Another favourite for glass artists - or at least bead makers, but lesser known by other people. You'll need:

- a bottle - by all means, choose one that is important to you, from your wedding, birthday, anniversary, work event, etc. - or just any bottle.
- glass bead making equipment (torch set-up, oxygen concentrator, mandrels, bead release, kiln, tweezers)

Break the bottle into small pieces, pick up with tweezers, pre-warm gently at the back of the flame, then melt glass and wind around mandrel. Put in kiln, leave to cool down, clean of bead release, and turn into memento jewellery. 

...Now...the reason I'm sharing this particular project this week is because of a "bottle experience" my little boy had. So, our steps were as follows:

1. Take small child. Stumble upon an old bottle in the woods. With utmost care, prepare and execute your own archaeological dig. Take shards home and clean carefully.

2. Spend an enjoyable afternoon doing a "bottle jigsaw" before gluing together the pieces. Research old medicine bottles with small child and discover that the bottle is about 100 years old - marvel at the ancientness of this. Get frustrated because there are a few shards that simply won't fit.

3. Go to studio, intending to make perfectly round beads (as in picture above) from leftover shards. Learn through experimentation that glass recipes 100 years ago were either different, or 100-year-long burial in soil (or indeed, simply age) has altered chemical components of glass, so that it boils almost simultaneously to melting. Manage one lame, non-round bead that is not too badly burnt, and file under "experiment not too many people will have done", before returning to melting modern bottles with ease.

You'll need:

- a flower pot
- a bottle with roughly the same diameter as the flower pot
- wet tile saw
- grinder
- soil
- seeds

Saw the bottom off the bottles and grind smooth. Fill pots with soil, plant seeds...well, you know all that stuff :)

I've seen a few "Fairies in a Jar" projects around, and thought I'd adapt them for the bottle project. I'm not really a "fairies" kind of person, if your child at home isn't, either, just make a "magic potion" bottle instead, you can always write a spell on ancient parchment to go with it. Don't forget to decide what the magic potion will do...the possibilities are endless. :) 

You'll need:

- a bottle (including a way to close it securely, i.e. cork or screw cap)
- a glow stick (look for non-toxic ones)
- a sharp knife of scissors
- glitter or seed beads


Clean and dry the bottle. Break and shake the glow stick, then carefully cut it open and pour the glowing mixture into the bottle. Add glitter or small seed beads and close securely. Shake to distribute - the bottle will glow the most while liquid clings to the sides, as it runs down, the glow will dim and pool at the bottom - so just re-shake to wake the fairies up.

You'll need:

- a nice jar (mine's mustard)
- a juice bottle (mine's a "Britvic sparkling 55", because it has a distinctive "bulb-y bit"
- wet tile saw
- grinder (optional)
- hyacinth bulb (yes, I know I'm late with this, or early)
- ribbon (optional)

Clean out the mustard jar. Saw the bottle twice, once about an inch above where the "neck" turns into the "bottle", once about two inches below that point (so you have a total of 3 inches of bottle - ish. Just be guided by the shape). Grind edges. Turn the bottle piece upside down, the smaller ring should sit inside the mustard jar, the larger ring (or now: bowl) should sit on top. Finding a jar and bottle that match that way might take a bit of time. Use a ribbon to accentuate (and hide the joint). Add water and bulb - wait. Enjoy!


    The "Take a Bottle" project is, essentially, an combination of a) my "Follies for Follies" project, which got me into whimsical work, c) recycling and preserving the planet, d) a general tendency to tinker, and e) an ever-existing quest to make glass accessible to a wide variety of people. The concept is simple - taking existing glass (it doesn't have to be a bottle, of course), and turn it into something else. While I am mainly running this project for my own amusement, I am very happy to run workshops on glass recycling and crafting with glass. If you do any of the projects, I'd love to see your results! Email me at sabine [you know what goes here] sabinelittle.com

    DISCLAIMER: I take no responsibility for the success of your projects, or any injury or harm resulting from you following them, including, but not limited to, the handling of glass, tools, etc.!


    August 2013
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    February 2013