Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"City Lights" Glass Bottle Lamp (Part 1)

After my family celebrated Valentine's Day this year with a fancy dinner, there were two beautiful glass bottles left over. I couldn't stand to see them destroyed, so I rescued them, cleaned them out, and set them on my nightstand while I figured out what to do with them. While they brought me lots of happiness just be being there - "A thing of beauty is a joy forever" - I knew there had to be some way to turn them into something useful. But I was kind of stumped.

A few weeks later, my family was in a beautiful home while celebrating the baptism of our cousin, and I noticed a very similar bottle decoupaged with tropical fish and other marine cut-outs. Something triggered my brain, and I immediately thought of a city skyline illuminated by the lights of the city. I love modern art and cityscapes, and suddenly I knew exactly what to do with at least one of my bottles! :)

City Lights" Glass Bottle Lamp
Part 1

A glass bottle (such as the kind that wine, sparkling grape juice, or some vinegars come in)
A printer stocked with ink and paper
This image, resized so that when printed, the image reaches around the bottle
Scissors or an X-acto knife
Mod Podge
A paintbrush or foam sponge, depending on the texture you want to end up with

Thoroughly clean your bottle and remove any labels. The way I did this with my bottles was to rip off as much of the label as I could, then I put both bottles in a sink filled with hot water and a good bit of vinegar. After soaking for about fifteen minutes, the label wiped right off, leaving no sticky residue. :) Dry.

Print the cityscape image of your choosing. I used this one, but there are plenty out there in different styles to suit every taste - I was really tempted to use this one and glue sequines in the windows. :) You can google "new york city skyline clip art" to see hundreds of options. Or, if you're not into the whole city-scape look, you could always choose some other background (mountains, beach, etc).

Print the image of your choosing, making sure that once printed the edges of the image meet when wrapped around the bottle.

Using scissors or an X-acto knife, cut out the image.

Ready to Mod Podge? :) Ok!

Apply Mod-Podge liberally to the back of the image.

Line up the bottom of the image around the base of the bottle and apply like a sticker; make sure the bottom stays aligned, and smooth out the top til the image is fully applied.

Apply Mod-Podge liberally all over the bottle, from the top of the neck down to the base, over your image. Depending on whether you use a sponge or paintbrush, you will end up with either a slightly nubbly, etched-glass kind of look or artistic brushstrokes. Once the entire bottle is covered, let it dry completely, 15-20 minutes.

Once dry (and clear), apply another thick layer of Mod-Podge, set aside, and let dry. You can repeat this step as often as you want, until you get the opaque-icity (is that a word, lol?) and/or texture you want.

If you want your bottle to be more opaque but have less texture, try this: repeat the above step at least five times, and dry completely. Wet a piece of 400# sandpaper, and sand until smooth. Wipe dry, and polish with #0000 steel wool. Wipe with damp cloth.

I applied three thick coats with a sponge, without sanding, and that did it for me.

Okay, your bottle is done! Now we're all ready for Part 2 - turning it into a lamp!

(I will post Part 2 as soon as possible, I promise! I wanted to get the entire craft done this weekend, but the weekend ended up being much fuller than I had anticipated. Check back soon!)

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