Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Make a Pendant from a Bottle

Before: Beer Bottle
Many folks look at the labels when selecting beer and wine. Not me. I confess I can not help but look at the glass of the bottle. I consider the shape of the glass and the color. Glass from bottles is a great raw material for making beads, platters and other art work. Reclaimed glass from bottles can be melted using a torch or a kiln.

For this project, I cut off the neck of a beer bottle one of my son's friends recommended after a semester in Europe. He wanted to try the beer. I was psyched by the rich green color of the bottle.

Melting reclaimed glass is always unpredictable. The color often changes when heated and formed and the temperature needed to form the glass is always uncertain. This glass proved a success. The pendant took exactly the form I hoped and the color stayed as rich and pretty as it was in the store.

After: Pendant by GeltDesigns.com
Glass bottle
Stringing material
Sterling silver end caps
G-S Hypo Cement.
18-gauge sterling silver half hard round wire.

Glass fusing kiln
Ring saw
Kiln safe bisque mold
Kiln wash/ shelf primer

Step 1
Drink the beer and wash out the bottle. Set aside. It is not a good idea to operate saws or kilns after drinking alcohol.

Cut top off bottle with saw.
Step 2
Cut off the top of the bottle using a ring saw or glass cutter.

Step 3
Clean the cut glass.
Clean the glass with glass cleaner to remove residue from sawing and prevent devitrification when kiln forming the reclaimed glass.

Step 4
Put the glass in a mold.
Place the clean glass in a mold prepared with kiln wash. Use of a mold is optional. You can melt the glass on a kiln shelf prepared with kiln wash, but use of a mold will ensure that the pendant has a nice shape. We used a round mold and we cut the bottle slightly off center so the pendant would melt a round, thick piece with a hole that is off center.

Step 5
Place the glass in the kiln
Place the mold in the glass fusing kiln. Since I did not know the COE of the glass, I could not predict the fusing cycle. As such, I decided to use a small top loading kiln, so I could watch the glass closely and see when the glass had melt to the point I liked. For this project, I raised the kiln to 1500 degrees F and held it for eight minutes. When I opened the kiln to check the glass, I found that the glass was not melted enough, so I repeated three times until the glass melted into the shape I liked. The process was prolonged because the temperature of the kiln dropped each time I opened it to check the glass.

Note: Always put your kiln on a fire safe work surface and wear protective eye goggles when looking into a hot kiln.

Step 6
Anneal the glass. Lower the kiln to the annealing temperature(about 960 degrees F) and hold the kiln at that temperature for 10 minutes to anneal the glass.

Step 7
Allow the glass to cool to room temperature. Remove the glass from the kiln and wash off any kiln wash on the glass.

Add stringing material
Step 8
Cut a piece of stringing material to the length needed. Pull the stringing material through the hole in the glass and tighten.

Step 9
Add findings. We used some sterling silver end caps that we added to the end of the imitation leather stringing material using pliers. We secured the end caps with a drop of G-S Hypo Cement.
We added a hook style clasp made from 18-gauge sterling silver half hard round wire.

Related Tutorials
How to Melt Wine Bottles into a Bead
How to Melt Wine Bottles into a Cheese Tray
How to Melt Wine Bottles into Jewelry
How to Melt Wine Bottles for Lampwork
Make Your Own Hook & Eye Clasp
Make Your Own "S" Clasp
How to Make a Simple "S" Clasp (with or without Beads)  

Further Reading
"Glass Kiln Casting with Colour de Verre - 10 Projects for Frit Cast Jewelry, Plates & Bowls"; Jayne Persico; 2007.


  1. Hi, This is great! I'm hoping you can please answer - what kind of bowl specifically did you use?
    Thank you so much!!