It seems it’s always a good time for wine, especially when you can turn the remnants of your evening enjoyment into handcrafted art. Wine-inspired furnishings and decor are great ways to keep your creative cup half full, even after the grapes are long gone.
Brad Evans is owner-artist of Alpine Wine Design out of Lakewood. Evans is in Vail every Sunday this summer at the Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show, showcasing his wine furniture and home decor.
“All the pieces always have a lot of character and a lot of meaning, depending on what people enjoy as far as their wine tastes,” Evans said.
Evans’ background in woodworking eventually led to this specialized work with wine barrels and boxes. He makes chairs, tables, wine butlers, cork trivets, candle holders and more. Many of his winery-specific pieces evoke sentimentality from those who have special memories of a certain wine or winery visit.
“The product itself is repurposed or recycled, and we are able to take that and make something useful and beautiful out of if,” he said. “That is what I enjoy about the process.”
Not everyone could turn a barrel of their favorite wine into a beautiful and useful piece of furniture, but Evans is an expert. Some wine-inspired arts and crafts are not so complicated, however, and Evans said a wine cork board or trivet is something that people with a drawer full of corks can try to make at home.
Wine cork board or hot plate trivet, courtesy Brad Evans
Wine corks (lots).
Wooden picture frame of desired shape and size.
Hot glue gun or wood glue.
Small pair of pliers.
Prepare the picture frame by removing glass and layers, leaving just the backing board.
Secure the perimeter of the board into place by gluing it to the backside of the frame.
Use corks play with creating a repetitive or random pattern before you start gluing them down.
Start gluing the corks down away from the edges of the frame. You can cut the corks in half if you don’t have as many.
Once you can no longer fit whole corks on the edges, fill the board in but cutting the corks to fit.
Remove hot glue gun strands with small pliers (if applicable).
Add a couple coats of clear gloss to bring out the color and texture of the corks.
Allow board to dry completely before use.
Do-it-yourself from crafty inspiration
Local craftsman Jarod Wetherell said that when designing with wine in mind, it’s helpful to see what has been done and to put your own spin on it.
“You can take someone’s idea and make it your own,” he said. “Maybe you don’t even have the same materials, but you can be creative in your own way and make something new.”
Collaborative online websites like Pinterest allow artists and aspiring admirers to share ideas and try new projects.
There are plenty of wine bottle, box, barrel and cork craft blueprints online for inspiration, including using cut bottles for light fixtures, candle holders, suspended planters or glassware, full bottles (upside-down) for a garden border, or creating fun patterns and designs with the varying red shades of the colored side of corks.
Wetherell’s most recent project is a wine bottle tiki torch on a steel stand surrounded by stones.
“Be creative and use what you have available,” Wetherell said. “And definitely always think outside the box.”
Wine bottle tiki torch, courtesy Jarod Wetherell
Empty wine bottle.
Plumbers tape (Teflon sealing tape), half an inch wide.
Half-inch to 3/8-inch copper pipe coupler.
Tiki replacement wick.
Tiki torch fluid.
Rebar (steel rod — however tall you want your tiki torch).
Two pipe hanger clamps.
Short threaded rod.
Make a stand for your tiki torch by mounting a rebar into a sturdy stone, and the sliding hole-drilled stones down the rebar.
Instructions for stand:
1. Use a hammer drill to drill a hole into a sturdy stone base. Secure the rebar into the stone with an epoxy adhesive.
2. Drill holes into stones to slide down rebar to cover the exposed steel of you tiki torch stand. Leave a small area of the bar exposed on top to leave room to connect the wine bottle torch.
The wine bottle is the container for the tiki torch, which is connected by a threaded rod between two clamps to the stone-covered rod stand, or, alternatively, mounted to a wall.
Instructions for wine bottle tiki torch:
1. Wrap sealing tape around the narrow end of the copper pipe fitting so that it fits into the mouth of the wine bottle. The attachment should be snug, but still removable for refilling the oil.
2. Remove the tape covered pipe fitting from the bottle top. Push the tiki wick through the fitting and pull the wick far enough through so that it will extend to the bottom of the bottle. Trim the wick so that half an inch extends out the top of the fitting, which will be what is exposed from the bottle and holds the flame.
3. Fill the wine bottle about half full with tiki torch fluid.
4. Insert the wick and pipe fitting into the wine bottle. Allow about a hour to let the oil soak into the wick. Light the torch.
To connect the wine bottle tiki torch to the stand, attach a pipe hanger clamp to each side of a short threaded rod. On one side, clamp the wine bottle neck; on the other side, clamp the tiki stand rod between two stones or wherever desired.