So I'm recently engaged, and my fiance and I had our engagement party at a local winery. As part of the party we held various games involving wine corks. Afterwards, we tried to think of ways we could use the leftover corks in the wedding. We decided to use them to create wedding favors cheap that people may actually want to own (i.e. that weren't so specific to our wedding that they just threw them away). As such, we created some cork jewelry, and wine charms to give to our guests at the wedding. Each set of wine charms costs about 60 cents to make. The jewelry costs slightly more because of the chains (between 1 dollar and 1.5 dollars).
Step 1: Cutting Cork Slices
So each set of 4 wine charms will take about 10 minutes to complete. The first step is to find a thin blade to cut (relatively) consistent sized slices of cork.
Step 2: Pick Similar Sized Pieces
Some corks are better than others for this. If they are too porous, they may break or have big holes in them. Also, look at the side of the cork slices afterwards to make sure that the sides are cut parallel (if not completely parallel, don't worry you can correct his with sanding). Make sure each cut is thick enough (about 1/8 inch minimum) to push a pin into without pushing out the sides.
Step 3: Sanding
Once you have four or five evenly sliced sections, sand each side until smooth (I used 100 grit, 150 grit, and 220 grit). It doesn't have to be perfect, a little imperfection looks good in the end. You can used this step to even it out if one side it thicker or than the other.
Step 4: Hardware
Once the sand is completed take a jewelry hoop and push it into the cork (you may want to use a glove for this, it starts to hurt after a while). You can purchase these hoops at any craft store and even Walmart. When pushing them in, be careful they go in straight so that they don't push out the sides or break through the cork. The hoops held in pretty well, but I still used a pin to add a drop of glue at the top to keep them in.
Step 5: Painting and Stamping
Once I have all of the pieces hooped, I painted a base layer one side of the cork. I picked blue here, because it is one of our wedding colors. Use small amounts of paint on the brush so that it doesn't get on the sides of the cork slices. I experimented without putting a base layer of paint down, it definitely had promise. After the paint dried, I stamped different images onto the top of things that represented us, or random designs. I used a silver ink.
Step 6: Wine Charm Links
Lastly I put a large hoop on the end so that the charms could be attached to the glass. These were found in a jewelry section of an craft store.
Step 7: Making Jewelry
As a further experiment, I took some of the slices and connected them with metal links, then attached chains to each end. I put a clasp on the chain and made a necklace. I didn't make any, but earrings would also be easy at this point.