I decided to turn liquor bottles and spaghetti sauce jars into cups for my upcycling project.  The idea originally came from when my roommates and I did not have many cups and we started using old Prego sauce jars as cups.  Soon after we started to upcycle Prego jars I stumbled across a Reddit post where a someone used a glass bottle cutter to make cups out of old liquor bottles.  This is something that I have been interested in doing for a while but never got around to it till now.  

This website used a different kind of glass cutter than the one I used.  Theirs was cheaper than mine, but more difficult to use and more time consuming.  

 

The goal of this project was to make functional and robust drinking glasses that would seamlessly fit into the college environment.  Cups made from liquor bottles would also be a great fit in a bachelor pad and also for wine or beer connoisseurs.  It is a classy and awesome way to keep trophy bottles.

After searching through my recycling, I found a few different types of bottles I could experiment with.  As shown below, I used a beer bottle, whiskey bottle, wine bottle, and two types of spaghetti sauce jars.  I did this because I was curious to see how this glass cutting technique would work with different types of bottles.  

The cutting process was very simple.  First I started out by making what’s called a score line on the bottle using the glass cutter.  The glass cutter does not actually cut all the way through the bottle, it just makes a small fracture line on the surface.  I then heat up the bottle along the fracture line using a candle then cool it down in cold water.  This process expands and contracts the glass just enough for the fault line to permeate through the bottle.  After a few heating and cooling cycles I could hear the bottle cracking.  I then pulled the top and bottom and the two parts popped off.  Lastly I smoothed and evened out the lip of the cups with sandpaper and a little bit of polishing powder.

Step 1:  Consume alcohol                                                                                                             

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Step 2:  Use the glass cutter to make a score line

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Step 3:  Heat up the bottle along the score line using a candle

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Step 4:  Cool the bottle down in cold water

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Step 5:  Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the two pieces separate

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Step 6:  Sand edges down using sandpaper until smooth.  This step honestly took the longest. If I were to sell these I would invest in a belt sander which would greatly reduce the sanding time

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I found that beer bottles were much easier to work with followed by the wine and whiskey bottles.  At the end I noticed that the spaghetti jars were made of thicker glass which explains why it took longer for them to make.  For the beer bottles it only took 3 or 4 cycles of heating and cooling and it took the spaghetti jars more like 8 cycles.  

Overall, I think the bottles turned out great!  They are very functional and really cool to have.  I think these cups definitely fit into the college and wine connoisseur aesthetic, and a little into the beer drinkers aesthetic.  I saw that because the beer bottle cup looks a little bland.  At the time of this project I did not have any beer with a laminated label, just paper labels, which meant I had to take them off or they would fall off in the dishwasher.  

The design process for this project was very linear with very few iterations.  It was a fairly straightforward, step-by-step process.  The only thing I took into account when designing how the final product would look like was how much of the bottle I was cutting off, resulting in the height of the cups.  I am not including a design loop because I would find it redundant for a project like this.  

Another thing that would affect the design process for a project like this is whether to include the label on the bottle or not.  I removed the labels on these bottles because they were paper and would fall off when being washed, but if I had Stone or Corona I would consider leaving the labels on to add art to the cups.  

I will most definitely keep and use these cups in the future, and continue to make more cups with different bottles to add to the collection.  One thing I would do differently is beer selection.  There are some bottled beers and other liquors that have really cool designs on them that would make for cool looking cups.

 

Reddit post:  https://www.reddit.com/r/beer/comments/2tklhz/bottle_cutting_101_turning_empty_beer_bottles/

Reddit post redirect:  http://howchoo.com/g/yzm0mwriotu/bottle-cutting-turn-empty-beer-bottles-into-awesome-drinking-glasses

Glass bottle cutter:  http://www.amazon.com/AGPtek-Bottle-Machine-Cutting-Bottles/dp/B0155WMTGU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1454653879&sr=8-1&keywords=agptek+glass+cutter

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41 Comments. Leave new

These turns out really well! Glad you were able to cut them without too much incident.

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Christopher Coffman
February 8, 2016 9:10 pm

I would love to be able to do this at my own house, I have way too many bottles lying around. I need to get a glass cutter for myself.

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Ashley Zimmerer
February 8, 2016 1:19 pm

Great idea, I’ve seen this before, but instead of scoring the glass, someone wrapped a string dipped in rubbing alcohol around the bottles and set them on fire. I like that you thought about the edges and made sure to sand them down to avoid cutting yourself when drinking out of them. Using bottles with the paint labels is a really neat way to dress up the glasses, too.

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David Holliman
February 8, 2016 9:25 am

I like your ideas to use the glass parts not for drinking–such as the candle extinguisher. Cool process and end result!

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Nice! I always think about how many bottles and how much glass we waste just by tossing it in the recycling or the trash. Since its not really cost-effective or power efficient, it’s a great idea to reuse bottles and other glass products in a different way. Its probably a lot more efficient than actually recycling them, plus you get cool glasses out of it.

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Brendan Warren
February 7, 2016 11:35 pm

Looks like you spent a lot of time sanding to make sure the tops were smooth. Very impressive work! Did you consider using clear bottles from a cheap beer to get a cleaner look?

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The glasses turned out really well! I know I have so many bottles laying around and this is a great way to reuse them.

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Nicholas Flood
February 6, 2016 3:57 pm

Neat idea! If there is a way to cut irregular shaped bottles (like Bulleit Rye), that would be really unique. Good work!

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Jason Mcgrath
February 5, 2016 8:45 pm

Those glasses look like finished product. Good to see thoughts on using the off cuts. Nice work!

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Jacob Mccormick
February 5, 2016 12:51 pm

Nice idea using what most college kids already have around the house and making it into something more useful.

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The bottle concept is really neat. I like that these bottles can have extended use. What methods for sanding did you use? Are you concerned about these glass bottles breaking in the dishwasher or anything?

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Anfal Abdulrahman
February 5, 2016 12:35 pm

The idea of “college aesthetic” was interesting. I wish if I have seen you making interesting angled cuts or designing the bottles, for example. Over all, creative project.

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Jelly jar glasses was a thing in the 1980’s. Interesting manufacture process; hot water or a candle. The beer

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I love how clean the look is, they came out great. I think screen printed labels or painting them would really help them pop!

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I like how you’re looking to use both halves of the product; I would have called it quits after the cup, so good job sticking with it

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It’s always nice to have cheap glasses, and this seems like a great way to productively recycle old bottles. I wonder if there is a way to streamline the process and make a ton of these quickly- I’ve seen other ideas for cutting the bottles without the glass cutter, but I’ve never tried it- hot wires, twine soaked in kerosene, etc.

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Chip Bollendonk
February 5, 2016 12:33 pm

I like the whiskey bottle, it looks big enough to hold a whole pint of grog. I think it’d be cool to cap the lids (you could find a bottle capper and unused caps) and use those for small drinks.

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I think that this is a really cool aesthetic. I was expecting it to be a lot harder to cut the glass, and take a lot longer. This is a really cool use of something that most college students produce and throw away!

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Rachel Grosskrueger
February 5, 2016 12:33 pm

Do you plan on making a complete set of these? I think it would be a great college kid glassware set to have at your house especially considering what they originally were. An idea for the top half could be to stick a tall candle through the smaller opening and use it as a candle holder or even just a funnel.

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This is a really cool way to reuse bottles. I have seen these made by tying a lighter fluid soaked string around the bottle and lighting it then soaking in cold water.

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Ryan Yankowsky
February 5, 2016 12:33 pm

Was the cutter built for this specific purpose. Great way to recycle old glass, have you considered using a higher heat source like a plumbing torch and an ice bath to sped up production, does it work with square/ odd shapes or just round?

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This is a good excuse to go purchase some Rogue beer – I’ve always really liked their cover art. You might also experiment with etching the surface with acid to create a custom design or give a frosted look.

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Great idea! I would like to try this myself, it seems pretty straightforward. I think the jar one is my favorite just because it looks like it was meant to be a cup.

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Thomas Brunsgaard
February 5, 2016 12:32 pm

Could you speed up the process by using a butane torch and salt/ice water? I imagine that you could first use a belt sander to make the lip uniform, and then you could buff in a small fillet. You should get a case of Stone bottle that have silk screen labels instead of paper labels, and make yourself an entire set. This is a really cool project, and I definitely want to give it a go myself!

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These glasses turned out really well. I have seen stores selling cups out of wine and liquor bottles for $15 to $25 each, depending on the bottle. The some Absolute and Grey Goose bottles are really ornate and turn out beautifully if you want to make any more.

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Peter Brunsgaard
February 5, 2016 12:32 pm

I always feel kind of wasteful when I recycle my bottles after only one use, and that’s a great way of getting a lot more use out of them before they inevitably get recycled.

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Great idea with a practical use! I’ve always wanted to do the project myself, thanks for the insight

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Jakob Oreskovich
February 5, 2016 12:32 pm

Are they pretty safe to drink off of? Shot glass stems would pretty sweet.

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Andre Szlendak
February 5, 2016 12:32 pm

I think you took the spirit of upcycling in the right direction of taking otherwise trash and using it for some sort of purpose. There’s some clever method here in how you removed the tops of some of these. I’d be worried about cutting my lips on the glass but I’d be curious how smooth the surface is. I like the takeaway of how you’d pick bottles in the future.

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I like that your inspiration is from a need you guys had at your house. Great functionality. The making of this by heat fatigue is a great idea. I like the idea of having labels. I think the candle idea might be better than drinking from the cup. Great project!

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Samantha Maierhofer
February 5, 2016 12:32 pm

They look great. I really like the idea of eventually using the rouge bottles with the silk screen label rather than a traditional label. Are you worried about there being any hazard of consuming glass when you drink things? Enjoy the new drinking ware!

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Sreyas Krishnan
February 5, 2016 12:32 pm

I definitely want to make one! I agree with your comment about using a drink with a laminated label, it would add a lot to the cup artistically. Great!

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This is such a great idea, I might have to make some glasses for myself.

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Meridith Richter
February 5, 2016 12:31 pm

Love that you kept the labels on – I think they look really professional and stylish!

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Joseph Yoshimura
February 5, 2016 12:31 pm

I’m always looking for ways to be cheap and avoid buying stuff, so this is great! I particularly like how you kept the design on the wine bottle. It looks more like an antique and gives a cooler aesthetic just like you were mentioning in class.

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Whoo turning trash/useless things into something with value is great!

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This is a genius way to recycle old bottles and jars, I’m sure everyone has way too many of those. Just make sure the edges aren’t so sharp that people cut their lips on them!

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I’ve done this before with corona bottles but it was extremely hard to get right. Your method looks very good and turned out some really clean cut and cool looking bottles nice work!

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This is such a cool project. I like how you can reuse old beer bottles to create something new. I also like how you figured out how to cut the glass, but make it smooth again so people don’t cut their mouths on it! I feel like you could do some really cool projects with the glass cutter.

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That looks fun, and makes me want to go out drinking. You should probably keep them away from parties though, else someone might break it by accident. I exceptionally like the wine bottle.

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Dude these look great! Really cheap and fun way to make drinking glasses. Have you tried any other techniques or methods to cutting the glass? Like tying a hot wire around the bottle and then dropping it in the water. Just curious.

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