"Jazz up your old bottles with this easy tutorial for creating beautiful tissue paper bottle art!"
I have a confession to make: I’ve saved all of our empty wine bottles and wine corks for the past 3 years.
Fortunately The Boyfriend and I don’t drink that much wine, but the floor of our spare bedroom is like a boneyard of all the wine we that we have drunk. There are easily 50+ bottles just sitting there, collecting dust. And if that didn’t make make me sound like a hoarder, I also have zip lock bags of wine corks stashed in cabinets and inbetween the couch cushions and all sorts of other odd places.
The only excuse I have for this behavior? Pinterest tells me it’s a good idea. Because “one day” all of these wine bottles and corks will be turn into dazzling displays of DIY art. And I really do I have big plans for all of these bottles, but up until now I’ve lacked the motivation to sit down and actually do any work with them.
Turns out all I needed was a New Years resolution to get myself in gear. Today is now that “one day”!
The hardest part of this project was picking how I wanted to decorate them. While I was collecting collecting wine bottles I was also collecting bits and pieces of what I planned to use to decorate them with, so at this moment I could easily jazz up a wine bottle 5 different ways, but to start off with I thought I’d try working with tissue paper and mod podge. I’ve had a lot of fun with mod podge lately, but sadly I couldn’t use my Homemade Mod Podge for this project. I needed a smooth and extremely shiny finish and the flour-based recipe I use just wouldn’t fit the bill.
I used two different types of Mod Podge and they probably were the most expensive items on this list. Well, other than the wine itself, but I guess that would depend on your palate!
What You’ll Need
- Empty wine bottle (or any sort of bottle)
- 1 cup Baking soda, for removing the labels on the bottle.
- Bucket and hot water for removing labels.
- White enamel spray paint – I used Rust-Oleum Enamel, Gloss White.
- Goo Gone – optional, for the pieces of label that just won’t come off.
- Rubbing alcohol
- Mod Podge in Gloss.
- Mod Podge Pearlized Sealer – optional, for a perl-like finish.
- Foam brushes
- Tissue paper (I used this design as inspiration for colors)
(Disclaimer: The above links are affiliate links, but they are all products I used for this project to get the pictured result. All are available on Amazon and most qualify for Amazon Prime.)
I also constructed what I called my “makeshift spray paint studio.” With this setup, the spray paint is contained within the box and placing the bottle on a paper plate makes it easy to rotate the bottle around so you can paint all sides. Not to shabby, eh?
What You’ll Need For the Makeshift Spray Paint Studio
- Large cardboard box
- Paper plate(s)
- Duct Tape (for taping the flaps of the box, but this is optional)
- Drop cloth, just for a little extra insurance
To get started, first you need to remove the labels from the bottles. There are a couple different ways to go about it, but I opted for soaking the bottles in a tub of hot water and 1 cup baking soda. You can place the water in a bucket or do what I did and just use one side of your sink. Make sure you also fill the bottles with water, so that they’re completely submerged.
Let the bottles soak for 30 minutes. If you’re lucky, you might find some of the labels already floating in the water when you get back. Use your fingers or a butter knife to remove any labels that are still stuck – if it becomes to diffiult to remove a certain label, let the bottle soak for another 30 minutes. After about an hour the water will be completely cold (and not as useful), so if you still have any remaining labels or glue, either work on picking them off or follow the instructions on the bottle of Goo Gone. I was able to remove all of my labels without breaking out the Goo Gone, though 2 of the bottles did have to soak for the full hour.
Let the bottles completely dry, then use a cloth or paper towel to wipe down the bottles with rubbing alcohol. This will help the spray paint stick better to the glass. It’ll also make any remaining pieces of glue more noticeable. I found a few I still had to remove.
Next up: construct your makeshift spray paint studio! It took me all of 5 minutes and it was so worth it.
I opted to spray the top and bottom of the bottles first. Once they were coated, I set the bottles on their side and let the ends dry for 15 minutes (or until no longer tacky) before moving on to painting the sides.
Once you’ve placed your bottle in the makeshift spray paint studio, shake your spray paint can a lot (very important!), and get to spraying! I oped to spray the bottles top to bottom instead of side by side. When you’re done with one side, just turn the paper plate and keep on spraying. When I was done, I turned the paper plate a few more times, just to make sure the coverage was even.
When I was finished with a bottle, I just removed both the bottle (still on the plate) and set it off to the side. I’d add a new plate to the makeshift spray paint studio, place the bottle, and then repeat the process. Each bottle had it’s own plate, which turned into it’s own drying stand. It made for much easier handling.
The instructions on the spray paint say to wait 24 hours for it to completely cure. Depending on your climate and weather, you might have to adjust your wait time. I picked a rainy day to do this project, so I had to wait a bit longer for the paint to completely set.
Once the paint is dry, now you’re on to the fun part – decorating with mod podge and tissue paper!
(You can ignore the painter’s triangles in the below picture – I originally had a clever idea for using them as a bottle drying stand and it didn’t pan out at all).
For applying the tissue paper, I followed these basic steps:
- Tear or cut the tissue paper into whatever size you’d like.
- Without using any mod podge, lay the tissue paper across the bottle to plan out how you want them to fit. Keep in mind that overlapping the tissue paper can cause a neat “watercolor” effect.
- Focusing on one piece of tissue paper at a time, use the foam brush to paint on a thin layer of mod podge on the bottle in the area you want it to go.
- Slowly lay the tissue paper across the mod podge, starting at one end and working your way to the other. Once the main strip of tissue paper is down, check all of the corners and make sure they are secured. Use more mod podge to seal up any that aren’t.
- Brush on a coat of mod podge on top of the tissue paper, saturating it. Now you can gently smooth out any bumps, creases, or air bubbles with your fingers.
- Once all tissue paper has been applied, finish up with a final coat on mod podge over everything. Use a paper towel to lightly slide across the surface, picking up any excess mod podge and smoothing out any brush strokes.
- Follow the drying instructions on the bottle of mod podge. You can also add more coats for a “built up” finish.
- If using the pearilized top coat, wait for the other mod podge to completely dry. You can use the makeshift spray paint studio again or you can just spray it outdoors – the pearlized top coat is very faint and not very thick. Again, follow the instructions on the can for drying.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best at this sort of art (drawing & graphics are more my thing) but I did learn a few things from this project that might help those that are “winging it” like me:
- When smoothing out the tissue paper with your fingers, it works best if you have enough mod podge on top to make the surface of the tissue paper slippery.
- Remember this is still tissue paper, so be gentle. It will rip if you pull too hard, especially if the mod podge begins to dry a little as you work. As mentioned above, try to keep the surface slick.
- The tissue paper will look wrinkly when wet, but don’t panic! Unless the tissue paper is completely folded or creased, most of these wrinkles will disappear once the mod podge dries.
- Try to avoid laying the tissue paper across surfaces that drastically change in shape or size. For the wine bottles, this means the stems. I did it on mine and while I still like how it turned out, the tissue paper is very wrinkled in this area.
This is a clearer picture of what I meant in the last two points, about how the creased tissue paper can look on the finished bottles. If you like the look, great! If you don’t, just avoid pulling the tissue paper across big changes in the bottle shape.
Overall I love how these turned out! I’m looking forward to making more designs for wine bottle lamps.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you make any tissue paper bottle art, I’d love to see how they turned out!