Releasing art from a bottle

Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Recycle your bottles by turning them into beautiful -- and functional -- backyard decorations.

> Recycle your bottles by turning them into beautiful -- and functional -- backyard decorations

What does the Double Decker Arts and Music Festival bring to Oxford, Miss.? Tons of beautiful hand crafts, a heavy helping of independent music, and loads and loads of trash (of the human and garbage varieties).

For me, the Sunday morning refuse may overshadow Saturdays full day of fun. This year my neighbors made pitchers and pitchers of peach sangria. And after their mixing was done, they left champagne bottles strewn across our shared yard.

From trash to treasure: I got up Sunday morning and snapped up six glistening green bottles to decorate the yard in a bit more aesthetically pleasing way.

At Double Decker I saw the most beautiful candleholders. Made of bottles wrapped in copper wiring and jewels, I thought, "Fifty dollars? I could do that." And I did.

Supplies

* 6 champagne bottles -- free (courtesy of my new neighbors)

* 3 bags of gems and jewels -- $1.50 per bag (on sale at a local hobby store)

* 25 feet of 14 gauge copper wire -- $2 (at a local hardware store)

* 30 feet of No. 8 copper wire -- $6.29 (in the electrical section at a hardware store)

* Wire snips and pliers -- in the tool box (thanks to Dad)

Instructions

Less than $15 in supplies was enough to make my six candleholders, with enough wire and gems left over to make about three more.

The process of creating the decorations is little more than some creative bending of the wire to wrap around the bottle and gems. Brut force I don't have, but the No. 8 wire is pliable. Be sure to clip any long ends and try to keep any sharp pieces of wire tucked under so they don't snag anyone. There's no need to secure the copper in place as long as you've wrapped it tightly around the bottle.

Your completed project will glisten in the sun and shine its light in the darkness, so it's beautiful any time of day. I've also used my bottles to hold flowers, incense sticks or citronella products. And the same wire-bending can be done around all types of glass objects -- wine bottles, mason jars, actual candle holders.

Once you get the hang of bending the wire around bottles, try bending it into creative shapes to accent the decorations you've already made. During pleasant summer evenings, you won't be disappointed.

Vanessa Cook is a former copy editor for the Southeast Missourian who dabbles in decorating. If you have a comment, question or idea for a column, she can be reached at news@semissourian.com.

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