Put A Cork In It

Ah, wine. There are too many varieties to count, and everyone has their favorite. Everyone seems to have those corks and bottles left over, too.

Hermit Woods Winery

Hermit Woods Winery, Sanbornton, NH.

Last September Dan and I did a Barrel Tasting Weekend at Hermit Woods Winery in Sanbornton, NH. It rained a bit, but we had a great time, spent some time with the owners, and met a lot of wine lovers. Ironically, Dan and I aren’t big drinkers, so I got to wondering – what do you do with the bottles and corks?

Throwing them out just seems like a waste, especially if you’re drinking a lot of wine. I decided to look into it a little, because that’s what I do. Guess what? There are some pretty cute and fun things you can do. Here are a few of them, separated by cork and bottles.


  • Keep your corks in a mason jar with rubbing alcohol. The next time you need to start a fire, toss a couple of the corks under your kindling to get it going quickly.
  • Cut a small slot on one end, about a quarter inch deep. Put a small piece of paper with careful script to make a placecard.
  • Put corks on the end of your kebab skewers for storage – never worry about poked fingers again.
  • Make a stamp: Use a blade (like this one) to cut a design out of the cork on one end. Simple designs work best, and it’s a good idea to draw it on first.
  • Make a trivet: Gather a bunch of corks that are the same height. Then, glue them together with superglue. Remember, don’t use a hot glue gun or the glue will just melt when you use the trivet.
  • Similarly, make coasters the same way. How cute would that be for your next party?
  • Have a high-carbon kitchen knife? Put a dab of cleaner on a cork and scrub the knife with that to avoid scratches.
  • Chop or grind some corks and mix them in with soil for potted plants – they’ll retain moisture.
  • Stick a cork with a wooden skewer and write on the cork using a permanent marker. Great for labeling plants.
  • Cut the cork into thin discs. These circles can be:
    • glued on chair feet to prevent scratching or wobbling
    • put on the back of pictures will keep them from sliding off center
    • glued to the inside corners on cabinet doors to stop them from banging


  • Fill the bottle with water and use as a bud vase. For added pizazz, use a hole punch on some painters tape and wrap it around the bottle. Spray paint the bottle and pull off the tape to reveal bands of polka dots!
  • Fill a bottle with water and turn upside down into a potted plant’s soil for a slow water feed.
  • Cut the bottom off and place votives or tea lights underneath for a candle holder.
  • Drill a hole through the back of the bottle and insert a string of lights. Alternately, get a lamp kit and run the wiring through the hole.
  • Fill bottle with oil and herbs for flavor-infused oils. Colored bottles work best for this, as they protect the flavor best. Use a pouring spout to keep it air tight and convenient.
  • Feeling ambitious? Make a wine bottle torch. I found a fantastic tutorial here: Design Sponge


Bonus tip: If you’re having trouble getting the bottle label off, try putting hair conditioner (yes, hair conditioner) on the label and letting it sit for a few hours to overnight.

There are hundreds more ideas I haven’t covered here. I’d love to hear what you do with them!


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