Introduction: Upcycle Your Bottles!

About: What's up everybody?! I am a self-taught hobbyist that loves DIY projects. I like to make food, drinks, décor, repurpose/recycle and some fandom type items. I learned a lot from books, friends, YouTube, and Te…

When I was a kid, I collected bottles: coke, medicine, perfume, you name it.

There are certain bottles that, even now, I'd like to keep. One good thing about adulting is getting (or making) some cool toys. This way, I can upcycle the old bottles for use around the house. If you have seen my other instructables, you can probably tell I don't really like spending monies on something I could make myself. Plus, it is more fun that way!

In this Instructable, I will show you how I turn a throw away bottle into something better.


My method to cut is a wet tile saw. I got a cheap-o one off of the interweb for about $10 and it came with a wheel. You could also use a hand held glass cutter. There are numerous methods on creating a jig to use these to score/cut bottles.

sand paper of various grit and some tap water

wood, or other media, for the lid

calipers or some measuring tool




Glue and clamps

router (optional)

Wood stain/torch (optional)

Step 1: Cut & Sand Your Bottle

I got my wet tile saw in the back of pic 1 with my bottle to be cut and using the tile saw I just cut the neck area off. If you notice a random piece of wood mounted on the fence, that was on purpose. It was a mod I did to utilize this tile saw to cut big ol' bottles. This method, while it is quick, leaves more chipping than I would like.

Hence the need to sand the freshly exposed glass smooth.

Another way to do this is to make a jig to fix a hand held glass cutter on and then press your bottle on the cutting wheel and rotate. Scoring it this way will yield a cleaner cut but the process will take longer, in comparison. After scoring the glass, heat up the bottle in the scored area and rapidly cool it down. This could be performed with a bowl of ice water, snow, or even tipping canned air upside down (I've tried it all). Your results, in terms of a clean cut, may vary. Trust me, mine did...

Either way, once you have your cut, sanding the lid smooth is in your best interest. You wouldn't want you or a loved one to slice themselves reaching for spices, q-tips or whatever you place in your bottle!

Wearing a respirator is a good idea since this part will generate some silica dust. You should also sand with water to keep the airborne potential low. Pics 2-4 show me sanding and then pic 5 I can safely run my finger around it.

Now we are ready to craft a lid.

Step 2: Cut Your Lid

I use a set of calipers (probably overkill) to measure the inner diameter and the outer diameter of the bottle to get an estimate of the circles I will need to cut. You could just use a ruler.

Side note: My first attempt of a lid was so tight that it compressed the air in the bottle enough to crack it. Not safe.

I use a circle cutting jig I made for my band saw.

CREDIT to Darbin Orvar for the inspiration!

After finding the diameters I need, I divide by 2 (aka the radius) and set my compass to trace the circle I need to cut. Pics 2 & 3 show the process and 4 shows the circle trace.

My jig requires a 3/4 inch hole drilled in the center of the circle, which is a breeze to find since the compass needle will puncture it where I need. The 3/4" hole is where the wood will sit on my jig.

If you don't have the means to utilize (or create) a circle cutting jig, there are other methods to use. Other shop tools at your disposal or you could use a regular hand saw. Regardless, you should be sanding after cutting anyways.

Pic 7 shows the radius of the top of the lid and pic 5, 6, & 8 show me cutting the circles I need.

Step 3: Don't Flip Your Lid

Once you have your top and bottom circles cut, you need to glue them together. You could use your compass hole in the center to drill something to utilize a dowel here as well. Me, I use the pre-drilled 3/4 inch hole to insert a dowel and let the glue dry after clamping together. I mean, you could also drill (or ice pick) a 1/8" hole to insert a tooth pick! Yes, I have used tooth picks for joinery in a pinch and it exceeded my expectations, actually!

Another tip: If you have no dowels, you could use some table salt to minimize your work pieces from slipping around in the wet glue!

And in pic 3...more sanding...

Step 4: Throw on Your Favorite Stain (if Desired)

Once your glue is dry, remove any excess that slipped through the edge and you are ready for staining.

I used red oak stain on these pieces of pine, but use whatever you like. You could even torch it or whatever means at your disposal for setting it on fire. Sand it afterwards and you're good for a top coat. I have been using a torch to lightly burn pine and then brushing away the excess soot and after, applying oil. I do this especially when I run out of stain and I actually really like the look!

The second pic shows the finished product but I took it a step further by rounding out the top of the lid on the router. You would probably guess I used a round over bit, but if you don't have a router you could rough it up with a file and/or sanding it down, as well.

And that is it. Fill it with whatever you like! Beans, nuts & bolts or a cocoa mix to give to a friend!

I know I use a lot of power tools here but I hope that doesn't discourage people. I tried to think of some other means to produce this type of project so that it inspires others.

If you stuck around this far, I thank you and until next time!

PS. I have a YouTube video on how I took Darbin Orvar's circle cutting jig to suit my bandsaw and I would love if you checked that video out at Make It Kozi!