Introduction: Drinking Glasses From Wine Bottles

Picture of Drinking Glasses From Wine Bottles

Making drinking glasses from wine bottles has been around for years, and while it is relatively easy to cut a bottle, making a nice useful drinking glass is a little more difficult.

Yeah, I can go to Target and buy a set of glasses, but it is pretty cool to be able to use/recycle bottles that in many cases go in the trash.

And of course, you can always take pride in the fact that you made them yourself!

WARNING: There is the possibility of injury from broken glass when performing the steps in this instructable. Proceed at your own risk!

Step 1: Get Your Bottle

Picture of Get Your Bottle

Although you can technically make a glass from any bottle, I prefer wine bottles because they are much thicker than your typical bottle. Beer bottles in particular are very thin and more likely to break and cut you.

You'll also notice that most wine bottles have a big "dimple" on the bottom called the "PUNT". It is OK on a bottle, but not so nice in a drinking glass. Some people like the punt and glasses made from these bottles are often referred to as "punt glasses".

I prefer the flat-bottomed bottles commonly used with certain types of white wines. If you only drink red, try Bordeaux bottles, they are often flat on the bottom.

Beware: the nicer the bottle, the worse the wine usually tastes!

Step 2: Cutting the Bottle (part 1)

Picture of Cutting the Bottle (part 1)

OK, safety first:

Wear gloves and eye protection!

There are many tools and methods you can use to cut a bottle; the cutter I used is all metal and I like it better than some of the plastic-framed models sold at craft shops. However, any jig that allows you to make a consistent scoring line around the bottle should be good enough.

This tool uses the scoring method which "cuts" a line around the bottle. Glass of course has a crystal structure to it and can't really be cut at room temp but rather broken in a controlled manner.

Once you score the line at a predetermined size you then move on to the next step.

Step 3: Cutting the Bottle (part 2)

Picture of Cutting the Bottle (part 2)

Using a candle and some patience, carefully heat the bottle at the scoring mark rotating the bottle as you heat it. Hold the bottle with both hands, one on each end. I will typically heat the bottle for about a minute and then drip cold water on the area. Repeat the process until the bottle suddenly breaks apart. You will actually hear slight cracking of the glass as you do this.

The first time I did it I was very tentative but now it usually takes me only about 5 mins to cut a bottle.

Be carefull, the cut edges are EXTREMELY SHARP!

*Note:  I've also had success by heating the bottle in the oven for about 5 minutes at 225 F and pouring water over the score line.   You'll need to ruin a few bottles to perfect your method.

Step 4: Finishing the Edges

Picture of Finishing the Edges

OK, this is tedious part of the process. Obviously you don't want to cut your mouth every time you use the glass so you have to smooth out the rim.

Professionals who do this for a living will "flame roll" the edges of the glass making them shiny and smooth like a standard glass. Unfortunately that requires specialized tools and you'll want to carefully anneal the glasses afterwards to minimize the chances of cracking and breaking.

** You cannot simply take a propane blow torch and get the edge smooth!  If you try it, it will simply crack the whole glass.   If you really want to do that, you'll likely need a glass worker's torch (usually Oxygen/Propane).

Using a Dremel tool, I first rough up the sharp cut using a Silicon Carbide conical grinding tip. Oh yeah, wear a dust mask, you don't want to be breathing ground glass!

Roughly grind the inside and outside of the edges using the Dremel. I also placed a strip of aluminum tape around the rim of the glass so that my grinding comes out as even as possible.

Continue to smooth out the edge using drum sanding attachments: I used 80, 120 and 150 grit. I would have used finer grits but that is all that I could find for the Dremel.

After a while, you'll have a fairly smooth edge that although usable, it is still kind of rough. Time to sand by hand using 200 grit sandpaper or finer.

You can keep going with a finer and finer grit, but if you want to finish the glass sometime this year, you'll call it a day after 200 grit.

You can also use a wire wheel on the lip, you'll get a shiny silver edge on glass that actually looks pretty cool.

Step 5: DONE!

Picture of DONE!

Before you stick your glass in the dishwasher, you can also etch your initials on your glass to make it truly yours.

Or etch the glass with your sweeties' initials, making it a nice gift.

Of course, if you have a laser engraver, it is even easier and you can make some very intricate designs that way.



cryophile (author)2018-01-03

Can you round off the edge by going over it with a torch, or with that make it crack?

JP'sW (author)2016-10-21

this is something I want to try, thanks for the clear instructions

MTG2155 (author)2016-09-11

Making drinking glasses out of wine bottles is a project my wife wanted to do, guess who is ending up doing it. I tried various scoring methods to cut the bottles which left unacceptable results. Remembering that I had a wet tile saw, I tried it and it worked great but it still wasn't right. looking on line i found a company that had a wet blade just for cutting glass. I did about 60 bottles in about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Not all bottles are the same thickness through out the bottle.

What you need for cutting bottles.

1. A wet / dry tile saw

2. Glass cutting blade - order online --check arbor size on saw first

3. Work out side, there is overspray from the blade

4. Arrange bottles by the type of bottom they have

5. Determine the size of glass you want by determining how many oz it will hold, use a measuring cup to pour the water into the wine bottle, mark the fluid level on the bottle, take the bottle lay it on the saw with your fluid mark against the blade, move the guide against the bottom of the bottle and lock it into place. Now you are ready to start cutting many glasses the same size.

6. turn the saw on, place the bottle against the guide and the blade lightly while turning to score the glass. Then using slight pressure push the bottle into the blade while turning it untill the top is cut off. Each bottle should take between 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minuets to make the cut. DON'T GET IN A RUSH

7 Now comes the polishing part.

fstedie (author)2016-08-16

OMG, this is an old one. Maybe this time it will go over 1M views.

Anyway, the cutter itself has long been discontinued but there have been other products introduced since then as well as some other home made ones here on Instructables. Of course, it is much easier to laser etch your glasses now but even today not everyone has access to a laser engraver.

There has also been a couple of other products introduced for sanding the edges of the glasses. I've ordered some, I'll have to do an update to this one!

EmilyV14 (author)fstedie2016-08-16

Is there a common person who would have a laser engraver? (Someone I could approach and use theirs) Or is it something that people order and own personally?

fstedie (author)EmilyV142016-08-19

The cheapest laser engraver is still a couple of thousand dollars so it is not likely something you'd find in people's garages just yet. However, they are affordable enough that you can find them at many maker spaces and schools.

cavalier19 (author)2016-08-17

Really neat, will try it soon

HoboM (author)2015-05-27

"Glass of course has a crystal structure to it"

No it doesn't. Glass is unique in that is is what is known as a "super cooled liquid". In science, the term glass is often defined in a broader sense, encompassing every solid that possesses a non-crystalline (i.e. amorphous) atomic-scale structure and that exhibits a glass transition when heated towards the liquid state.

IanP3 (author)HoboM2016-08-16

Yes, however the molecules are arranged in ways such that when the fluid shears it shears in a certain manner. Much how the cubic structure of NaCl forms cubes.

Spitzercharles (author)HoboM2016-08-16

no, actually it's a non-crystalline amorphous solid

ak08820 (author)2016-08-16

Is the bottle cutter made from drawer slides or is it available like that?

Also, wonder why you choose to do the finer sanding by hand instead of using a drill or some other mechanized method, or possibly make your own finer sanding drums for the dremel.

gbeltrao (author)2016-08-16

Goo Gone works great, but be careful not to spill it over a table with polyurethane or other finish... it'll ruin it badly!

chuckr44 (author)2007-08-24

Hi there, I tried it this week and got the label off by soaking in hot water with a little dish soap. I even simmered the bottle (after cutting) in a pan of water. But I still have a lot of glue on the bottle. Will acetone get the glue off? Or do I need something else. I guess they're making better label glue these days.

PatB4 (author)chuckr442015-04-04

METHANOL cuts through adhesives like nothing. add a CLEAN, NEW razor blade or some 4 ought 0000 fine steel wool.

rmidgett (author)PatB42015-10-02

Methanol is a good solvent. It is also readily absorbed through the skin, and is toxic. Use nitrile or latex gloves, don't get it on your skin, and keep it away from all sources of is highly flammable.

jarikcbol (author)chuckr442012-01-06

i know that this is an ooooold post, but i wanted to respond. The very best thing for removing label glue residue is lighter fluid. NOT FIRE, just lighter fluid. it seems to be the perfect solvent for label adhesive. a little on a paper towel will often take it right off. a little more, and a green scour pad will take off the most stubborn sticker from a glass bottle.

Laral (author)jarikcbol2015-01-06

Lighter fluid is repackaged naphtha at a premium price. Look for VM&P Naphtha at Home Depot or Lowe's. Around $7.99 a quart.

jarikcbol (author)Laral2015-01-06

A quart of BBQ lighter fluid costs about 3-4$ at my local grocery store, so i'll keep using that. (the BBQ stuff has less odor than the lighter fluid for Zippo lighters) Thanks for the heads up though.

Laral (author)jarikcbol2015-01-06

That's interesting. I found Kingsford Odorless Charcoal Lighter Fluid 64 oz for $6.97 at the Home Despot. The MSDS says it's 100% Aliphatic petroleum solvent, which is what naphtha is. I didn't know they now made it odorless. I have a gallon can of Coleman Camp Fuel which is also odorless naphtha. It was cheap at Walmart but now they don't sell it any more. I think because it is used by meth labs like so many solvents.

largejunglecat (author)chuckr442008-02-24

I recommend zippo-type lighter fluid. It contains NAPTHA which is an awesome solvent for glues that can't be removed with soap and water. Definitely wash the glass thoroughly after using this, though.

Oh, and denatured alcohol works wonders here, too. Both of these options are much cheaper than products like Goo-Gone, but I think they work just as well.

Laral (author)largejunglecat2015-01-06

Naphtha is better. Denatured alcohol is highly toxic because it contains methanol, wood aclohol, that can cause permanent blindness, even just inhaling the vapors. Read the MSDS!

Rectifier (author)largejunglecat2008-04-25

I'll chip in in favor of the solvent made from orange peels. Just one tiny squirt of that stuff will strip most anything sticky off, even when alcohol fails. Never tried lighter fluid, but it would definitely be the stinkier option when you're indoors.

satabor (author)chuckr442010-08-11

Goo Gone works. I've used it successfully several times.

crkalino (author)satabor2012-12-12

Definitely going to second the notion of Goo Gone.

Catgaskill (author)chuckr442012-06-17

Chuck, I don't know if you have a dishwasher, but I put mine in the dishwasher and most of it comes off, then I take a scotchbrite pad and soapy water to get the remaining glue .. Hope this helps,,<3

danab123 (author)chuckr442008-04-17

there is this stuff called 'googone', which is great at removing all things sticky, it's cheap, in the grocery store, and it smells great!

kill-a-watt (author)danab1232010-09-28

hmmm, I just looked at the MSDS for GooGone, and it's a mixture of mostly naphtha and a little of that citrus solvent and one other ingredient. Reading the comments here I detect a trend.

Greenehouse (author)chuckr442010-06-28

Try using WD40. With a little bit of rubbing it takes the adhesive right off in no time.

microdot (author)chuckr442010-06-26

I heard somewhere that Mayonnaise will remove the glue residue left after removing bumper stickers. Maybe that would work on bottles too.

Estwald (author)chuckr442008-10-27

Most labels will slide right off after soaking the bottles overnight in a water and ammonia solution.

mas9779 (author)chuckr442008-08-18

nail polish remover or some form of alcohol

judysjubilee (author)chuckr442008-06-27

I make cheese trays. I remove labels from wine bottles with a kettle of boiling water. Pour it into the bottle and leave it for 10 minutes then use a razor blade and some labels come right off in tact. Then I soak the bottle in a little soapy water and when the residue is soft I get it off with lighter fluid and razor blade.

Cryptonat (author)judysjubilee2008-08-01

I wouldn't use a razor blade, too much chance of scratching. As largejunglecat suggested, NAPTHA works wonders. Pretty much all lighter fluid that goes into Zippo and similar liquid fuel lighters are NAPTHA. (Haven't found one yet). Best bet: Go with Ronsonol Lighter Fuel (yellow bottle).

mulder (author)chuckr442008-04-25

Baby oil is very good at getting sticker residue off of things....just put some on a cotton ball and rub the goo for a few seconds and it will come right off.

technosapien (author)chuckr442007-08-31

Goo-Gone is your friend. It never fails to remove adhesive from anything I need it off of, and has a clean citrus scent.

fstedie (author)chuckr442007-08-24

I used a razor blade scraper to take a lot of it off. some bottles come off clean, others take a little bit of work. you can also use Goof Off or something like that. Acetone might be overkil...

don.jackson.7982 (author)2015-01-14

Sanding down the edge is definitely the most tedious part of of the process. I would use the Bottle Bit. The kickstarter campaign runs through January

skyboundsmb (author)2015-01-03

Hi, there! I'm new to this site and new to glass cutting. I've cut a few bottles and have sanded them. It takes the edge off but leaves to rim cloudy looking. How do I get it shiny again? Would you be able to advise me on this, please? I read somewhere that polish could be used, but I do not know where to get it. Thank you so much.

cbg3868 (author)2011-12-10

I am not crazy about the tools you uses to polish or grind the rim of your class. Fortunately, I have stained glass tools. I would use a stained glass grinder for the initial smoothing. There are various grinding wheels that provide the initial smoothing. Next, I would choose various level of wet or dry sanding paper to fully smooth the edge. My favorite winery, Iron Gate, in Mebane, NC offers one of its best wines in a blue bottle. Therefore I have no trouble getting quality wine in a blue bottle.

tubajoey1 (author)cbg38682014-11-11

I live literally 15 minutes from Iron Gate...I had no idea Mebane had other Instructable users.
Or that anyone on the internet would ever even mention the place. haha

fstedie (author)cbg38682011-12-10

I have moved on to using a stained glass grinder since I first published this instructable. However, not all of us have access to such tools. Whatever you use, just be careful!

BARKing (author)2013-12-19

I haven't tried to do that with a candle before, I will have to give it a go. I have used a heavy wire bent in a tight loop at the one end to make a hammer and curved so it will strike the glass at a 90 degree angle from the inside. On the wire is a upside down triangle that is a friction fit. This allows you to swing the wire at the same height all the way around at the exact level of the score. tap, tap, tap, tap….. pop.

nerd7473 (author)2013-12-19


JohnRyancrouse (author)2012-05-24

a much better way of breaking the glass in a "controled manner is to score a line around the bottle only once and then to slowly pour hot water then cold water then hot water then cold water and then pop viola its in 2 nice pieces..... way better then breaking and using a candle

Orngrimm (author)2012-03-03

In summary nothing new to me, BUT:
You had a very smart idea there with the protection with duct-tape!

If i saw that correctly, you used this Aluminum-type-duct-tape for this?

Also normally i dont use a candle to stress-break the glass at the cut. I simply hold them under the hot water from the faucet and "shock" it with cold wather from the faucet. Repeat once or twice and you have a very nice cut.

technosapien (author)2007-08-31

Hi! If you use the wire brush to leave a metallic sheen, is the glass dishwasher safe (or drinking-safe)? Or will that sheen eventually fade off with use/washing over time? Thanks, great instructable!

If the wire wheel is made of steel (even stainless steel), I'd be worried about it rusting over time, but it may wear off before that. If the wire wheel is Aluminum, it will also oxidize, and dull. Some people will argue that excessive amounts of Aluminum can have toxic effects, but since the average person is estimated to consume 3-10mg of Aluminum daily as it is, I doubt that even if you ate the rim it would be a problem (much less so than the lacerations such an act would cause...). Nonetheless, at least a heavier metal, like gold isn't being used, which has well known toxic effects. The metal is most likely deposited as the wires pass over the rough crystalline structure, and as the wires help break off minute, weak, and incomplete pieces of the matrix, thus smoothing it, larger pieces of the matrix will become impregnated with metal scraped and broken off of the wires, also effectively making the surface smoother, as long as the metal is retained. How you handle these glasses is up to you.

relict (author)shabushabu46132011-10-20

While gold can cause heavy metal toxicity, it's extremely rare. The human body isn't able to digest gold in pure form, and it typically passes through without harm. There are forms of gold that can be absorbed, typically used in folk medicine. Even in these forms, dosages have to massively exceed recommended levels before health problems arise.

jmarusoi (author)2009-12-25

Easier method using thermal shock, any flammable liquid would do, see this video:

About This Instructable




Bio: Hello, my name is Eddie. I'm one of those people that can't leave well enough alone so I'll inevitably take things apart ... More »
More by fstedie:DIY High Performance Noise Isolating HeadphonesMakerBot 5th Gen Generic Filament Spool AdapterUpcycled DVD Tower Night Lamp
Add instructable to: