Upcycled beer bottle drinking glasses are perfect for using at picnics or in the garden as it doesn’t matter if they get broken, you just make another (and have a good excuse to drink another beer). They also look great in your boys den or in your games room and are sure to impress your chums.
They are extremely easy to make. There are various ways that you can make them. I’ve seen it done by filling the bottle part way with oil and them dropping a red hot poker in to the oil. This is enormously messy and pretty dangerous and I have personally never managed to make it work. Then there is the method of wrapping surgical spirit soaked wool around the bottle and lighting it to get the bottle hot then shocking the glass under a cold tap. This method gives variable results and often results in a cut line that is less than straight. But there is another method, which has a much higher success rate, is very easy and involves no fire or red hot pokers.
The cleanest, most reliable and most efficient way is to score the glass with a glass cutter then use alternating boiling water and cold water to cause thermal shock at the point that you have scored the bottle. This results in a very level and clean cut. You can then use fine grade wet & dry to take off any sharp edges and to finish the glass. It is as simple as that.
You can easily make a jig to hold a glass cutter, but there are bottle cutter jigs like the one I have used in the video available to buy on line and they don’t cost a fortune.
I have a few tips though which will increase your success rate.
- Try to score the glass as consistently as possible as this score is the starting point for the stress break so a cleaner score results in a cleaner break.
- Don’t score too hard, a light score is best as it makes neater score line and lowers the risk of tangential cracks appearing.
- Only score round the bottle once as going over the same score line increases the risk of a messier score and again increases the risk of unwanted tangential cracks.
- Occasionally your cut line may not follow the score line 100% round the bottle and you can end up with a “bump” on the top of your glass. The glass is often stress fractured in the right place and so a little knock will often knock the unwanted “bump” off cleanly – I use the neck of the bottle to do this as it is inherently stronger than the body of the glass. I deliberately showed this scenario in the video to demonstrate how to overcome this problem.
- When causing the stress crack with alternating hot and cold water the bottle can sometimes shear with one hot-cold cycle, sometimes it will take 2 or more cycles. Try to ensure that when using the hot water you heat all the way round the score line.
- Use a small amount of water on the wet and dry as it keeps the paper from blocking with dust and makes sanding the edge smooth quicker.
So, save your beer bottles and turn some into drinking glasses. But please be careful.