I get it. We got restricted to our homes day in and day out. Days can be uncertain and lots of emotions can creep in. The future unknown can seem scary. But these tough days are the days that remind us to be grateful for what we have and take it one moment at a time.
Many years ago, when my husband, Mark, and I moved from Greece to America with our two kids, we had to start our life from scratch. The finances were tight and we had a host of not-so-easy days. On the not-so-easy days, I would tend to make the best meal and have a glass of wine so we could somehow celebrate. Celebrate what? That we were alive, had a roof over our head and a beautiful family! We chose to go against the current and make our hearts joyful.
Nowadays, Mark and I barely drink wine, but we still remember that tradition. When days are difficult we make a point to make the best out of them. And if you are still with me, follow me and set up the table, open a bottle of your favorite wine to accompany your tasty meal and let’s come up with something fun!
If you’re nearing the end of the bottle, you pour that last drop and then what do you do with the remaining cork? If you’re like most people, you just throw the cork away because, what’s the point. Or maybe you’re part of the tribe of people who keep a collection of corks in a jar or a bowl.
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Now let’s get creative! (We have time after all . . .)
If you’re part of the group of people who throw the cork out after the bottle is finished, think again! The cork can go way beyond the bottle if you allow it to. For you ‘cork savers’ out there, I’ve got some great ideas for you to even take your corks beyond the bowl. Are you ready for these fun project ideas?
Let’s start small. Key chains are a fun and simple way to use a cork:
The most common materials used in these designs include, (optional) new corks (in case you want some without red wine markings) split rings, screw eyes and eye pins to pierce the cork, and then some beads and/or charms to create an artistic touch and jingle. See some of the cute examples above. Vera Sweeney shows us an easy ‘how to’ here.
How about making some Cat Toys? Get ready to become your cat’s favorite person because these cute wine cork cat toys only require a couple of feathers! It is a fun and easy project that will keep the kids busy.
Here’s a very practical use for the wine cork that I saw a while ago on Martha Stewart’s blog; just cut the desired thickness of your cork and apply some glue or double-back tape if you want a more temporary solution.
I love this clever hack with the easy instructions here: Sometimes the amount of chips and cookie bags we open in our pantry is one too many and we don’t always have a chip clip or paperclip handy. Make your own chip clip simply by cutting a slit two thirds down an old wine cork!
Now that we have some lock-down time, Mark and I got inspired by this HomelySmart idea and decided to create a bed with herbs and vegetables. If you’re a gardener, these are the perfect additions to your garden. It’s a great way to ditch the store labels and create a more sophisticated label to identify all your plants and herbs.
When things get back to normal, here is a simple idea when you host that I found on Etsy: Make your own place card holders simply by cutting a slit lengthwise along a cork. Perfect for weddings or for the fancy dinner host!
Probably the most common way to use wine corks I’ve seen is by creating monogram letters or words. It’s a great little addition to any room and easy to make. Stand it up on your console as an accessory piece or even hang it on your wall. Maybe hang it in your kitchen and spell the word ‘wine.’ That’s not too many letters to make, right?
A cork trivet or coasters are not an uncommon concept and very creative. You no longer have to buy the mundane flat cork design when you now have the ability to creatively make your own. You can lay them out however you want so long as it ends up creating a flat surface. Here is the concept in a fun heart-shaped pattern by Erin Denton.
I know you’ve seen one of these before! Yes, that’s right. We’re bringing back the classic, old bulletin board. Except this time, you get to go beyond the typical smooth cork-like texture and get a little more creative. Test your creativity by thinking outside the box here. Rather than a rectangular board, try circular or some other shape. Maybe instead of using a basic frame, you find something fancier like this beautiful, traditional yellow painted frame above. Find different ways to lay the corks. Maybe you lay them lengthwise, or maybe you cut the bottoms off and glue down an array of circles of the same thickness. There’s really no wrong way to approach it because however you create your board, thumbtacks will always push through!
I bet you didn’t think you could create a mat with wine corks. Fortunately, corks are fine with absorbing liquid, so this boot tray pictured above from Earnest Home is the perfect place to put your wet boots without getting a mess all over your foyer. You can also make a traditional door mat or even a bath mat. Although there could be a couple different methods for an effective and sturdy bath mat, the one above is the result of adhering the corks to a wooden tray. For a bathmat version, adhere them to a nonslip liner that will help the mat stay in place on your slippery bathroom floor. Give it a try!
Wine cork art can be a great way to fill up some wall space. There are an endless amount of ideas you can design. If you’re a red wine drinker as well, don’t be afraid to use those stained tips! It can really add a monochromatic look and give your art a lot of depth. As you can see above, the ombre heart that we found in goodsgn is a gorgeous collaboration of both clean and stained wine corks. Want to take it step further? You could even paint your corks to bring some color pop to your art pieces.
Tabletop projects may take more than a few hours, but the end results are fabulous! The most common designs I’ve seen are coffee and end tables. Glue your corks down in whatever design you’d like and simply put a fitting piece of glass on top. For the even more ambitious, Homenthusiastic is showing us how you can create an entire countertop design via the same method or with epoxy. Pretty cool huh? That’s a lot of wine–lol.
Do you want to talk about fine art? Depending on how much time, skill, and patience you have, you can create a masterpiece like the one above by Diane Olean Bannon. It’s not for everybody, but I think her art is super creative, sculptural and adds a lot of dimension and texture to a space.
Now, keep collecting those corks and let your mind run. Hopefully one day our lives will go back to normal and we will eat, drink and be merry holding hands and clinking our glasses without fear.
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