Reuse your wine bottles

It can become a bit embarrassing, driving 18 empty wine bottles to the recycling bins every week… Especially if those bins are located opposite a house where a local lady spends all the time looking out the window, no doubt muttering about these boozy foreigners with their drinking parties.

You could of course play empty-bottle-bowling, but that causes so many sharp pieces. Instead, transform them into something useful. Like a glass. Now that’s what you call an excuse to finish that bottle!

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine December 2016


Flower vase

How: just fill the empty bottle with water and add a flower. If you’re a bit of a snob, wrap the bottle in some lace or paper so people won’t notice you drink Portal do Minho vinho verde that can be bought at Aldi for €1,59. (No need to hide this for Enjoy the Algarve, we love that stuff!). Don’t like flowers? Turn your empty bottle into a candle holder by sticking a candle in it (wick up or it won’t work).

Best if: you’ve only got a few spare bottles. Having 38 bottles with flowers on your table just looks a bit weird. Plus there won’t be any room left for food or wine.

Picture below by Paulo Rodrigues



How: measure a piece of yarn so it fits a few times around the empty bottle. Soak the yarn in acetone or nail polish remover and wrap it tightly around the bottle at the desired cutting line (high up if you want a big glass, lower for a smaller one). Set the yarn on fire and rotate the bottle so the fire spreads evenly. After the fire has gone out, immediately dunk the bottle in ice cold water so it breaks at the desired place. Sand the edges with sandpaper until they’re really smooth.

Best if: you cut a few bottles at the same height. It’s a bit unfair if you make a set, use them at your next dinner party and one of the persons gets a long drink glass while the other can’t even fit a shot measure in.

For a video on cutting bottles, see the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine December 2016


Serving plate

How: peel off the label, thoroughly clean the empty bottle and heat it until it melts and flattens. This is called slumping and is best done in a kiln, a special sort of oven which can easily reach the desired temperature of 790˚C. Some people think you can also melt bottles by throwing them in a mega hot bonfire. Enjoy the Algarve doesn’t think this is wise as the bottle will probably explode. Better buy a kiln.

Best if: you only use this bottle-plate to serve finger food like cheese or olives. Stuff that needs to be cut with a sharp knife (like a steak) makes for horrible sound effects. Soup doesn’t work either.

For a video on flattened bottles, see the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine December 2016 


Wooden shelf

How: drill four bottleneck sized holes (one on each corner) in a wooden plank. Repeat this for as much planks as you like your shelf to have. Find some clever way of making sure the whole thing doesn’t fall apart at the slightest touch (like glue, screws, hooks or just more holes that hold the bottom of the bottle from the shelf above it) and stack them on top of each other. Fill shelf with books or wine.

Best if: you use bottles that all have the same shape, or at least the same height. If you use 750ml bottles on one side and 375ml bottles on the other, there won’t be much stuff that actually stays on your shelf.

For a video tuition on how to make this wooden shelf, see the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine December 2016 



How: cut off the bottom of the empty bottle (for instructions, look above), feed lamp wire through the top of the bottle and attach socket plus lightbulb from below. Repeat 20 or so times. Gather all your bulb-containing-bottles and hang them from the ceiling with a chain, chandelier style (do use a sturdy hook as they weigh loads). Not that creative? Just put a string with Christmas lights inside the bottles and you’re done as well.

Best if: you’ve got loads of empty bottles. If you only drink a bottle every month, it would take quite a long time until you have enough for a big chandelier. If that’s the case, invite some thirsty friends over.

Picture below by Peggy and Marco Lachmann-Anke

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine December 2016

Posted in Features.