Introduction: Upcycled Beer Bottle Glasses

Picture of Upcycled Beer Bottle Glasses

Upcycled beer bottle drinking glasses are perfect for using at picnics or in the garden as it doesn’t matter if they get broken, you just make another (and have a good excuse to drink another beer). They also look great in your boys den or in your games room and are sure to impress your chums.

They are extremely easy to make. There are various ways that you can make them. I’ve seen it done by filling the bottle part way with oil and them dropping a red hot poker in to the oil. This is enormously messy and pretty dangerous and I have personally never managed to make it work. Then there is the method of wrapping surgical spirit soaked wool around the bottle and lighting it to get the bottle hot then shocking the glass under a cold tap. This method gives variable results and often results in a cut line that is less than straight. But there is another method, which has a much higher success rate, is very easy and involves no fire or red hot pokers.

The cleanest, most reliable and most efficient way is to score the glass with a glass cutter then use alternating boiling water and cold water to cause thermal shock at the point that you have scored the bottle. This results in a very level and clean cut. You can then use fine grade wet & dry to take off any sharp edges and to finish the glass. It is as simple as that.

You can easily make a jig to hold a glass cutter, but there are bottle cutter jigs like the one I have used in the video available to buy on line and they don’t cost a fortune.

I have a few tips though which will increase your success rate.

  • Try to score the glass as consistently as possible as this score is the starting point for the stress break so a cleaner score results in a cleaner break.
  • Don’t score too hard, a light score is best as it makes neater score line and lowers the risk of tangential cracks appearing.Only score round the bottle once as going over the same score line increases the risk of a messier score and again increases the risk of unwanted tangential cracks.
  • Occasionally your cut line may not follow the score line 100% round the bottle and you can end up with a “bump” on the top of your glass. The glass is often stress fractured in the right place and so a little knock will often knock the unwanted “bump” off cleanly – I use the neck of the bottle to do this as it is inherently stronger than the body of the glass. I deliberately showed this scenario in the video to demonstrate how to overcome this problem.
  • When causing the stress crack with alternating hot and cold water the bottle can sometimes shear with one hot-cold cycle, sometimes it will take 2 or more cycles.
  • Try to ensure that when using the hot water you heat all the way round the score line.
  • Use a small amount of water on the wet and dry as it keeps the paper from blocking with dust and makes sanding the edge smooth quicker.

So, save your beer bottles and turn some into drinking glasses. But please be careful.

www.thelearnedgentleman.com

Comments

laradioken (author)2015-04-09

What are you using to keep the bottle from slicing your mouth open?

I see the item but what is it?

I use wet & dry sandpaper to sand the sharp edges smooth. It takes a while but works a treat. You should give it a go!

mbabinski (author)2014-08-20

What sort of product/finish could you apply to preserve the labels and make then dishwasher safe?

Some beer bottles have the labels painted on (Corona, Sol etc) so no need. Paper labels are best removed. The Innis & Gunn ones I used in the video have plastic labels which seem to be hand wash resistant but I'd not give them high odds of surviving repeat cycles in a dishwasher. However, the bottles also have "Innis & Gunn" and "Edinburgh" moulded into the glass, so I've been removing the labels and been enjoying them naked except the moulded in branding which still identifies them as beer bottles. My favourite beer bottle glasses have moulded in or etched branding on them.

Here is one of my favourites. A tumbler made from an etches St Stefanus beer bottle.

Damn! That looks great!

Damn! That looks great!

vaderag (author)2014-08-26

I've seen these before, but this has given me the desire to finally go ahead and do it!

The glass cutter that you used, can you tell us what brand it is, or what precise term you searched for? I've been looking but only seem to be able to find a freehand one...

If you search for Beer Bottle Cutter you will find various designs. The one I used was made by Generation Green, but you could easily make one also. Be sure to share your pictures when you are done and good luck!

Thanks! Have ordered the same...

Builder971 (author)2014-08-24

Sorry about that, my brother is the one who went on my account and posted that, i your idea

Builder971 (author)2014-08-23

That's cool maybe next time you can come up with something else than what someone already posted, or at least say who you got the idea from.

Hey Builder971 - no need for the negative comments, instructables is a nice, friendly place! Whilst I see your motive for the negative comment if you look at the date this article was published you will see it was published 1 day before your similar article. No need for sour grapes! ;)

People have been making bottle glasses since the hills were young, my grandfather was making them in the 50's which is where I got my inspiration from.

krieglers (author)2014-08-22

this has to be the best method I have seen yet. The rest, i have tried have been a mixed bunch of success and failures. I will give this a bash, thanks

Excellent. Be sure to share your results! :)

just need to make jig like yours, that should be pretty easy too

bricobart (author)2014-08-19

Impressive result, looks like I finally will give this a try!

There's a beer contest going on, btw. Just in case...

Thanks! I didn't know about the contest - duly entered and pending approval.

Raitis (author)2014-08-19

Using for picnics or garden is the other way around for me - I usually put so much attention into each of handmade glasses that it hurts to see them shatter!

I had not thought of it that way. But at least when they do break you get to drink another bottle and have a little project to occupy your time :) Every cloud has a silver lining!

orbit.al (author)2014-08-19

Nice! Simplest method I've seen. Will try this. Thanks :-)

seamster (author)2014-08-19

Excellent! This is the way to post a video instructable, by the way. Very nice.

That jig you used looks like something someone could make fairly easily. I've got a one gallon glass jug I was planning on using for a project, but wasn't sure if I could cut off the top section cleanly, and in one piece. Do you think that could be done?

Thanks Seamster, very kind of you.

You can easily make a jig that would hold a glass cutter. I think you could take the top off the gallon glass jug but you'd need to practice first. It is not difficult, but you just have to get the score nice and even and neat. Rather than pouring boiling water on it from a kettle I'd be tempted to dip the top edge of the jug in a pan of recently boiled water to heat it then do the same with a bowl of iced/cold water in order to make the heating and cooling a bit easier on a bigger bit of glass (but you'd need to experiment on that one first to be sure it works fine)

Thank you for the tips. I'll give it a shot when I've got the time, and we'll see how it goes!

About This Instructable

20,112views

676favorites

More by TheLearnedGentleman:Upcycled Beer Bottle GlassesHow to open a beer bottle with a newspaperChange the look of your watch in 90 seconds
Add instructable to: