How to Cut Glass Wine Bottles to Make Beeswax Candles and Kinkajou Bottle Cutter Giveaway!

Today’s one-hour project and awesome giveaway is sponsored by my friends at Bottle Cutting, Inc.  

Today I’ve got a fun way to re-use your old wine bottles – or any glass bottles!  I’m going to show you how to easily cut a bottle, and a simple project you can make using your newly recycled bottles: beeswax candles.  There are LOTS of things you can make with cut glass bottles, but this project is one of the great basics.  Use your favorite empty bottle to add personal flair to your decor, or a friend’s favorite for a fun gift!  I’ve got a full tutorial for you in this post, and be sure to read all the way to the end so that you can enter to WIN one of these fabulous tools for yourself!

How to Cut Bottles to Make Homemade Beeswax Candles at

See, I’ve tried a few different methods for cutting bottles, and I haven’t been able to accomplish (let alone master) any of them.  I had accepted that maybe recycled glass projects just weren’t for me… but then I saw the Kinkajou from Bottle Cutting, Inc.  It’s an innovative tool that helps you get a clean cut from round bottles in a range of sizes in just a few minutes.  I put it to the test, and guess what?  I was able to get a perfect cut on my first try using it.  It took me a couple of minutes to do while I’m still getting the hang of it, but it works wonderfully, and the more I practiced, the faster it’s coming along.  And I’m getting a lot of practice, because I’m already at work on my next project. ;)

But – one thing at a time.  Let me introduce you to my new friend.  Here’s what you will need to cut glass bottles with the Kinkajou bottle cutter:

How to Cut Bottles to Make Homemade Beeswax Candles at

Here’s the science.  By alternating heat and cold on a weakened area of glass, it will expand and contract rapidly enough to crack.  We know this, especially if we have ever tried to move a dish too quickly from the oven to the refrigerator, or vice versa.  So the goal is to control where the crack will take place, and make sure it’s a fabulously even crack, placed exactly where you want it.  Cracking it is not that hard.  The precision is a lot more difficult – and that’s why the Kinkajou tool is particularly awesome.  You use it to create a precise scored line, and then use the separation rings to control exactly where you heat and cool the bottle.  The result is that one half of the bottle literally just falls off the other, exactly where you want it.

Score your line.  You can use bottles of a variety of sizes, though they do need to be round.  Tighten the tool around your bottle, drop the scoring wheel, and twist evenly.  (Even twisting is actually a key skill for this technique; if you tilt the bottle while twisting, your lines won’t meet in the same place once the wheel has gone all the way around the bottle.)

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Next, place the separation rings on either side of the score line.  Boil some water (how much you’ll need depends on several factors, like the thickness of the bottle and how much practice you’ve had, because it is a technique you start getting a feel for with practice).  I found that using my coffeemaker to heat my water as I worked was perfect, then I didn’t need to wait long for my next cut.  Prep your sink with a towel or other padding so that you don’t end up with broken glass.

Next, you will alternate pouring hot water and cold water (which you can just run from your tap) onto the scored line.  The separation rings help you concentrate the water in the right place.  After alternating a couple times, your top should just fall away.  I had a few cuts when I first started that took a LOT of water, but I found that tended to happen when I switched too quickly between hot and cold, and the bottle didn’t heat enough before I cooled it down.

How to Cut Bottles to Make Homemade Beeswax Candles at

Finally, use wet or dry sandpaper (or sanding sponges) to sand the edge and remove that sharp edge.  I started with a 100-grit paper at first, and finished with a 180-grit.  If you’re planning to make drinking glasses, a final sanding with 220-grit paper is a good idea. If you’d like to see the process in action, be sure to check out the videos at the “School of Bottle Cutting” on the Bottle Cutting Inc. website.

So now – you’ve got your candle holder.  Depending what type of bottle you’ve chosen, you may want to remove the label, or not.  Beer bottles with painted-on labeling can be very cool, but in my case, using these wine bottles with paper labels, it made more sense to remove them.  (You can use your sandpaper to get the glue from under the label off.)  That means you need to prepare your wick and wax.

You can make this process easy by buying pre-made wicks.  Which is an item that’s on my craft list… like never.  but the good news is that if you have white cotton string, you can braid your own wick!  Just make up a wire base (I used 28-gauge wire and coiled it up, making a wheel-shaped base).  I added some 34-gauge wire to my braid to stiffen it, but after doing it, I will tell you, it isn’t necessary.  I’m going to show you how to make a 4-part braid for your wick, in case you’ll be braiding your own, but disregard the additional wire.  You don’t need it after all. :)

Cut two long strings.  The length will depend on the height of your candle.  You’ll be tying them to the wire base, so make sure you can double them, and then you will want it to be a good 3-4 inches longer than what you truly need for your candle, so that you can stabilize it while you pour your wax.  I’m labeling the strands A-B-C-D below so that you can see where they go as you braid, but a 4-part braid is just the same as a 3-part braid, except that when you pull your right-most cord to the “center”, you’ll be passing it over two strands instead of just one.  When you pull from the left, you’ll only pass over one string, same a a regular 3-part braid.

How to Cut Bottles to Make Homemade Beeswax Candles at

I went an extra step here (depending on where you read) and I dipped my wick in melted wax.  This is why the extra wire was redundant, because the wax made it stiff and really easy to work with when pouring my candle.  So I’m going to call this step optional, but I would do it this way again.  It also allows the wick to burn longer when you first light it, allowing the wax to begin melting.

Now – melting wax isn’t too difficult at all.  I bought actual bars of wax a while back, but it comes in pellets, too, and those are a bit easier to work with.

How to Cut Bottles to Make Homemade Beeswax Candles at

I just cut it into chunks, and placed it in my glass craft cup.  (This is also what I use when making lip balm – that’s why it’s on the small side.  You can use a larger one as well.)  I placed my cup into boiling water – making sure I didn’t get any water into the cup itself.  I stirred it while it melted, and as soon as it melts (around 140 degrees or so), I added several drops of essential oils (about 25 drops, and I used an orange oil, though scent is totally up to you), and poured it into my cut bottle.  You’ll need a way to secure your wick, and for me, a pair of clothespins worked perfectly.  You can tie your wick around a base, like a bamboo skewer or pencil, or I’ve seen people poke it up through masking tape across the top of the candle – find whatever method works for you to keep it stable, and pour your candle.

Allow it to cool, and you can add your finishing touches!  I made 2 candles with my 2 cut bottles, and tied a bit of burlap ribbon and hemp around the jar for a rustic look.

How to Cut Bottles to Make Homemade Beeswax Candles at

If your jar still has a label, then it probably doesn’t require additional decoration, but I thought this was a nice touch for a natural candle made from recycled bottles.

How to Cut Bottles to Make Homemade Beeswax Candles at

Now – if you’re dying to try this tool out for yourself, I’ve got great news!  Bottle Cutting, Inc. is also giving away a Kinkajou cutting tool to a lucky Happy Hour Projects reader!  The tool comes with separation rings, a few sheets of sandpaper, and a finishing tool – everything you need to get started, except a few empty bottles!

How to Cut Bottles to Make Homemade Beeswax Candles at

Bottle Cutting, Inc. also has a $5000 feature project contest going on – if you make a project with the Kinkajou, submit your photos.  If you’re chosen as one of the 50 featured projects they will be selecting, you will win $100 cash!  Be sure to check out their site for all the details!  You can also keep up with what’s new at Bottle Cutting, Inc. including new products and project inspiration but checking them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Rafflecopter will walk you through how to get your entries in below.   U.S. readers may enter now through August 21, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to Cut Bottles to Make Homemade Beeswax Candles at

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  1. says

    I’d love to do some fun craft room storage for small supplies, small planters or just fun glasses for gifts! Such a great tool to try out! :)

  2. Aubrey M. says

    I would take wine bottles and make several cuts, to make “rings” of glass that could be used for a wind chime.

  3. Anna Starner says

    I would like to make a path in my garden with them turned upside down and buried with just the bottoms showing.

  4. bonnie massicotte says

    I dont blog or tweet. but I have used glass cutters in past and found to be difficult. this one looks extra easy and I would love to win. it would give a chance to make gifts for xmas. hope with only 2/12 I have a chance!

  5. Kati says

    I have tried so many cutting methods and have broken so many bottles!! This tool would be perfect to help me make planters and candles for my upcoming craft shows!!!

  6. Diana M says

    This is awesome! I’ve been saving this 30or so year old bottle kitting kit I found in my dad’s garage so I could use it, but have been to scared to try it :p!! This is so much easier!!

  7. Monique says

    I actually did a similar project in my glass working class in college, I have been wanting to do it again, but haven’t had access to the tools. This looks great!

  8. Becki C says

    I am intrigued to be able to use this tool to make hanging mobile in our garden. Thank you for the easy and wonderful suggestions for the candle-making. Very clear and kind ideas.

  9. KimMJ says

    Craft room storage, candle holders, glasses, candy jars, the list goes on and on and on…What a great too.. Love those candles

  10. Mary says

    Now I have a use for all of those beautiful glass bottles that I just hate to throw away. It is a nice way to recycle and reuse that looks SO professional.

    Thank You for Sharing,

  11. Pat schwab says

    Candles and drinking glasses, the possibilities are endless.. Would love to use beer bottles too.. I’ve seen this cutter before and thought it would be cool to have one. Thanks

  12. says

    LOVE this project! I have been scared to cut glass because it seems like such a dangerous pain in the butt, but this tool looks like it makes the process much easier! I would love to win it!

  13. Shirley says

    Vases for flowers and candles. Thanks for sharing! I tried to bring up the site but I could only get half of a page, I don’t know why but I was disappointed.

  14. Pat L. says

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway! I would love to have the bottle cutter! Wish I was a tweeter.

  15. Lori says

    My high school daughter has been asking to do this all summer and I have been putting it off because of the cutting process. With this tool, I feel like we can do this much easier. Would love to win one!

  16. Terri Tompkins says

    I’ve had a bottle cutter on my ‘wish list’ for quite some time now. This looks like I would be more than delighted to be named the winner. :-D

  17. Kim Cowgar says

    I would try the candle idea first and use “frosted glass” paint to add design. I think I’d also like to make bud vases from skinnier colored bottles.

  18. Sally says

    I would think this would make Christmas gifts where miniature Christmas villages are inserted into a bottle a much easier process. You could then reattach top and hide with trim.

  19. Patty Jensen says

    Oh…this is so perfect timing! My daughter is getting married this December and we’ve been saving wine bottles to make centerpiece decorations. Of course, it involves cutting the bottles………this sounds like it will make a scary project almost fearless. Thanks!

  20. says

    I enjoy making gift baskets at Christmas and often include a candle and/or small plant. It would be so fun making my own containers for the candles and plants out of our many discarded bottles.

  21. Karla H. says

    Drinking glasses, indoor herb planters, candle holders, pencil holders for my desk, etc…

  22. debbi says

    I would use them for so many things around my house. Planters for my african violets. Holders for my sewing notions. candles that my husband loves to make for gifts, vases, glasses to drink from, holders for q tips-cotton balls-pencils, the uses would be unending.

  23. says

    This is seriously so cool. You know us crafters hang on to every bottle and jar we get our hands on. I’ve got 4 wine bottles on top of my fridge right now just dying for a makeover! What a great idea! :)

  24. Ashley says

    I would love to make some drinking glasses from recycled wine bottles. Thanks for a chance to win! Oh, and love the little candles!

  25. cindyzs says

    drinking glasses, vases, candles! (this is so much safer than burning with fire and acetone!! would love to try it :) thanks

  26. says

    OMG!! What an incredibly fabulous device!! My friend would probably hate me as they would be getting homemade bottle cut gifts for years, but I love it!

  27. Amber Perry says

    I have so many things this could be used for! Candles, balms, mini-treats, decorations and more!

  28. says

    I would turn them into humming bird feaders, or other bird feeders. But I think that if cutting a bottle like this is so easy, there might be other projects that will be very cool to create.

  29. Susan Samuel says

    I would love to make a memory frame (box frame with up turned bottle ends in rows, inside containing small momentos of my life.

  30. Kelly says

    I would make all sorts of fun things. I could see doing the candles, candy dish, all sorts of fun :)

  31. says

    What a fun giveaway! I”d love to play with one of these! I’d probably make candle holders – or a cool vase. :)

  32. says

    Possibly the coolest thing ever- my oldest son has said recently that he wanted to try cutting his glass pop bottle to make a drinking glass!

  33. Karen Funk says

    I would love to try this bottle cutter. I had one of the old fashioned kinds and got rid of it because it was too hard to use. I would make candle glasses, but I would think of lots of other ways to use it, I’m sure!

  34. Danielle Porter says

    This is super cool! There are so many possibilities!!! Start with something simple like candles and get creative from there!

  35. jennifer says

    I would LOVE to win this great gadget! I would use it to make awesome candles as gifts for teachers, friends, and family!! I also love the other user’s idea of making mini-planters!!

  36. Lisa Teaney says

    I would use them for drinking glasses, I have some green bottles. And for planters, organizers for qtips, cottonballs, etc..

  37. matt lehman says

    i could use it it to make something sweet with the flat bottoms possibly something like a stained glass curtain with some wire i got it could be linked together…yes

  38. Amanda S says

    This would be really cool to win! I have so many bottles around my house! Could make decorative holders or glasses out of them. :)

  39. Megan O'D says

    I’d make candles for Christmas gifts, or drinking glasses, or modern vases, I think. What a great giveaway!

  40. says

    I would use the tops of the bottles to make wind chimes. Tricky to explain but would invole a cork, some monofilament ( fishing line) and a heavy duty wire hanger. Anxious to get started!

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