Tag Archives: bottle

Whiskey Lamp

21 Oct

Lately I’ve been collecting bottles of various types. From time to time my dad will have a glass of whiskey after work and I snagged this bottle when he finally finished it. I saw several bottle lamp designs before, but most of them ran the cord on the outside, like someone just took a lamp top and shoved it on top of a bottle. The effect was very frankensteinish and I didn’t like it very much. I wanted the cord to go up through the bottle so the bottle was the lamp, not just a stand for the light fixture.

The tricky part was that I also wanted the bottle to be filled with liquid. The amber glow would have more of an impact than just a hollow empty bottle with wires in it. The biggest obstacle to this plan was that water and electricity don’t mix. I had to come up with a way to shield the cables from the water, while at the same time keeping the water from leaking out of the bottle.

I have a fish tank here in my apartment and some surgical plastic tubing that goes with it to pump air into the tank. I took a little snip of tubing and found that I could snugly slide the electrical cables into them. This would at as my shield against the water. I got a diamond tipped bit and carefully carved a whole in the bottom of the bottle, inserted the shielded wires, and then plugged the gaps with pvc piping glue. (I initially tried wax and superglue, but this didn’t work well enough to my satisfaction.)

I got a larger piece of surgical tubing and slid the smaller two wires through that at the neck. I then continued to fill gaps and seal the bottle with pvc piping glue. Yet before I sealed it all up, I filled the bottle with distilled water. I chose distilled because it lacks hard minerals. I figured this would aid in the life of the lamp and prevent buildup inside the bottle. I then toyed around with how to get the water to look like whiskey. I settled on 6 drops yellow food coloring, 4 drops red, and 1 drop blue. This helps give the lamp and amber glow. I sealed everything up, plugged it in, and bingo, Whiskey lamp:

Wine Ship

26 Dec

A while back I got the idea of making a ship from a wine bottle.  If you cut a wine bottle down length wise it looks a bit like the hull of a ship.  The biggest problem I ran into was trying to cut a wine bottle lengthwise.

I tried everything. I tried sawing it, that didn’t work. I tried scoring it with a glass cutter and then pouring boiling water over the score marks followed by ice water; that cracked it, but often in unpredictable ways. I think I went through about five bottles experimenting with this. I had decided a while ago that this is what I wanted to make my dad for xmas, and when Dec. 24 rolled around I was in a bit of a panic.

I realized that I didn’t need to crack the bottle clean in half. Trying to do that with the super thick neck and elaborate base of many bottles made cutting it lengthwise nearly impossible. Instead, I figured I only needed to remove a portion and could leave the neck as the bow of the ship, and the bottom as the aft cabin. I took a bottle, carefully smashed a section on the shoulder, and then proceeded to delicately snap off pieces with a pair of pliers. (click pics to enlarge)

I didn’t want anyone being able to see into the ship, so I decided to paint the inside with a tapestry wine color paint. After I did this I realized I had a problem. The bottle I was using held white wine and was see through. I needed to use a dark bottle that held red wine. The green glass tinted the paint and made it look like a bottle full of chocolate milk.

(You can somewhat see the purple there, but without the light shinning right on it, the whole thing looked an ugly brown….so I scraped it all out.

Then I repainted it in a black paint and it looked much better.

The next big problem were the sharp edges around the bottle where I broke the glass. I didn’t have the tools or the time to file everything down to a smooth edge, so I came up with the idea to incorporate the wooden deck onto the boat in such a way that it covered the edges. I first built the base foundation for the deck which extended ever so slightly above the top of the glass so as to provide a level plane for the deck to sit upon.

After staining the wood, I applied the deck, glued it down, and then carefully trimmed around the edges to give it a much cleaner look.

Lastly came the mast and rigging and presto!