Sanding your glass bottle is the final touch to turning an empty bottle into a work of art.
The micro brewery was located in an industrial park which added to it’s ‘working class’ charm. It said “Hey, we’re not the big guys, we’re just like you.” This spoke to enough people to make it one of the more trendy places in town. The shop offered a front serving area with glass walls that allowed the customers just enough of an opportunity to glimpse the inner workings of the daily brewing activities. A side patio provided shade and wooden picnic tables to enjoy the outdoors and socialize.
We made our way among the crowd, milling around the bar area and admiring all the awards and accolades that the owners at hung on the walls. I’m a bit of a beer snob myself but I like to think of it in terms of simply “knowing what I like.” Once we have made our choices we choose the bottles over the taps. We ask for two frosty glasses and a pitcher of ice water. This may seem like an odd selection but the server takes it all in stride and never questions our request.
The patio area is where all the activity is at. Offering food to the patrons would be problematic to the owners who have their hands full running the brewery. A food truck parked just off to the side offers a nice solution. We find our way over to a quiet corner to try out the beers that we chose and do some people watching.
I’ve been carrying a back pack around the whole time. I look like a hiker who has found an oasis in the middle of a suburban landscape. With the bottles now emptied I set out to grab my bottle cutter. It’s blue with orange levers and rollers and built sturdy enough to withstand being hauled around in the back pack. Each of the bottles have their own unique labels and this micro brewery has made every attempt to market itself with them. I’ve been guilty of actually choosing a beer based on it’s label rather than it’s taste. I regard the artwork on the labels just as highly as I do the beer inside them.
Finding the right spot on the bottle, I proceed to make my score line. I have done this countless times before and it comes with practiced ease to be able to make the score in one fluid motion. A small container inside one of my backpacks many pockets holds additional scoring wheels if the blade should become dull.
There are candles on the picnic tables to offer ambiance. I light ours and slowly rotate the score line over the flame. I have a candle in my backpack that I bring with for this very purpose. It remains stored in a plastic bag to avoid a incident that occurred awhile back where I inadvertently left my backpack sitting in the sun. The melted candle inside made a mess of all my personal belongings and took quite awhile to clean up. A hard lesson learned.
I’m moving rather swiftly because my pitcher of ice water has been quietly melting this whole time. Once I’ve rotated the bottle over the flame long enough I quickly submerse the bottle into the pitcher. I eagerly anticipate hearing the top of the bottle fall off and hit the bottom of the pitcher. It goes just as planned. I’ve had to repeat the process before but my timing is getting better. I pull both pieces out and place them on the table. A perfect break. I’m beaming with pride and can’t quite conceal my amusement.
The final step. With a break as clean as this, it really won’t take much to clean up my edges. Out of the backpack I produce my sanding tools. With a little touch of water I begin to sand down the edges. Starting with my coarse sand block and moving on to my finer one. I also have several single sheets of sand paper as well. By the time I am ready to use them it will be like running a cloth over the top of the bottle.
Satisfied with my final product, I set it out in front of me with a certain sense of pride. My activities have drawn some attention from neighboring tables and they make their way over to admire my accomplishment. Showing them all my tools and striking up conversations comes quite naturally at this point. I pose for a quick picture that we will share later on some social media site and begin to return my tools to the backpack.
“Are you done showing off?”
I take this as our cue to leave. We make our way back through the lobby area and past the t-shirts and bumper stickers. These things would have appealed to me before but I have a souvenir that outshines anything that they could offer at that point.
Side note: I’ve taken a few liberties with this scenario. This never happened, but with the current available tools that you can choose from, this story is very plausible. When we went to Belize for three months, I brought my Kinkajou bottle cutter with. It was a last minute decision but one that proved to be quite useful.
What’s your favorite bottle glass project? Leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!