About 4 years ago, I built a base for my patio from Trex® composite wood. I built this because the concrete floor was very hard to clean with all the dust that accumulated there over time and it was not aesthetically pleasing. Since installing the new decking, the Patio is much nicer to walk on, clean, and look at. I had some leftover Trex® composite that was not used on the decking project and therefore I have implemented it into my Design. Trex® is a composite decking material made out of up to 95% recycled materials such as plastic film and reclaimed sawdust. It offers better durability than regular wood and it doesn’t splinter, rot, or warp like regular wood does.

Figure 1: Patio with Trex® Composite Wood.



For my Upcycle Project, I have designed a wine bottle holder that can fit in between the countertop and cabinets in the corner of my kitchen. This corner has always been an unused space and my design has introduced a contemporary, environmental aesthetic into the room. Growing up, I often traveled to Germany and throughout Europe to visit family. Most of my family members enjoy cooking and spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Because of this, they have modern seasoning holders and wine bottle racks that would sit on the countertops. Having one in my kitchen would remind me of fond memories made while visiting Europe. It would also be a great addition because I often implement wine when I cook, especially when making sauces and stews such as goulash (a Hungarian beef stew recipe). It has already been used and is very accessible making the cooking process more efficient all while it introduces a contemporary environmental aesthetic to the room.


Since I upcycled unused Trex® material from my previous decking project to make a wine bottle rack, the aesthetic of the composite wood is not the main component of the aesthetic. It does, however, add to the environmental aspect of the design. The contemporary design of the holder utilizes and emphasizes straight lines as well as clean angles. The natural light that the space receives throughout the day emphasizes these clean lines and angles. The rack is designed in a way to introduce warmth and comfort into the space. This is what gives the design a more contemporary aesthetic than its modern counterpart. The original concept generation sketch of the design is shown below in Figure 2. Depending on how many wine bottles are in the rack, it can make the design balanced or unbalanced. Both of these concepts can be implemented with the final product depending on if you want the rack to create tension. Unbalanced designs will create tension in the viewer which makes them uneasy.

Figure 2: Original Concept Sketch


To finalize my design, I prototyped a similar wine bottle rack using the same material which had saw and scuff marks. I began by purchasing a 1.5″ hole saw from a hardware store. I started by drilling one hole and inserting the bottle in to see how it looked overall. I noticed right away that the design would look best with the wine bottles in the horizontal position. Using the 1.5″ hole, meant that there was only one angle at which all of the wine bottles would lie horizontally. This resulted in the Trex® to be positioned in a steeper position than that in the image above. This turned out to be a good thing because it minimized the amount of countertop space that it took up. Figure 3 shows the prototype that I used to measure the angles and lengths of the pieces I needed for the final design. At this stage, I realized that I was not going to need a stainless steel wire or chain to keep the feet from sliding out from one another. This is a result of the induced moment arm from the bottles. I also decided at this point to use a steel plate to connect the two halves at the top. The top of the rack will be sitting directly below the cabinets and therefore it won’t be as noticeable that the pieces don’t meet to make a sharp edge at the top. It would have also been very difficult to make a clean bevel cut at such a flat angle. This connection can be seen in Figure 5.

Figure 3: Prototype


I drew a technical drawing and measured the length of the prototype which was very close to the final size in regards to length. I reduced it slightly so that the rack would have about 1/2″ of space between the top of the rack and the bottom of the cabinets. I also wanted more space between the countertop and the bottles compared to the distances between the bottles themselves. I used a miter saw to make bevel cuts at 14 degrees on each piece that allow for a clean interface between the countertop and the bottom of the Trex® as seen in Figure 7. I then attached the hole saw to the drill press to drill the 1.5″ holes as seen in Figure 4. The holes needed to be drilled perpendicular to the Trex® so that the bottles align properly. I sanded down some of the edges and wiped off the Trex® material but there was not much postprocessing needed.

Figure 4: Drill Press with Hole Saw

Figure 5: Steel Plate

To cover the steel plate that I installed at the top of the two halves, I used a piece of leather as seen in Figure 6. The leather is from a Swatch sample that I had from purchasing a couch. The color ended up working great because it matches the underside of the Trex® I had leftover from a leather Swatch.

Figure 6: Leather Patch

Figure 7: Bevel Cut

Final Product:

The wine rack turned out great in terms of aesthetics and stability. It introduces a contemporary aesthetic to the space with an environmental flair. The lighter tone of grey matches well with the darker tone of the kitchen countertop. The wine rack is also able to stand without falling over when having three bottles on one side only. If it were to fall over, the top of the wine rack would get held in position when the top of the wine rack hit the bottom of the cabinets. This will prevent any wine bottles from falling onto the countertop causing a mess. It is very easy to slide the wine bottles in and out without wearing out the edges of the holes which greatly increases the lifetime of the wine rack.


Trex® Website:

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Hey Tim! This is a really great project that combines functionality with having an attractive countertop piece. I think adding the leather swatch gives the rack a very finished and clean appearance, that was a good call. I can tell you were vigilant and detailed in your manufacturing process because the final product looks very nice! Great upcycling!


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