;

Select Page

How to Make A Bottle Bud Vase Centerpiece

I hoard wine and beer bottles that accumulate during the many get togethers over the summer- always with an idea in mind that they will get used in cool, fun, and creative ways that will have everyone in awe of my talent.

This rarely happens; however, the lack of a nearby recycling center had me thinking about how I might use up some of those bottles. Then I remembered this super cool bud vase centerpiece I had seen at a friend’s house that utilized vintage bottles in a wooden frame. And viola! My beer (or pop) bottle bud vase centerpiece was born. This is a great project that can easily be utilized for indoor or outdoor use- and also can be modified to be used with fairy lights, or even candles if you are handy enough to cut a bottle. Read on for step-by-step instructions to make your own!

What You Need:

Even though the design and creation of these centerpieces are pretty simple, the use of power tools really is a must in order to have accurate and clean cuts. Even though this project is very forgiving and doesn’t necessarily need to be perfect in every sense of the word, it is something that you will want in a place that you can show off.

  • Beer or pop bottles: To act as your bud vases
  • Vinegar and baking soda: Easily peel labels
  • 4×1 hardwood or pine boards to your desired length: Pallet wood can also work well
  • Circular or Table saw: Cut clean, straight cuts
  • Measuring tape: Measure twice, cut once
  • Drill and drill bit: For easy pilot holes and screw tightening
  • 1 ½ Spade bit or Step Drill bit: Make perfect holes
  • 2 inch drywall screws: Rustic look to hold your boards tight
  • Sandpaper: Smooth out cut edges and level your joints

Optional:

  • Wood stain: Keep your wood looking natural
  • Paint: Paint your wood to catch your decor
  • Spray paint: Give your bottles a personal touch

Step 1: Soak Bottles

Labels are the bane of anyone who likes to reuse their bottles for any reason. The sticky backing always seems to cause more issues than they are worth and more than one bottle has ended up in the trash due to the inconvenience of removing a label. But what if i told you there was an easy, no-hassle way to clean up your bottles for a smooth, workable surface?

Well, there is, and all you need is a little hot water, baking soda, and vinegar to make this happen. Simply fill your sink with hot water, about a quarter cup of baking soda, and the bottles you would like squeaky clean. You can add about a cup of vinegar at any point, but my boys like me to pour it in after everything is soaking to get a foaming effect.

I always let the bottles soak while I’m working on other things, but I would guess a good 15 minutes or maybe even less would suffice.

What to Remember:

baking soda and vinegar does react with one another, so be prepared for this reaction and leave room in your sink for any overflow that could occur. If you only use the amounts I suggested, you will have a quick foam only, and no large scale overflow.

Step 2: Remove Labels

While your bottles are soaking you will see the bubbles form around the labels. This is the soda and vinegar going to work in breaking down adhesive substance used to adhere the labels to the bottle. After your bottles have soaked for a bit you can test the edge to see how easily the label comes up. They should peel up fairly clean, but remember each label is different and some may need some more time, or a little extra work.

Regardless of the type of label, it will come up fairly easy with very little mess, and if any glue is left on the bottle it should wipe clean with just your hand. Now you have a smooth, workable surface to either leave as is or decorate as you wish!

What to Remember:

I like to use a wire scrub over the bottle even if it looks clean just to make sure I’ve gotten any leftover residue that may have been left behind. This is a really easy task as everything will be loose and non-sticky and literally wipe right off.

Step 3: Measure and Mark Your Boards

Measure twice and cut once is an old adage I like to follow (in fact I probably measure 3 or 4 times just to make sure). 4x1 inch boards of your choice of length work the best for this project, but pallet wood, or even a wider board, would work well depending on the look you are wanting.
I chose a soft hardwood board, and a roughed out and stained pine to provide a few different looks for the centerpieces I planned on making.

A beer bottle is approximately 2 ½ inches wide, so you will want to set out your bottles and provide equally spacing between each, and from the ends of your board for symmetry. Depending on how many bottles you want to use will determine how long a board length you will want to cut. I suggest working in odd numbers: for example, I used 7 bottles for a long table centerpiece, and 3 bottles for smaller mantle piece, and fun outdoor table lighting.

What to Remember:

When cutting your board heights, keep in mind that bottles are of different heights and you want to have each bottle neck to be slightly inset to each top. I found that if you cut an 8 ¼ to 8 ¾ inch height you can pretty much set almost any bottle height within quite well.

Step 4: Double Check Spacing

Before finalizing your board cuts, go ahead and space out your bottles again in accordance to your measurements to make sure they are how you would like them. This is also a good way to double check that you are utilizing your whole board length without waste.

I found that with the more bottles uses, the wider you would want your spaces between each to provide a nice, visual flow. Too close with that many bottle made them looked crowded in upon one another. When using three bottles a smaller spaced looked much more acceptable, and less crowded.

What to Remember:

If you plan on decorating your bottles, you will want to be sure to provide a little extra space between each bottle to keep them from looking to crowded when embellished.

Step 5. Cut Boards

Using either a table saw or circular saw, carefully make your cuts. Remember that you will shave about ⅛ inch off your ends due to the width of the saw. Because of this, when you go to cut your next length, place your most recent cut board upon it to make sure they are the same and make adjustments as needed.

If you do not keep your cut straight, and curve it slightly and need to trim off a little extra to make a straight line, don’t fear. This project is VERY forgiving, and a quarter inch change here or there really doesn’t effect the overall look, especially if you are going for a more rustic feel.

What to Remember:

If you do end up adjusting your cuts, make sure to apply it to both tops and bottom, and sides if applicable.

Step 6: Mark Your Tops, Bottoms, and Sides

This is especially important if you are cutting for more than one centerpiece at a time, are walking away from your project until a later date, or have been indulging in what is in your bottles. Plus, it never hurts to have a reminder of what your initial vision was of which side you prefer showing. When you get caught up in measuring your holes this will help as well as it is easy to forget which side you wanted pointed down.

I simply write top and bottom on the sides I know I don’t want to show, and also write the length of my side pieces in pencil on those (in this case 8 ¼ inches) so I could keep track of which lengths were specified for that purpose. This was very helpful when cutting for smaller wood frames so I had a quick reference for which piece was which since they were within a few inches of each other.

What to Remember:

Write lightly in pencil in case you change your mind. Pencil will either erase easily, or can be sanded out with very little effort.

Step 7: Mark Your Hole Placements

Due to the circular nature of the bottleneck, I suggest making your bottles exactly where you want to make your cuts. You can measure these out according to your bottom board measurements, but since bottles taper upwards, I found it much easier to place my bottles where I wanted them and line out the top board and simple make a pencil mark around each opening.

By doing so I had an exact visual of where to cut, and also could play with the bottle placement to ensure they were centered down the board, or even staggered if that was the look I was going for.

What to Remember:

If you can trace the entire circular opening that is great, but if not be sure to mark at least three sides so you can determine a good centerpoint for when drilling your hole.

Step 8: Drill Your Bottle Holes

A spade bit, or step drill bit is highly recommended for this process. I started out with a spade bit, and if you do so, be sure to cut from the top side (that will be showing) downwards as a spade can occasionally splinter the side it comes out on slightly. You will need at least 1 ½ inch bit to allow for enough room to place the bottle within the frame.

I HIGHLY recommend investing in a step drill bit for this step. I switched over to help clean up the edges of the cuts, and was so impressed with how clean a cut it made through the wood I started to used it for all the cuts. You will have to more or less eyeball the circumference of the hole, and also drill from both sides, but due to the control you have with this type of bit you won’t be sorry for making the switch.

What to Remember:

Stop periodically to make sure you can fit the top of your bottle into the hole. You need enough wiggle room to place the neck in slightly, but if you have at least an inch of give you should be good.

Step 9: Drill Pilot Holes for Screws

I strongly recommend drilling pilot holes. By doing so you keep your wood from splintering and also provide a good guide hole for the screws to be easily tightened down without it ending up on an angle. This is especially important when working with harder woods that have a closer cellular structure- which can lead to unnecessary stress upon your joints and weaken the wood through use. Choose a drill end that is slightly smaller than your screw and drill straight down.

What to Remember:

Do one side at a time to allow for any little adjustment that may need to be made due to uneven edges that may have been made during your cuts.

Step 10: Tighten Down Screws

Go ahead and place your screws, but don’t tighten them all down. Instead, stagger their placement to help draw your joints together more evenly and to keep from putting too much stress upon the boards. I used 2 inch drywall screws to make sure I had good length within both boards. I also preferred the black finish due to the more rustic look I was going for, but any color works well depending on your preference.

What to Remember:

You can also use a step drill bit to help inset your screws if you don’t want them showing. Simply provide a slight cut directly over your pilot hole, and then using wood glue and the sawdust from your project fill in the space over the screw head. Once dried you can sand it flat and nobody will be able to see where the screw was located.

Step 11: Sand Off Edges

Through all this cutting and marking and drilling you probably acquired some splintering edges, pencil marks, and slight unevenness. Using coarse sandpaper go ahead and even out your edges. I had some slight unevenness on a few corners which were easily flattened out with sanding. If you want to sand down the entire frame, you can even use an electric sander to give it a once over.

What to Remember:

If you do not like the sharp angle of the board edge you can also soften it up during this step. I preferred a softer, more rounded edge to my top and just ran the sandpaper over it a few times to get the desired effect.

Step 12: Stain or Paint

Depending on what look you are going for, you will probably want to stain, or paint your frame. This is especially true if your cut edges, which will be showing, are of a drastically different color (like mine were with my roughed out, stained wood board).

Stain can provide varying effects and also helps protect the wood over time. One quick coat can help warm up the wood, and layers of stain can allow for some pretty drastic changes. Make sure to mix your covering well also as both stain and paint colors settle upon the bottom of the can.

What to Remember:

Be sure to allow your stain or paint to dry completely before use. I know it gets exciting to see an almost finished project, but you don’t want to mar your masterpiece with impatience.

Step 13: Paint Bottles

There are so many awesome spray paints to choose from that I had to try out a few I had been eyeing for awhile. Frosted, mirrored, glitter, and chalkboard paints all rounded out my buys, and I loved the effect they lent the bottles. I went into my plans with an idea of having all one type of bottle for each frame, but once I saw them all painted I decided to mix and match.

I placed my bottles on newspaper to paint, leaving the bottoms unpainted, but if you want a whole bottle coverage, simply drive some strong wooden dowels into the ground and place your bottles upside down on them and paint away!

What to Remember:

Not all spray paint takes to glass very well, so be sure to buy those that are specific to all surfaces, or glass surfaces to be sure you get a coat that will adhere to the smoothness of the glass.

Optional:

Use sisal twine, silk flowers, chalk for chalkboard painted bottles, and anything else you can think of to make each center piece a little more personal or to match holiday decor. This is also a great way to cover up any logos pressed into the glass of your bottles that you may not want showing, or even cover up any small mistakes you may have made (not saying that I did, but I may have touched a bottle before it was dry).

The chalkboard finish is also an awesome way to change up your holiday centerpiece theme with the use of chalkboard markers.

Since this was a new project for me, I decided to use my first attempt as a bud vase on my fireplace mantel and so wanted it to match the more rustic decor I have. If you are using the piece for a table, you may want to consider making each decorative side symmetrical to the other as most people seat their guests on both side of the table.

Time to Get Busy!

I loved this project, and overall it really wasn’t horribly time consuming to make just one. It is a great way to showcase your garden flowers or even provide awesome nighttime lighting. Indoor plants can even be used due to the choices you have surrounding shorter root systems in certain species.

Doing it yourself is a great way to cut cost and have a unique and cool way to use up those bottles you’ve been hoarding for an awesome holiday centerpiece. Plus, they make awesome gifts! If you LOVE this project, like I do, we’d love to hear any questions or comments pertaining to it. We also would love to see the many ways you utilize your empty bottles around your home and garden! And, as always, please share!

About The Author

Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod cuts a tragic figure in the High School English classroom teaching literature by day, and moonlighting as a writer and graphic artist by night. Published in a variety of travel magazines, and now a blog, Danielle enjoys coming up with home and garden projects to complete with her two young boys. A native of Michigan, she resides in Southeastern New Mexico with her variety of horses, poultry, and variable mix of rescue dogs (there’s a cat or two in there as well). In her free time she enjoys travel, art, photography, and a good book!

>

To support our work we earn a commission if you purchase through some of the links listed below at no additional cost to you. This does not influence our opinions, but we believe in transparency so you can make informed choices. Read more here.