Arts and Crafts with Wine Corks

Updated by Jim Deckebach

cork wine bottle stoppersMany adults enjoy drinking wine at home or in restaurants and on special occasions with friends. Leftover corks from wine bottles provide opportunities for creative recycling. Natural corks and synthetic corks close wine bottles in a way that allows minimal air to reach the wine. Natural cork comes from trees. Low density polyethylene (LDPE #4) is the material used in synthetic corks. Natural cork and synthetic cork are both recyclable. Recyclers transform wine corks into practical and attractive objects, especially for the home.

All About Wine Corks

For centuries, vintners have used natural cork for bottling and storing wine. It is elastic, strong, and almost impermeable to air. Cork comes from the bark of the Quercus suber: the cork oak tree. Today, most of the existing cork oak forests grow in Spain and Portugal. The trees are native to both southwest Europe and northwest Africa. Cork oak trees live approximately 200 years. After age 25, the growers can harvest the bark every 9-10 years without damaging the tree. This makes cork a renewable resource that does not harm the environment. Cork is susceptible to the fungus TCA (2,4,6 - trichloranisole) which grows in cork oaks. Additionally, cork stoppers can crumble, leaving bits of cork in your wine. These factors detract from the popularity of natural cork stoppers for wine bottles. Low density polyethylene corks do not crumble, and they are not susceptible to TCA fungus. Despite these advantages, many consumers prefer the authenticity of natural cork material.

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- What is Cork and Why is It Used to Close Wine Bottles?

- The Complete Guide to Wine Bottle Corks

- How are Wine Corks Made? Guide to the Cork Harvest

- Wine Corks: Structure, Properties, and Production

Different Uses for Wine Corks

Many people engage in reusing and up-cycling items found in their homes. This practice is not only good for the environment, but it can also be a fun and creative hobby. The average wine enthusiast amasses corks over time. These get thrown into a drawer or a container only to collect dust or take up space. You can reuse those old corks in attractive and functional ways. Create ink stamps by cutting shapes into the ends of wine corks. Make coasters or trivets by gluing wine corks side-by-side into rounded shapes. For a unique bath mat, cut wine corks lengthwise and glue the flat sides to a rectangle of shelf liner. You can even glue wine corks to a wall-mounted board for a kitchen backsplash.

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Arts and Craft Projects Using Wine Corks

If you could look at cork under a microscope, you would see that its structure resembles a honeycomb. Air fills the openings in the honeycomb structure. The pockets of air cause cork to be buoyant, resistant to fire, watertight, and almost airtight. These qualities make cork ideal for closing wine bottles. Additionally, they make cork an excellent material for crafting. Cut wine corks lengthwise to create flat surfaces for gluing them to objects. Slice them into discs to create round, flat shapes. Tacks, nails, or screws will pierce wine corks with ease. Paint or dye wine corks for added color. Glue wine corks to craft projects with hot glue, super glue, or craft glue. Boil wine corks for about 10 minutes to make them pliable and easy to cut for craft projects. Make the following items: coasters, decorative picture frames, key-chains, place-card holders, note boards.

cork wine bottle stoppers and wine glasses

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Wine Corks in Home Décor

Every time you consume a bottle of wine for a special celebration, write the date, place, and occasion on the cork. Save these corks, and you will soon have a collection. Display your collection in a pretty bowl on a living room table. This will not only preserve memories but also spark conversation among your guests. Use wine corks in your home décor as vase filler. Craft home décor objects such as door wreaths, picture frames, or refrigerator magnets. Wine cork DIY projects abound on the Internet. You are sure to find many ideas for projects that will suit your home décor style.

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