Bottles to Jars

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About: Hi there!

Hi all! In this instructable, I explain how I made these jars out of glass bottles.

Here are the main reasons why I made this project:

  • To have more jars. Instead of buying some food packed into plastic and cartons, I am buying in bulk. But once bought, I need to stock my food... And therefore I need jars!
  • Because I have many glass bottles left, mainly from fruit juice I drink. So it is a nice way to reuse these old bottles.
  • It is pretty. Using bottles as jars is quite aesthetic.
  • I was curious about cutting glass bottles.


Main steps:

  • Remove the labels.
  • Cut the bottles.
  • Sand the edges.
  • Make the joints.
  • Glue the joints.
  • Add text/image on the bottles.

Materials:

  • Hot water + container to place the bottle entirely + washing-up liquid + stainless steel sponge.
  • A glass cutter // a rope // a bottle cutter (recommended) + a candle + ice cubes.
  • I used my 3D printer for the joints, but I think it could be done with cork. And if you don't have a 3D printer, you can contact the nearest fablab or use an online service.
  • A hot glue gun.
  • A utility knife + transparent sticking paper // etching cream.

You can download the files to 3D print by clicking here!

Also, before to start I would like to point out that I used 3D printed pieces (with PLA) and hot glue for this project. While most of the food stored in these jars will be in contact with the glass only, I am not sure if PLA and hot glue are completely food safe. I have searched for hours on the internet for food safe glue (to stick the 3D printed pieces) and varnish (to apply on the PLA), but I was not satisfied enough. I also contacted many shops (for craft and tinkering) but none said they have food safe glue and varnish. I store my food in these jars for now anyway, but if you know an interesting food safe glue/varnish I could use, please drop a comment below and start a discussion :)


You might also be interested in some of my other 'ibles! You can click on the following:

SURPRISES IN A CANDLEMINI FLOATING SHELF3IN1 SUNGLASSESSOLAR SYSTEM LAMP

And make sure to see the next 'ibles I will publish by clicking the "follow" button:

Step 1: Remove the Labels

The first step is to remove the labels of the bottles.

Before to go with fancy techniques, I decided to remove the labels with the simplest solution: hot water. Once in contact with hot water, the glue which is used to stick the labels melts.

How to proceed, part 1:

  • I filled a container and the bottle with hot tap water (maximum temperature).
  • I placed the bottle inside the container.
  • I waited for 30 minutes.
  • And I peeled off the labels. It worked perfectly for the first bottle I used, with no more glue left on the bottles (the glue stays on the labels).

But it did not work as expected on the next ones, and some parts of the labels stayed stuck to the bottles. I guess it depends on the glue used and if the label is made out of plastic or paper.

So I grabbed the first things that could help to remove the glue on the bottle: washing-up liquid and a stainless steel sponge.

How to proceed, part 2:

  • Rubbing the bottles with the sponge, the washing-up liquid, and with hot water, I managed to remove the remaining glue quite easily.

Step 2: Cut the Bottle

Before to start cutting the bottles, I did some researches on the internet to find the best techniques I could use. I found the following video, which is quite interesting and proposes 5 different ways to cut glass bottles.

I tried 3 methods:

  • With a glass cutter.
  • With a rope.
  • With a bottle cutter (highly recommended).

Be aware that if you use the glass cutter and the bottle cutter, a light score is enough to cut the bottle. During my first tries, I made the mistake to score multiple time at the same place, and I think it damaged both the cutting wheels and the bottle. Check the last gif of this step to see the kind of score you want to make.

And honestly, the bottle cutter is the best technique. It makes smooth and straight scores on the bottle, and the cut is perfect.

Starting from this step, I advise using gloves, sleeves, and safety goggles because you could get hurt with the glass. There is usually no problem, but if something goes wrong, it is better to be protected.


#1 With a glass cutter

First, I tried to cut the bottle manually with a bottle cutter as follow:

  • I scored a line with the cutter all around the bottle.
  • I placed the bottle in cold water.
  • Then in hot water.
  • And I repeated these 2 last steps until the glass broke.

But the first step was really difficult and I had to try several times until I made a straight line all around the bottle. And the cut was not straight.


#2 With a rope

Then I tried with a rope as explained in the video above.

Stuff I used:

  • Zip ties.
  • Tape (to stick the zip ties to the bottle).
  • A rope.
  • Hot water.
  • Cold water.

How I proceeded:

  • I used 2 zip ties to delimitate where I wanted to cut the bottle.
  • I used tape to fix the zip ties to the bottle so they do not move.
  • I scored a line with the glass cutter between the zip ties (about 1 cm long).
  • I wrapped the rope around the bottle 3 times.
  • And I moved the rope to create friction on the bottle.

After less than 2 minutes the bottle breaks between the zip ties. In fact, during this process, the friction of the rope increases the temperature of the bottle which breaks. If it does not break after friction, place the bottle in cold water, and the change of temperature will help to cut the bottle.


#3 With a bottle cutter (my favorite method)

For this method you need the following:

  • A bottle cutter (obviously).
  • A candle.
  • Ice cubes.

How to proceed:

  • Adjust the length of the bottle cutter, so the line is scored where you want.
  • Press the bottle and rotate.
  • Then place it above a candle to heat the score.
  • And place an ice cube on the same line.

On the following gif, you can see how I made the score.

And on the following gif, you can see how I cut the bottle. As you can see it has been really quick (about 2 minutes starting from the scoring until the glass break), the cut was really neat and the top of the bottle detached quite easily. If it does not detach, repeat the steps with the candle and the ice cube.

Step 3: Secure the Glass

Once the bottles are cut, the edges are quite sharp. I decided to sand them, so if the joints detach from the bottles (see next step to see what the joints look like), there is no risk to get hurt with the glass.

Just like in the previous step, I found a nice video explaining how to polish glass bottle edges after cutting.

So as explained in the video, I used wet and dry sandpaper. I started with 80 grit, and I did sanding with circular motions.

Step 4: Make the Joints

Now that the bottles are cut in half, it is time to join them back together. So I designed 3 different joints that I thought interesting:

  1. Simple joints. Just one joint on each half bottle. The upper joint is placed on the lower joint. And this is it.
  2. Hinge. I used the simple joints and added hinges.
  3. Screws. There are screw threads on each joint.

These joints can be used with large glass bottles (diameter of 80mm / 3,46457 inches).

I designed them with Fusion 360. I won't explain in details how I have done this. I basically measured the diameter of the bottles. Then playing with "sketches", "circles" and "extrusion", it is easy to make these joints. For the screws, there is a dedicated tool ("create -> thread"). If you are having issues making these joints, please leave a comment below or send me a private message, I'd be happy to help!

You can download the files on my account on cults3D by clicking here.


#1 Simple joints

You can see that there is a slot on each joint, to place the cut edges of the bottles.


#2 Hinges

For these joints, I 3D printed multiple parts then glued them together. This way it is much easier to 3D print the pieces, with fewer supports. To glue the hinges, I used the e6000 glue.


#3 Screws

Step 5: Glue the Joints

Then I glued the joints to the bottles. I spent hours looking for food safe glue to stick the joints to the bottles, and varnish to apply on the plastic, but I could not find any.

I then decided to use hot glue because some say it is food safe. Some other on the internet say that it is not, but I decided to go with hot glue anyway:

  • The glue is applied on the edges of the glass and inside the slot of the joint. So there is theoretically no contact between the food and the hot glue.
  • And hot glue does not have any solvent.

#1 Simple joints


#2 Hinges


#3 Screws


Step 6: Final Touch: Add Text or Image

Finally, I decided to add some decorations to the bottles, like text or images. I first thought to etch the glass with an etching cream I have, but I finally decided to use a transparent sticker I bought many years ago to apply to windows (for example in the bathroom to diffuse the light and keep some privacy).

So I selected a font I liked on DaFont website and made an image with a ring and the words "miam-miam" (that you can easily translate with "yum-yum").

Here are the steps:

  1. I stuck the transparent sticker on the bottle.
  2. I stuck the printed paper with my image on the top of the sticker. With tape.
  3. Then I used a utility knife to cut the lines of the images. Start in the center then go to the edges of the image, otherwise the image will detach.

Step 7: Enjoy!

You can now enjoy this creative misuse of bottles as nice jars! :)

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    35 Discussions

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    stannickel

    4 months ago on Step 6

    This is an outstanding article. Only one language suggestion. Remove every occurrence of "have" in the article, and then it would be perfect.

    1 reply
    1
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    Matlekstannickel

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thank you for the correction. I followed your advice, I hope it is better now :)

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    Matlekcandyallis

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thanks a lot, I have received the first price of the "Creative Misuse contest" :D!

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    stechi

    4 months ago

    Nice job! If you are making these in some quantities, why not make moulds from your 3D models using RTV silicone casting material. You can use a harder grade for the mould and a softer grade to make a slightly stretchy rubbery seal. Once the moulds are right you will be able to make lots of identical parts.

    3 replies
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    Matlekstechi

    Reply 4 months ago

    Thank you! This is a nice idea because it takes a lot of time to print many of these pieces. I am not familiar with silicone casting (btw do you have a link?), but I'll consider this technique for the next jars to come!

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    Matlekstechi

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thank you for the link!, I'll give it a try!

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    Matlekattosa

    Reply 4 months ago

    Thanks! Are you going to try making them?

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    attosaMatlek

    Reply 4 months ago

    My best friend works in the glass industry so I am going to use his tools and help for this, yes!

    1
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    fredh75

    4 months ago

    Any petg filament is food safe as well.
    A locking clasp on the hinged bottle might be a good thing for people that don’t realize the bottle is hinged...
    one of the best detailed projects so far! Look forward to making some!

    3 replies
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    Matlekfredh75

    Reply 4 months ago

    Thank you very much! I have never used PETG, I might try it for the next jars, thank you for the idea.

    The locking clasp is a good idea!

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    Parky1972Matlek

    Reply 4 months ago

    I too have not used PETG.
    But I understand it is VERY difficult to glue. So a one piece ring and hinge design might be a better idea for PETG prints.

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    Parky1972

    4 months ago

    I'll be honest.
    I rarely vote for Instructables in the competitions.
    However.
    Having read a particular comment which said your instructable was difficult to follow and irrelevant.

    I have voted for you.

    1 reply
    0
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    MatlekParky1972

    Reply 4 months ago

    Thank you! As I answered to the comment you a referring to, I have tried to do my best in documenting this project (I spent hours reading, prototyping, testing, and writing. But it is always a lot of fun). So your vote means a lot.

    1
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    Matlek

    4 months ago

    Hello sir,

    I am sorry you did not like this article, and that you found it incomprehensible and apparently useless.

    I am also ashamed that I could not correct everything in the text. I have tried to do my best though, but you are right in saying that I have forgotten some mistakes. I'd be happy if you could contact me in a private message to explain what I need to correct so that I can improve this instructable!

    Pointing out mistakes is right and fair, but sharing knowledge to help correct/avoid them is what makes the world a better place!

    Mat

    1
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    jpduroche

    4 months ago

    Apparently you did not read "We have a be nice policy

    Please be positive and constructive" so your comment is and was not needed....

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    winneremerald12

    Question 4 months ago on Step 3

    I know this isn’t too relevant, but how do you make a gif?