Make a Glass Bottle Wind Chime

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Introduction: Make a Glass Bottle Wind Chime

About: Creating DIY projects

It's been a while since I've done a project involving bottle cutting, so I decided to try making a wind chime from a glass bottle. I wanted it to be a bit unique, so I came up with a design where I would cut a bottle into spirals. I had some challenges along the way, but in the end things worked out great! In this Instructable I focus on the steps that worked, so if you decide to make one of these you won't need to worry about some of the complications that almost stopped me from completing this.

Some of the steps in this Instructable will refer to other Instructables that I have made. I will link to those as they come up.

If you would like to see the video version of this Instructable, I have it split into 2 videos (because of the complications) and you can view those videos here:

Supplies

Step 1: Draw the Lines

First, I marked all of the lines where I wanted to crack the bottle. The easiest way I could think of to draw straight lines for the spirals around the bottle was to place some tape on the bottle then trace that for the line. I used one piece of tape and moved it for each spiral. I sectioned it off into 4 equal spirals.

Step 2: Score the Bottle

With the lines marked it was time to score the bottle to start the cracks. For the spirals I just scored about 2 inches of the length and not the full length of the spirals. For the bottom I used my Bottle Scoring Jig and scored all of the way around the bottle. The top of the bottle I didn't score at all. I explain in a later step how I removed the top.

Step 3: Removing the Bottom

I started by cutting off the bottom of the bottle. I used the same technique that I used in my Instructable: Cut Glass Bottles Using a Soldering Iron. If you wanted to then you could sand and polish these surfaces at this point, but I waited and did all of the sanding at the same time.

Step 4: Cracking the Spirals

Once the bottom was removed I cracked the spirals, using the technique from my Instructable: Cut a Hole in a Glass Bottle (Using a Soldering Iron).

When guiding the cracks down, they stop near the bottom of the bottle when they are about 1/8" away from the edge. This is normal. I put on some gloves and I gently work the cracks to finish breaking through.

When guiding the cracks up, I guided one of the spiral cracks around the top, then I removed the top.

Step 5: Seperating the Sections

This is the step of the project that gave me some trouble, but ended up being a lot easier than I was trying to make it. For this Instructable, I won't explain this step how I did it, but rather what I would do next time. If you would like to see what I actually did, you can check out my video of the process: https://youtu.be/BDAc0ZWjVjs

Because of how the glass cracks with these spirals, they won't just slide apart. I ended up using only 3 of the 4 sections, so you will want to pick one of the sections and break it. You'll want to be careful because, you know... broken glass.

Step 6: Sanding Down the Sharp Edges

The most important part of this step is the SAFETY. I wore gloves to keep from getting cut from the sharp edges, but glass dust is also very dangerous. Even though you won't be able to see it, the dust will be in the air. Wear a dust mask and safety glasses. If you breathe it in, it can damage your lungs. At the very least it will make your sinuses hurt. If it gets in your eyes, it can damage your eyesight. It will also give you a headache and make your eyes feel like they're burning. Working with glass like this needs to be done with care. Sometimes you won't notice the effects until much later.

Using 60 grit sand paper and water, I sanded all of the corners and edges. I wasn't concerned about having polished edges, but if you would like information on how to do that, you can check out my Instructable about that: Polish Glass Bottle Edges After Cutting.

Step 7: Drilling Some Holes - Side Pieces

In order to connect the pieces of glass back together, I needed some holes in the pieces. Rather than trying to find a very small glass drill bit, I used a cylindrical diamond coated carving bit for my Dremel. These need to be used with water, so I just submerged the part that I was drilling into a bowl of water.

I started by holding the bit at an angle and slowly tilted it vertical. This helps make it easier to hold in one place while starting the hole. Then after it was vertical I wiggled it around as it drilled through the glass. I didn't apply much pressure while drilling, mostly just the weight of the tool.

In each of the side pieces I drilled one hole at the top and two holes at the bottom.

Step 8: Drilling Some Holes - Top and Bottom

In the top piece I drilled 3 holes about equally spaced. In the bottom piece I drilled holes to line up with each pair of holes from the bottoms of the spirals. It ended up being 6 holes, each approximately evenly spaced.

Step 9: Prepare the Top for Hanging

Now is a good time to decide how you want this to hang. The bottle I used has a screw off cap, so I just used that. I drilled a hole in the center of the cap. You could use an eye bolt in that hole to give you something to attach to. But I just used a string with a loop. I made the knot inside the cap big enough so that it wouldn't pull out through the hole.

Step 10: Prepare the Sides for Attachment

I decided to connect the pieces using some 24 gauge copper wire (silver colored.) I cut the wire into 4" pieces and wrapped one end of each wire through each hole of the side pieces. I figured that this would be easier than trying to fiddle with attaching the wires while juggling several pieces of the glass.

I was a bit concerned about the loose glass pieces banging into each other and chipping or breaking, so to prevent that I added some tape wings to the glass. My thought was that the wings would help hold the pieces apart from one another. I think it helped because there wasn't hardly any clanging of the glass pieces in the next step.

Step 11: Assembling the Pieces

While trying to figure out the easiest way to put all of the pieces together, I decided to hang it. With the top hanging from the cap, I attached the sides to the top using the wires I attached in the last step. With all 3 sections connected to the top, I did the same for attaching the sides to the bottom.

Now that the glass pieces were all connected together, I removed the tape and adjusted the positions of the pieces. It's now ready to take out to the backyard.

Step 12: And That's It!

And that was all there is to building this! I really liked how this turned out and I love how the shadow looks! I didn't expect that. I think an awesome improvement to this would be to paint the sections of glass with different colors of transparent paint. If you make one of these, or even an improved version of this, I would love to see how it turns out! Please leave a comment with your thoughts/improvement on this, and feel free to share your results.

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    15 Comments

    0
    sock8bunny222
    sock8bunny222

    1 year ago on Step 12

    This is very impressive. I liked your perseverance and seeing what failed and what worked. Often times we only see what worked, not knowing how much work you actually put into the project. Great job.

    0
    How Do You - DIY
    How Do You - DIY

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks! I feel that it helps to show that everything doesn't always go as planned, but that shouldn't necessarily mean that you should stop trying.

    0
    rnjenny
    rnjenny

    1 year ago on Step 12

    I am absolutely floored. I have been working with glass for several years and bottle cutting drives me crazy with its unpredictability. I never would have attempted those spiral cuts. I have watched a couple of your vids and cant wait to try this. I have some square bottles I have been wanting to cut with this technique. Thanks for the tips!

    0
    How Do You - DIY
    How Do You - DIY

    Reply 1 year ago

    You're welcome! I would recommend trying this technique out on some practice bottles. It's easy, but takes a little bit to get a feel for it. I would love to hear back on how it works out for you!

    0
    TossManual
    TossManual

    1 year ago

    Nice perseverance and good job! It would be nice to hear how the chime sounds. Might convince us that it's worth the trouble. ;)

    0
    charlessenf-gm
    charlessenf-gm

    Question 1 year ago

    I see how the iron heating the crack line appears to 'push' the crack to the interior. I am not sure why it does not allow you to 'force' the separation. I have NO EXPERIENCE cutting glass (beyond a straight cut of a sheet for a picture frame years and years ago.

    So, forgive a stupid question, but, if you could submerge the bottle in water and microwave the water to super heated state . . . might that 'shock the glass' enough to release the pieces? Or super heat the water and submerge the bottle all at once?

    0
    How Do You - DIY
    How Do You - DIY

    Answer 1 year ago

    That's a really good question. It took me a while to figure out why they wouldn't release. I tried heating the whole bottle, freezing it, none of that helped. Even though the cracks go all of the way through the glass, they aren't perfectly straight through the glass. The wavy cracks interlock the pieces together, kind of like the teeth of a gear. I hope I explained that well.

    0
    charlessenf-gm
    charlessenf-gm

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes. I wound up looking at several 'how to cut bottles' videos that appeared to suggest heat, then cold. Nothing I saw came close to the intricacies you are attempting. A larger soldering iron, perhaps . . .or a tiny, dense tapping hammer? I hope you find a way to achieve your vision.

    0
    gcai_fwb
    gcai_fwb

    1 year ago

    Wow what a great project ! Don't know if I'll attempt it but I learned how to drill a hole in glass - I'll be using that to put holes in sea glass for my wife to make jewelry - didn't know about the water submersion. Thank you!

    0
    How Do You - DIY
    How Do You - DIY

    Reply 1 year ago

    I'm glad it was helpful! Jewelry made from sea glass you be awesome!

    0
    phoe
    phoe

    1 year ago

    Nice result, but I'm cringing and can feel glass splinters in my hands already :-}

    0
    How Do You - DIY
    How Do You - DIY

    Reply 1 year ago

    😳 now you have me feeling that too

    0
    seamster
    seamster

    1 year ago

    Incredibly impressive cuts. Well done, thank you for sharing this process!