I always wanted to make a chandelier with bottles, so I thought it was about time. I wanted to do something a bit different from the average, and decided I needed a new light feature on the back patio.
Bottles (I ultimately used 21, but the number will vary based on the size of your tube.)
Clear pvc tube (I used a 2"x24" tube, but any size would work.)
Corks (You could use old wine bottle corks or store bought.)
Label removing tools (These depend on the types of labels you're removing, but I used a razor blade, sandpaper, rubbing alcohol, and a heat gun.)
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Step 1: Remove Labels
Different bottles have different types of labels and require different removal techniques.
I had the most success removing paper labels by soaking them in warm water and scraping them off with a razor blade. I used some sandpaper to clean the blade. Occasionally I'd need to use some rubbing alcohol and the sandpaper to scrub off some leftover glue. Be gentle if using the sandpaper on the bottle because it can scratch the glass. A plastic scrubber would have been better.
For plastic labels, I used a heat gun to warm up the labels and peel them off by hand. Most of them came off clean, but some needed to have the glue scrubbed off with rubbing alcohol and the sandpaper.
Step 2: Corking Bottles
Cork all the bottles.
You can use wine corks or store bought, but hammer them in tightly.
When the bottle mouths were too small for the corks, I tapered the bottom with an X-acto knife.
Step 3: Hook and Wire
Screw a hook into the top of each cork.
Cut two pieces of wire about 7" long.
Wrap the first piece of wire around the mouth of the bottle and twist once. Make sure the wire is wrapped tightly below a ridge to hold the wire securely in place.
Repeat with the second wire and twist on the opposite side of the bottle.
Wrap each of the four ends around the base of the hook and cut off excess wire.
Step 4: Tube Holes
Use a permanent marker to mark the placement of your lowest hole about an inch from the bottom of the tube.
Lay one bottle with the top of the hook at your mark.
Lay an additional bottle at the highest you'd want a bottle to hang above it.
Mark the placement of the top of the second bottle's hook on the tube.
Measure the space between the first and second mark on the tube, and make evenly marked spaces up the rest of the tube.
Wrap a piece of wire up the tube so that it wraps around each mark.
Now you're going to make marks along the wire on the other three "sides" of the tube.
Turn the tube and make marks where the wire crosses the the opposite side of the tube as your first marks.
Rotate the tube so your marks are on the left and right and make marks where the wire crosses the other two opposite sides.
Remove the wire and drill holes on your marks.
Step 5: Hang
Drill holes for the chain on the four opposite sides. Be sure they are evenly spaced from the top of the pvc. Add a piece of chain to each with an S hook.
Joint the tops of the chain with an S hook and hang. I thought the S hooks I bought would work for the top of the chains as well, but they were a bit too small, so I used a zip tie temporarily.
Step 6: Hang Bottles
Sort your bottles by height and begin adding the tallest bottles from the bottom.
Hang your bottles in each of the holes and the last four around the top of the pvc.
I initially hung most of the green bottles at the bottom because they were the tallest, but found that they needed more light to illuminate well. I later moved them to the top and was much happier. If you had a brighter light or a string of lights inside the tube instead of just at the top, they would likely be fine at the bottom.
Step 7: Enjoy
Expose your solar light to some sun, and after sundown, enjoy your new light feature.