  • Source of Fire. (lighter? matches? 2 sticks rubbed together?)
  • Big basin of cold water, preferably with lots of ice
  • Sandpaper, 60 grit and 150 grit
  • Protective gloves
  • Protective breathing mask
  • Protective eyewear
  • Goo-gone (not totally necessary, but may save you from losing all knowledge of vocabulary beyond swear words)
  • Common sense. Really. Don't bleed all over your pretty new glasses.
DISCLAIMER. This is actually very dangerous. Definitely NOT suitable for children, shaky people, drunk people, dumb people, and well all people really. There is every possibility you could get hurt. Don't go blaming me when that happens, you risk-taker-in-the-name-of-craftiness, you!

I started out with these bottles. I picked 8 that I particularly liked; I deliberately mismatched them, so some were bright green, others were darker, some were short and some were tall and skinny. I suggest not starting with bottles you are particularly attached to, as the process takes some getting used to. I broke 4 of my original 8!

Once again, don't be a dumbass. Protect yourself from tiny shards of glass in your skin, eyes, and lungs.

Getting the labels off is a pain in the butt. I got down a big stock pot and filled it with water and heated till boiling. Then I dropped the bottles in there and let them roll around for a bit. Be careful, seriously. Glass and heat is a dangerous combination. Use tongs and don't leave them in the water for very long.

Once they've soaked a bit the labels should peel off easily.

Wash them with dishsoap and water, and then use some goo-gone if there are still bits of adhesive.

Bottles drying!

Fill a small bowl with nail polish remover, and cut a length of yarn. Longer is better (yes). Fill up the sink with cold water. If your water only gets kind of cold like mine, dump a bunch of ice in there. It's the temperature differential between the heated glass and the cold water that causes the break.

Wrap the yarn tightly around the bottle where you want it to break.

Slide it off the bottle and dunk it in the polish remover. 

 Twist it around itself so it's a tight ring. The narrower the strip, the better.
Slide it back on the bottle, and adjust it to where you want it.
Wipe any excess polish remover off the bottle. If there are drips, they will catch fire and burn you. Really. My thumb is proof.

Light the yarn on fire and hold it over the sink. Now, I did this 8 times and didn't really figure out the trick to prevent bad breaking. I seemed to get the best results when I held the bottle horizontal, so the flames stayed mostly on the yarn. It is a little scary the first time you do it, but I promise it's not very dramatic if you do it right. The yarn will burn for about 15 or 20 seconds and then put itself out. It stinks, try not to inhale. As soon as the flame extinguishes, dunk the bottle in the ice water. You'll hear a pop, and the bottle will have broken.

Inspect the break. If it cracked anywhere but around the top in a circle (a couple of mine spiderweb cracked, and a couple cracked down the side), discard and try again.

The edges will be jagged and sharp, don't touch them. Put your gloves and mask on, get your rougher sandpaper, and start scrubbing the edges. Please wear the breathing mask! You don't want to inhale glass dust!  

Once all the sharp edges are sanded down, refine the edge with the smoother sandpaper. Just keep going until you have a nice, soft, smooth edge with no trace of broken glass. 

That's it! It's a bit of work to get the trick to it, but it's still pretty easy. Now you have an awesome and unique set of glasses!

Thanks for reading! Remember to follow me if you liked this post! I'm also on Pinterest and Bloglovin'. And as of today, I am also on Flickr!

 This is the huge pile of broken bottles I had when I was done! Be careful cleaning up and disposing of your mess.


  1. OK... this is in sane! Are you out of your mind? LOL! Just kidding! Or maybe not? LOL

  2. Those are extremely cool, but I feel like I'm probably too much of a spaz/dumbass to pull this off. But, kudos to you!! I'm coveting your green glasses!

  3. Hi Jammie! Thank you for your tut. It is the most unusual tutorial I've ever seen (in a good sense). You have a lovely blog, and I'm one of your newest followers. Would you please follow my blog too? Thanks!

  4. Replies
    1. It's WAY easier if you use a scorer and sand to smooth the edges. I did this in my art class and and I got a perfect drinking glass with a proper round edge!

    2. If you don't want to do it in the house or end up with all the broken glass in the house I would suggest using a wash tub or even a plastic tub outside. I have very old metal wash tubs and I think this would be a fund project for my ADULT children and I. Thanks for the info!!!!

  5. I'm thinking that a Dremel tool with little sanding tips might do the edges a little easier.

  6. Kim, I was thinking that too, but I didn't have one. The sanding really did take forever, I would definitely think about picking up a dremel if I did this again!

  7. Oh, this is like Dejavou. I did a lot of these with beer and wine bottles and I know how fun it is. It's fantastic.

    I'll be a bit nerd here, blame it on my grad course. This in physics is called the thermal downshock theory. What happens is, while the molecules on the exterior surface of the glass gets agitated, the interior stays calm. next when you put it in extreme cold water, there in irregular contraction resulting to a clean break.


  8. My husband just bought a glass cutter so he can start making glasses. We live in Sicily and have WAY too many bottles. :) We have found a much easier way to remove labels - we heat our oven up to about 175 degrees and put the bottles in there for about ten minutes or so. When we take them out, we use a sharp knife to lift one corner of the label, and then just gently pull off the rest of the label. The heat will soften the glue just enough. FYI - if you're careful, the labels will come off so beautifully you can use them for other projects.

  9. These are so awesome. Can you do them for me, too?? haha So fun.

    Stop over and link it up in my Happy Friday Drink link up!!! I'd love to have you!


  10. Wow! I didn't even know you could do that! Great idea! Thank you for linking up to my party!

  11. These are aweseome! I might have to attempt this.

    So, I've been given the Blog of Fire award and I'd like to pass it on to you. You crack me up and have some totally crazy posts which are well- awesome. So, here is a cheesy, but fun blog award.

    You have to go to my blog to get the image and then ... 5 things about you and pass it on to 5 blogs.

  12. What kind of nail polish? Acetone or non-acetone?

  13. These are awesome! And if I wasn't terified of fire I would totally try it!

  14. @Trumatter, that is really interesting, thank you! Back in the day I majored in physics, but I was never good at thermodynamics. Thanks for the input!!

    @Kristen, that's helpful, thanks. I'm going to update the post to include your tip. :)

    @Susie, I'll try to link up next week, for sure! Thanks! :)

    @Kara, you're welcome! Thanks for popping over :)

    @Layn, That is freakin' awesome!!! THANK YOU!!! My first blog award! I'm gonna blow it up, print it out, and stick it on the fridge. :) But really, I will pass it on. Thanks so much, that's really sweet. I love it when people think I'm nuts. ;)

    @Susie, It was acetone. I suspect non-acetone would work as well though. I am also going to test rubbing alcohol, in the hopes of finding something less stinky.

    @Stephanie, like I said, it's really not that dramatic. And if you do it over the sink, you can just drop the bottle in the water if something happens. :)

  15. very cool ! love your post your very entertaining style is fun to read

    - KAT -

  16. you ROCK for the step by step photos!!! I've been wondering if this trick worked for ages and your post was perfection at explaining it! I may have to try my hand at this (with supervision cause i'm cluuuuumsy!!!!) haha


  17. I have those gloves.....
    No really I do! I just found you on twitter and thought I would pop in and say hi!

  18. Fascinating! Daughter suggests you find a way to make martini glasses from the tops of the bottle. Things that make you go hmmmm. Hope your thumb gets better, and thanks for sharing!
    Ann @ Suburban Prairie Homemaker

  19. This is a cool post. i never knew the glass would break off so easily. thanks for sharing!

  20. Fun post and neat idea... but I think I'll heed your warning and not try it. (self-proclaimed klutz here... I'm an accident waiting to happen! :D)

  21. This is amazing! And dangerous. I'm following along with your blog now! I would love for you to link up to our party going on right now!

  22. These are so beautiful! Believe it or not, I once had a glass cutting set I got as a gift as a kid to make bottles this way! Well, my mom returned it to the store (dangerous!) but I'd like to try again as an adult :)

  23. The tops would make really neat hand held votive or ice cream sundae holders with a plug of some sort - I can't wait to try my hand at making these! -- GREAT IDEA!! found you through Just something I whipped up.

    Stephanie @ www.allartful

  24. I'm trying to make a set of these, but I never get through more than a couple of bottles at a pop. (Pun intended.) Not looking forward to the sanding bit...

  25. WOW ! What a project! I have a kajillion wine bottles ( don't ask me why ) that I have projects pinned for ( check out my "wine love" board if you have time ) but nothing like this ! The picture with fire scared the beejeezes out of me ! I'm following you now cause you are JUST*TOO*FUNNY ! and I can't wait to see what you do next !
    Check out my post this week ( if you have time and are so inclined) about one project I made out of my leftover corks :)

  26. I have been searching for an easier way to do this and this is it!! I want to make some of these candle holders at my wedding & this seems MUCH EASIER than most blog posts I've seen about it. best part--- your disclaimer hahaha!

  27. this is SO cool! I hope you'll add this to my What We Wore and Made link party over at

  28. This tutorial is awesome and you are hilarious! Thanks for sharing. You are being featured this week at Lines Across.


  29. This is awesome. I just love these. Thanks for the tutorial! Great job!!

  30. This is so cool! I've been wanting to do this. I found you through Lines Across My Face. Thanks for sharing!

  31. I heard to get a clean brake you have to rotate the bottle to let the flame burn evenly. :)

  32. I am in the process of making some of these myself. Though I am using a bottle cutter since I am not keen on the fire part. Visiting via Tip Junkie.

  33. This looks totally cool - though if I tried it I would probably need a trip to the emergency room!
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  34. I love this project. I hope you will stop by and link up to my St. Patty's Day Project Parade.

  35. Just a tip, to remove any labels from any glass surface/jar, simply take rubbing alcohol, and dip a Q-tip cotton swab (or cotton ball) in the rubbing alcohol, and start at the edges of the labels, and as you peel the label, keep running the alcohol soaked swab/cotton ball along the sticky side. Instantly releases :O)

  36. I'm probably going to hurt myself, but I'm going to make beer bottle juice glasses :) Do you think there would be any unforeseen complications working with a smaller bottle?

  37. Three safer methods: Measure and mark where you want the cut to be. Fine a book that height. Rest a glass cutter on the book and rotate the bottle against it, marking a deep scratch in the glass. In order of safest first:

    1. Place bottle in very warm (not boiling) water for a few minutes, then into ice water. It should crack on the line.

    2. Using hammer and screwdriver, gently tap tip of screwdriver along scratched line, going around the bottle. At some point, it will split open.

    3. Tie ONE cord around the scratched line. Light it. If it doesn't burn, try the acetone, but that is really too dangerous. As it burns, the bottle should split.

    Courtesy of old issue of Mother Earth News and experience.

  38. Hi Jamey,

    I just got up the time and courage to try this, and the first two bottles worked great. Then I tried the next 3 bottles at least 4 times each and nothing happened at all!! No break, no snap, not even a tiny little crack! My water had plenty of ice, and I even came back here to check to make sure I was doing everything right. Even one of the bottles that worked and some that didn't were the same wine from the same company.....

    Did you have any trouble with that? Do you have ideas how to fix it?

    1. I have not done any of this, but a thought is... were the bottles warm or cold when you burned them? I would think that the warmer the bottle the better the temp. change to the ice water.

  39. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I just made awesome glasses from beer bottles thanks to your technique. I had a few bottles that cracked along the sides but no big deal. I have a nice set of glasses now and I'll make more after the weekend when I have a few more empties :) Thank you!

  40. One suggestion for the fail bottles is using them for mosaic pieces.

  41. this is very cool! I had a bunch of wine bottles laying around after Thanksgiving so this was a perfect idea. I have also seen this done with beer bottles. A cool idea is to keep the labels of nice wine bottles on by using a clear paint over the label.

  42. Hm, I'm sure there is something you could use on the lip to be extra safe instead of just sanding it down, time to rack the brains!

  43. Nice trick to cut the bottles. You have done a great job by sharing this method. It would be helpful.

  44. I used a hi-speed pencil grinder with a diamond bit to smooth the edges ( you can do the same with a Dremel if yours has enough RPMs)

  45. By far the BEST explanation of how to I have ever seen!!

  46. Scoring the bottle slightly where you want the break to happen before putting the yarn over the score mark will result in an even break. :D You weaken the glass a bit there so that when it breaks it wants to break on that line.

  47. We just tried this and nothing...:( We followed the instructions to a T and our bottle did not crack, break...seriously nothing!!!!


  48. I wonder how you got so good. This is really a fascinating blog, lots of stuff that I can get into. One thing I just want to say is that your Blog is so perfect!

  49. Wet type, tile cutting saw with a diamond blade. Leaves the edge a bit chippy, but you get a perfectly straight cut 100% of the time. I use a fence on the saw to brace the bottom of the bottle against so the cut stays even all the way around. I only cut just deep enough to let the blade pass through to the inside, then I carefully roll/rotate the bottle very slowly. Finishing the edge to a professional quality with a nice round bead isn't too hard if you have the right tools. I use a oxy/propane cutting torch (oxy/acetylene cutting head with a propane tip added) and an old record player that I use for slowly spinning the bottles. Get the bottle evenly pre-heated or it'll shatter, then concentrate on the cut edge. When the glass is hot enough it will melt into a nice round ball shape. Then I put the bottle into a kiln that's already hot to anneal the glass. I only do as many bottles at a time as will fit in the kiln & after an hour I shut the kiln off and let it sit closed over night so the glass cools slowly.

  50. Hi Jamie,
    I loved reading this piece! Well written! :)

    wilson roy
    steam cleaning

  51. Okay so I keep trying this and the yarn WILL NOT catch fire?!? I can't figure out what I am doing wrong? Do I need to soak the yarn for a long time? Or is it because my bottles are only about 90% dry? Thanks!

  52. This is seriously one of the coolest things I've ever seen! I'd love to get a little more work and experience doing some stuff like this. I've been working on glasses in Ottawa, but it hasn't been easy. I can't wait to try this.

  53. Hi Jamie,
    I do appreciate with your blog.

    Martin Jonson
    Sydney Australia
    glass jars

  54. Nice post and Glassfencing-kwikfynd provides glass fences & all glass fences installation offers the best quality with your satisfaction guaranteed! We offer FREE estimates!.

  55. If you live in a dry area, you can use the tops of thr bottles in your garden. Push them into the ground (bottle neck first) close to the plant. This way, when you water, the water is collected in the "martini" part and the water will be guided to the roots where it is needed most

  56. Great use of wine bottles. Its really an amazing art.

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  57. random thought of creativity - sand the edges of the other half of wine bottles and find some source for a base (not sure size needed but something like a small saucer), glue it upside down to the neck of the wine bottle and poof more glasses or can use as funnels - many things to re-use the remaining bottles. If the unused portion of the bottle is tall enough could even use in a plant for easy watering.

  58. I use a bottle cutter I built modeled it after the g2 bottle cutter does an excellent job.... for breaking and smoothing the top I bought a child's potters wheel a little clay to hold it in place and a torch to spin and heat along the score line... for finishing the edge I bought some lapidary disk in different grits and built an an adapter to mount them in place of the table on the potters wheel .... I know a lot to build,but, cuts the time to do the process and makes a perfect glass from almost any type of bottle


I'm not always great at replying to comments but I DO read every single one of them and I always reply in my head. So in my mind we've had this deep conversation about the meaning of life or whatever, and we're best friends, and we craft together on Sunday afternoons while drinking Mojitos and watching old Indiana Jones movies. So thank you for your comments. And now I want a mojito.

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