No longer the stuff of ’70s nostalgia or late-night infomercials, bottle cutting has returned with a new sensibility. Embracing sustainability and upcycling, artisans are transforming discarded bottles into light fixtures, jewelry, candleholders, tumblers and more. “If we look at the glass we have today compared to the ’70s, the bottles are beautiful; some are embossed and some have many, many facets,” says Leslie Tiano, co-founder of online upcycled bottle retailer Bottlehood.com.
For DIY hobbyists, a cursory Internet search unearths a dizzying number of seemingly easy ways to cut the neck off a bottle: Use a hot wire, string or just run hot water on an etched part of the glass. Those methods will cut, but Tiano warns that they aren’t as simple as they look and, more important, they aren’t safe. “You’ll ruin the integrity of the glass, so whatever you make can break at any time.” She employs a tile saw and an arduous process of hand-sanding to eliminate jagged edges. “You can use a kiln or a torch to smooth the glass and get that nice rim you’ll recognize from Chinese glass, but our aim is to have a smaller carbon footprint, so we use a more intense but sustainable method,” she says.
Tiano sells her wares at farmers markets throughout San Diego, and some of her fans bring her bottles for custom projects. “People have an allegiance to their drink, Grey Goose or Jack Daniel’s; they love these bottles,” she says. “We get a lot of thumbs up and smiles because they think it’s a smart way to repurpose trash.”
Tiano will transform your prized bottles into just about anything. For details, visit bottlehood.com.