Custom Glasses From Repurposed Bottles




About: I like making things out of items that would have otherwise been discarded. Check out my other projects!

For our wedding we planned on purchasing pilsner or pint glasses for many of our guests.  We had intended to have our names and the date printed on them.  However, with minimum order sizes, shipping costs, and realizing that glasses with other people's names on them are not much fun we decided to make our own.

A friend that married a few years ago bought beer steins for each of his best men.  He bought most from eBay and each one had a meaning to the recipient - for instance, one that liked golf had a golf-themed stein.  I liked his gesture and wanted something similar.  Although we didn't have a bridal party and we did not intend to make them for everyone.

By using wine and liquor bottles we gave a little extra life to something that was discarded.  We plucked the bottles from community recycling drop bins.

Step 1: Requirements

You will need:
  • bottles!  (wine bottles are pretty good but some liquor bottles work too)
  • a tile saw
  • rotary tool with grinding bits
  • multiple grades of fine sandpaper
  • tape
  • letter decals
  • glass etching paste
  • paintbrush
  • face shield, hearing protection, and respiratory protection
  • the names or initials of the guests you want glasses for
Note that we did not make glasses for everyone.  We made them for about 50 of our close friends and family.  These could be used to mark seats for guests.

Step 2: Cutting the Bottles

Determine the height you want the glasses to be.  Use other glasses to compare or experiment with a few to see what you like.  Set the fence of the tile saw at that height.

Make sure there is water in the basin of the saw.  Don your protective face shield and ear muffs.  Flip the switch and then carefully rotate the bottle on the platform, rolling the bottle into the blade with the base against the fence.  Concentrate on keeping the bottle perpendicular to the blade.  Carefully rotate until you are close to cutting through.  Gently hold the neck of the bottle so the weight doesn't cause the bottle to shear in the last few millimeters.

NOTE: A search on Instructables for "cutting bottles" yields many different ways to cut them, good tips on smoothing the edges, and plenty of tips on removing labels.  In addition to this Instructable it would be wise to read through some of them and their comments.

Step 3: Smoothing the Edge

Step 4: Remove the Labels

Some labels come off easily in some hot water.  Others need to be soaked in a solvent to be removed.  With some experience you'll quickly see the ones that come off easily and start to gravitate toward them in your selection!

Step 5: Prep Your Design

Using adhesive letters and some tape to mask edges you can make designs and do initials or monograms on the glasses.  Just lay out your design remembering that exposed areas will be the parts that are etched. 

We didn't take enough pictures of the process of making the monogrammed glasses.  So here are some mustache glasses that we made using this technique.  (Available in our Etsy shop if you don't want to take this project on.)

Step 6: Etch Your Design

Simply follow the directions on the bottle of the etching paste.  Paint it on, wait the recommended time, and then rinse it off. 

Be careful during rinsing - we have found that there sometimes is a faint etch done where there is exposed areas unintended for etching.

Then peel off the stencil you used.  Wash the glass and they are ready to be used!

Step 7: Enjoy!



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    18 Discussions


    7 years ago on Step 2

    Keeping the bottle at 90 degrees to the blade is easy, simply use a block of wood that is taller than the radius of the bottle to be cut. Clamp the block of wood perpendicular to the blade, between the fence and the blade in a position that will allow the blade to just penetrate the glass. As in the instructable, roll the bottle onto the blade then when the bottle is against the block of wood rotate the bottle while holding it against the wood :-)

    I have wanted to try this but was always worried about any sharp edges where you put your mouth. I might try it again.

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Riesling wines come in blue bottles. Pinnacle vodka also has a beautifully shaped blue bottle.

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Step 2

    Awesome idea but do you think there would be a different way a I could do this without the tile saw, all I got is a dremel


    8 years ago on Introduction

    What kind of booze comes in blue bottles? I recall Milk of Magnesia in such a color of glass, but I don't know what brand of alcohol is in a blue bottle.

    4 replies

    Thanks to all of you. I wasn't really planning to make blue drinking glasses, but I was fascinated with the lampwork beads, and I didn't want them all to be brown, green, or clear like most booze bottles.


    8 years ago on Step 2

    WHOA! This has to be the most dangerous method for cutting a bottle. Keeping the bottle parallel to the fence it not only a good thing to to it is the only thing to do. If the bottle moves out of this relationship it could shatter and send glass shards everywhere. There are much safer options. Having said that I still like the project very cool idea!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    A nice "green" idea. I couldn't even tell they were re purposed in the picture.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice.  btw, did you get soaked from the wet saw afterwards? My tile saw throws off water to the back.  

    I will have to try those glass etching creams.  Only seen it used when they etch the VIN on car windows.  Probably a smoother finish on big projects  than sandblasting.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    This saw throws water forward...

    I have used my Dremel to do a mechanical etch - it's easy to sketch on it. Just print out your design and tape it to the inside of the glass!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! I'm sure my brother would love the acknowledgment of his year and a half "working" on it! He plans on going to the World Beard & Moustache Championships in Norway in May. He hasn't decided on a category to compete in yet though.