I really don't like throwing away glass bottles, especially ones with resealable tops. On the other hand, it can be dangerous to carry around an unprotected glass bottle in your hand, pocket or bag where you also risk damaging things like laptops, cameras and books.
This is a simple way to make a cover for a glass bottle and turn it into a good looking, practical water bottle. You'll reduce risk of breakage, increase the insulating factor, make it more functional and hopefully improve the aesthetics. It's a great project for those who would like to make their own picnic set or camping gear as well as forgetful folks who are tired of losing $20 water bottles.
Step 1: Materials
Any bottle will work but if you use a Grolsch bottle or something similar you won't need a stopper. That's a great advantage but you can always make a cork stopper or even a carved wooden one and use any bottle you have on hand. For those who don't know, Grolsch is a type of beer that comes in a resealable bottle. It's usually inexpensive and even if you don't drink, it's easy to give away beer. There are lots of other things that come in bottles with wire bales or "swing tops" as well. They've been around for a very long time. The one in the photos came from a widely available non-alcoholic juice beverage.
mountain bike or cruiser bicycle inner tube
roughly ten feet of 2MM paracord
an awl or hole punch
scissors or some other cutting tool
Step 2: Cutting Out the Cover
I didn't make a traditional pattern for this. Rather out the lines on the inner tube itself. It's ultra simple so there isn't much need of a separate pattern. You could make countless variations on this. The cover could be anything from a cut out web to something that covers the entire bottle. One inner tube should be good to cover about three 750ml bottles depending on how you style them.
After splitting the tube(I try to keep these on hand) simply wrap it up the sides of the bottle as far as you'd like it to go and cut it to the desired length.
Set the bottle in the middle of your material and use the Sharpie to draw a circle around the bottom.
After drawing your circle make two parallel lines as indicated in the photo. That gives a guide for where to cut out the bottom seam and make a good fit when you lace it up.
Once you've marked where, just follow the lines with your cutting tool so it looks like the images.
Step 3: Punch the Holes
You will either need to use an awl to make your holes or an inexpensive hole punch designed for leather. You can get them for around ten bucks.
I used a hole punch because it is easier and clean holes make the rubber less likely to tear.
Put three holes on the round part that matches the straight cuts of the bottom seam. If you have a smaller bottle you may need more. Simply adjust as needed and be sure to hold the cover close to it's final shape when you make the holes so they match up.
Next, simply run a line of holes up each side. These should be even with each other. It's probably a good idea to hold the two edges together and punch them in pairs. It'll take less time and they'll be more even.
Step 4: Lace It Up
Each side will be laced up just like a shoe.
You'll have to guess at the amount of cord you need to do this. Five feet per side is probably adequate so long as you don't want to make a carry handle from the same cord. I didn't do this because I had a shoulder strap laying around and wanted a more simple cover.
Just follow the photos and it shouldn't give you any trouble. The rubber is pretty tough but you might be careful when you pull the laces tight so as not to tear through the holes.
Step 5: Optional: Adding a Strap
As noted in the previous step, I had a spare strap so I used that but you could make one out of cord, inner tube, leather, some other handy material or simply go without. I can think of reasons you might choose any of those.
...In this case I just looped the clips through a couple rows of lacing so it'd be secure and less likely to tear the rubber.
Step 6: After Thoughts
Enjoy your water bottle and start looking around at all the other ways you could apply the same technique. You'll soon realize that this would work for everything from hand grips on tools to bicycle chainstays and even clothing. If you can get your hands on some car or tractor inner tubes you'll have even more options.
Inner tubes are an incredibly versatile material and once cut roll up into neat little bundles ideal for tucking into tool boxes, backpacks or first aid kits.
American Ruin made it!