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Wine lovers frequently share a common problem – what to do with all the corks? Sure, screw-top wine can be fine, and boxed wine is a necessary evil sometimes, but there is something profoundly satisfying about pulling the cork on a fabulous bottle of red, or popping a sparkling wine.
Good news – just as there are an infinite number of enjoyable wines in the world, there’s a pretty much infinite number of wine cork crafts and ideas out there. Some are decorative, some are practical; most are both!
Cork, for the scientifically inclined, is actually made up of suberin, which is hydrophobic (meaning it repels water). That’s what makes it impermeable, buoyant, elastic, and fire resistant. It usually comes from bark tissues, harvested for commercial use in southwest Europe, Portugal and northwest Africa.
Let’s start with the smaller, decorative wine cork projects, and move up to the larger pieces.
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1) Wine Cork Earrings
Image via Saved By Love
These are beyond simple and simply lovely. All you need to do is slice your corks into discs, then add paint, ink or stamps to create custom jewelry.
2) Wine Cork Pendants
Image via Fiskars
Much like the earrings, you can make a variety of necklaces from wine corks by slicing, decorating, and either adding a 5 mm screw for a pendant, or wiring multiple corks together to create an elegant showpiece. You might sand the corks down for a more polished look, or leave them rough to create a rustic feel. Fiskars has a full tutorial.
3) Wine Glass Charms
There is nothing more charming or appropriate than wine glass charms made from cork. Like the jewelry, it’s just a matter of slicing and decorating.
Add some wire or jute so you can attach them to a wine glass, and voila! You’re ready to acquire a few more extra corks! See Fine Wine & Good Spirits on YouTube for more wine-related crafts.
4) Wine Glass Napkin Rings
Image via The Worthing Court Blog
Much like the charms, these are created simply by adding some wire or jute to your base material. In fact, the cork doesn’t even need to be sliced to create a lovely napkin ring, exactly what you need for a wedding or large party. See The Worthing Court Blog.
5) Wine Cork Place Card Holders
Image via Hope Studios
The perfect match for your wine cork glass charms or napkin rings is a wine cork place holder. Sand down one side of your wine cork, create a groove in the other, add some elegant card stock, and you’re ready to entertain. All the details are at Hope Studios.
6) Wine Cork Bottle Stopper
Image via Another Damn Wedding
Continuing our theme of “perfect recycling crafts with wine corks,” you can create showstopping bottle stoppers either by tapering the corks you have, or by buying pre-sized corks. With the addition of décor – like tiny glass animals or knobs – you have a piece of art to secure your next bottle of wine. Learn how here.
7) Wine Cork Tacks
Image via The Wooden Bee
These are simply fun – a cork tack to add to any cork board! Drill a hole into the cork, decorate if you’d like, then just glue a thumbtack to the center. Here are all the steps you need.
8) Wine Cork Magnets
Image via It All Started with Paint
You can make super basic magnets with simply a wine cork, glue gun, and magnetized metal, but how about going a little further? Add a tiny succulent plant and a little bit of dirt for a living conversation piece on your fridge. Check out this tutorial for more.
9)Wine Cork USB Key
Image via Instructables
Add a little old world charm to new world technology by embedding your USB into a wine cork. It will look beyond adorable stemming out from your computer, and perhaps inspire you to work a little faster towards happy hour! Learn how at Instructables.
10) Wine Cork Canape Knives
Image via Yarnigras
If you’re looking to create a dashing party tray for your next wine and cheese tasting, why not incorporate a few corks? Create a groove into the cork, wedge the blade of an old canapé knife into it, and you have a unique serving piece.
These also make great gift basket favors with your favorite wine and cheese. Walk through the steps here.
11) Cork Toys
Image via Reciclandoenlaescuela
Need a rainy day project with your child? Take a handle of wine corks, some balloons and markers, and create a whole world of fun figures.
Attach the balloon onto the wine cork, and let your child play. From Reciclandoenlaescuela.
12) Wine Cork Candles
Image via A Subtle Revelry
These are ridiculously easy and very impressive for outside parties on summer nights. Soak wine corks in acetone alcohol for a week, place in a fireproof container like a mason jar or ceramic dish, and light. Find out how at over here.
13) Wine Cork Stamps
Image via Sweet Spot Cards
If you have corks, a Sharpie, and good art knife, you can make your own stamps – no experience or fancy equipment required. Start with simple shapes, like hearts or your initials, and branch out from there as you get more comfortable. Sweet Spot Cards will take you through the whole project.
14) Wine Cork Wreath
Image via Savvy Design West
When you start to have a few more corks piling up, it’s time to turn to some bigger wine cork crafts. Combine a bunch of corks with a couple of twig wreaths to make a stunning piece; decorate seasonably or leave plain! Here is the full tutorial.
15) Wine Cork Ball Decorations
Image via Unleashing My Creativity
These fall more into the decorative than practical category, but are absolutely lovely as part of a floral centerpiece. Hot glue corks to Styrofoam balls – it’s a simple process, but can take a little time so we suggest a movie marathon or good Netflix binge watching session when making these. Unleashing My Creativity holds all the details.
16) Wine Cork Bath Mat
Image via Crafty Nest
Keep the hot glue gun handy as we move on. To create a unique bath mat, all you need is shelf liner, hot glue, and 150-200 wine corks.
The cork looks rustically elegant in any décor, and feels fantastic on your feet, especially if you take a little bit of extra time to seal it against moisture. Step-by-step instructions can be found at craftynest.com.
17) Wine Cork Lampshade
Image via Homecrux
Much like the bath mat, you can make a terrific rustic lampshade by gluing wine corks around an existing lampshade. Try one from Goodwill or that needs a little upcycling, and give it a whole new life. Homecrux has the full project.
18) Wine Cork Basket
Image via Chica and Jo
Still have your glue gun? Find an old basket – practically any sort will do so long as it has smooth sides – and add corks to create a fun picnic feature.
You can line your basket with a lively fabric to make it even more eye-catching! Instructions are here.
19) Wine Cork Wall Art
Image via Brit.co
Still sticking (pun intended) with our glue gun, you can make corks into practically any wall art you can imagine. Symbols, letters, states – anything you can cut a template for.
Glue your corks, add paint or stain, seal for durability, and have your own custom artwork. Brit.Co walks you through it.
20) Framed Wine Cork Boards
Image via Suze Geeks Out
Much like the wine cork wall art, this project uses wine corks to add an extra dimension to any frame. Make sure to lay out your pattern carefully beforehand, and be prepared to cut corks to size as needed at the corners.
Then just paint and hang! Suze Geeks Out takes you through all the steps, including a super handy formula for figuring out how many corks you’ll need for a given piece of plywood.
21) Wine Cork Vase
Image via Design Improvised
This is an exquisite way to upcycle any old cube or rectangular shaped glass vessel. You can also buy them at Goodwill or reuse a florist vase.
Allow one side to dry completely before moving to the other, and next thing you know you’ll have a beautiful new piece. Learn how here.
22) Wine Cork Sculpture
Image via Lil Blue Boo
This is one of my favorite wine cork ideas – it’s creative, cute, simple and beyond charming. Use wire coat hangers to make an animal shape, fill it out with newspaper and packing tape to create the body, then glue the wine corks to finish the piece.
Stain or seal if you’d like, or let the natural beauty of the corks shine through. Tutorial at Lil Blue Boo.
23) Wine Cork Table Top
Image via Decorating Obsessed
Any dresser, table, or bar top can have new life if you happen to have a whole bunch of corks. The estimate for this project was 800+; remember that you can inquire with wineries, restaurants, bars and friends if you don’t happen to have that many lying around. (If you do, impressive!) Decorating Obsessed suggests using liquid nails rather than a glue gun to keep this neat.
Keep in mind – wine cork projects are not just decorative, or practical – they’re also a great, inexpensive way to recycle and add charm to your home decor at the same time. If you don’t happen to have an abundance of your own corks, and aren’t planning a wine tasting party anytime soon (if you do, please invite us), then there are a few options out there to acquire more corks, beyond buying them in bulk:
Visit wine shops or wineries. If they offer tastings to visitors, then they likely have a lot of corks to get off their hands.
Make a friend at your local restaurant. Managers at restaurants and/or bars go through plenty of wine, and, if asked nicely, will likely be willing to pass on the corks to a kind, persistent customer.
Ask your friends. In any given group of acquaintances, there are certain to be one or more wine aficionados who would be delighted to share their cork abundance with you.
They may insist that you sample some wine as payment – if so, congratulations!