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Saturday, December 5, 2015


If you are stumped for a holiday or special occasion gift, how about an altered wine cork or bookmark.  The corks are great for decorating wine and champagne bottles, as an ornament on a tree, or as part of your home décor.  They also make great hostess gifts.  Another idea is to take a cork left over from a special occasion and alter it as a memento of the occasion.  As décor, they look lovely hanging from a lamp or a key in a clock or cabinet.  If nothing else, it gives you an excuse to drink a bottle of wine!

To give you many ideas, I’ve created 5 altered wine corks covering holidays and seasons.  In addition to the altered corks, I also customized 2 blank bronze bookmarks. These bookmarks are really a fast way to create a personalized gift.

For these projects, there is a new collage sheet, “Clock Faces”.  I thought this theme was apropos as the season is partially about the passing of time and the beginning of a new year.

This sheet is loaded with 30 unique clock faces in 4 different sizes.  Click on the picture below to purchase.  Click on the image below to purchase this collage sheet.
The key to altering a cork is to insert something like an eye pin, memo pin, or eye screw into the cork to accommodate adding beads, chains, and embellishments.  I used either eye pins or a memo pin for the samples below.  What you use depends on how much stuff you want to hang from the pin.  If you want to dangle a lot of stuff from the pin or use bulking things like ribbons to hang items, you might want to use something large like a memo pin or an eye screw. 

In all cases, I added E6000 to the pins before inserting them in the corks so that they would be more secure.  I also pre-poked a hole with an awl before inserting and gluing them in place.

Another item I added to all of the corks was something to the top and bottom of the cork before inserting the pins.  In most cases, it was a piece of filigree.  If you use filigree that extends over the edge of the cork and the filigree has holes, it will give you a place to hang more items or a way to use multiple chains or ribbons.

For the corks below, I designed 2 of them to hang from the neck of bottles and 3 to hang from an ornament hook.

What a fun gift this altered cork would be for the hostess of a New Year’s Eve party or maybe hang on to a cork from a party you attended and make one to commemorate the evening.
I loved the idea of the sassy art deco lady sitting in the cute mini champagne glass filled with clear beads (which I thought looked like bubbles).  
For this altered cork, I started by adding round filigree to the top and bottom of the cork (attached with E6000).  It just so happens that this filigree perfectly fits standard wine bottle corks.
Next, I inserted (and glued) two eye pins into the sides of the cork.  I used eye pins on the sides so that I could loop the beaded chain (to fit over the neck of the bottle) and so that the chain would not interfere with the champagne glass.  
Below is a clock from the new sheet attached to the cork (needing a clock for this is what got me started on the new sheet).
The champagne glass is glued on top of the filigree using E6000 glue.  Below you can see the bottom of the cork.  Notice how the filigree fits perfectly over the cork.  For the bottom, I needed 3 eye pins to accommodate the weights and clock pendulum.  The filigree has lots of holes, so no worries about having places to poke through the eye pins.
The clock weights are made from a plastic straw.  I painted the pieces of straw with Victorian Gold Patina Paint (because it sticks to plastic) and then glued bead caps on each end.  Next, I inserted a headpin through the bead caps and straws, created a loop on one end, and attached a chain.
For the pendulum, I started with a piece of filigree and brushed on some Inca Gold Gilders Paste for dimension.  Next, I added the 2016 image to the center and glued it on the glass cabochon.  As a final touch, I added blue rhinestones.
In the picture below, you can see the finished clock weights and pendulum.
Feel free to download and use the 2016 image for your art.
Just like the New Year’s Eve-themed cork, I think the Christmas-themed cork looks lovely on a wine bottle.  It would also make a beautiful tree ornament.
For this altered cork, I’ve added a large piece of filigree to the top of the cork.  This allowed me to hang several Christmas and seasonal charms from the filigree using clear, red, and silver beads.  At the top of the cork, I inserted one eye pin, which allowed me to attach silver, clear and red beads.  At the top, I added a beaded chain that fits around the neck of the bottle.  The final touch to the top was ribbon.
Below is a better view of the charms dangling from the filigree.
On the bottom of the cork, I used one eye pin to attach the beads and a large reindeer charm.
I used six different charms attached to every other hole in the filigree.

Below is a Valentines' themed cork.  For this cork, I’ve used a gold swirl ornament hook to hang the cork.
I inserted one eye pin in the top of the cork and added red beads, a gold puffy bead, bead caps, and a small section of rosary beads.  At the center of the cork, I tied a ribbon.
At the bottom, I again used one eye pin, a red bead, bead caps, a beautiful glass heart bead, a rosary chain, and a brass finding.

This altered cork was inspired by the cute fluffy owl on the top of the cork.  I just looooove owls; they peg my cute meter.
Underneath the owl is a combination of fall leaves and tiny pine cones.
The altered cork is hung from an ornament hook that is attached to a small bead, a larger bead with bead caps, and then a beaded chain.
On the top of the cork, I started by attaching (with E6000) a large piece of filigree.  Note the two holes on the side of the filigree, as those are the holes I used to attach the chain. 
Next, I attached the fall leaves.  Then I glued on the owl, pine cones, and some acrylic leaves.
Below you can see the view of the underside and notice how I have made sure the holes in the filigree are not covered so that I will be able to attach the beaded chain.
Below is a view of the finished top of the cork.
I decided to use a memo pin for the bottom of the cork.  I inserted the memo pin through a nail head (which already has a hole). 
At the end of each beaded chain, I added a charm.
The final touch was I ribbon I tied to the memo pin.

The winter-themed altered clock is all about silver, clear, blue, and snowflakes.
In the middle of the chain of beads, notice how I attached a snowflake charm.  I also wrapped an acrylic wired spray around the cork.
On the top and bottom of the cork, I attached a silver snowflake which has a hole in the middle to accommodate inserting eye pins.
At the bottom, I used a silver filigree which gave me more places to hang snowflake charms.

For the clock bookmark, I started with a bronze bookmark which is made to be customized.
Using my finger, I lightly brushed the bookmark with Inca Gold Gilders Paste to bring out the details.  I then glued one of the clocks from the collage sheets in the round area and covered it with Glossy Accents creating a domed glassy appearance.
To further jazz up the bookmark, I added a piece of filigree and then rhinestones to both the filigree on the round section of the bookmark and the filigree glued to the back.  The final touch was tying a red ribbon around the neck of the bookmark.

For the Victorian-themed bookmark, I again started with a bronze bookmark made to be customized.  This one has an oval shape.
After adding an image from the Victorian Ladies collage sheet (you saw me use this in the Toy Shoppe) project, I glued it on a glass cabochon.  As with the clock bookmark, I glued a filigree to the back.  I added rhinestones to both the bookmark and the additional filigree and painted the filigree with Garnet Liquid Pearls.


claude said...

what beauutiful ideas ans results
the owl is cute

Matxalen said...

They are wonderful. Thanks for these precious ideas

Karen Mallory said...

I love the altered corks. So unique. Would make a great gift for my Mother in Law. She has a wine bar in her house!

Renee said...

This is such a clever idea and the results are amazing! I can't wait to try this, guess I'll have to drink a bottle of wine.....thanks. Any sacrifice I need make for the sake of art. :-)

Unknown said...

I love the altered corks! So clever and the results are stunning!

Marfi-topia said...

!! wow!!
these are all gorgeous works of art!!!
just stunning!

Chark said...

I super love these! Want!