Recycled Glass Cheese Boards – Part 3

This is the last post in the Recycled Wine Bottle Cheese Board series. In Part 1 I wrote about preparing bottles for the kiln. In Part 2 I wrote about the firing schedule I use. In this post, I will share some of the other things I’ve learned along the way.

Recycled Wine Bottle - Too Many Bubbles
Recycled Amber Wine Bottle - Too Many Bubbles!

First, let’s talk about bubbles. While some bubbles are inevitable, I do strive to minimize them. I am still tweaking and testing my schedule to see if I can further reduce the amount of bubbles. Part of the challenge in this is that wine bottles are not all the same. Some are heavier than others, some are thicker than others. I have found that the light amber bottles are usually lighter in weight than the green bottles. These amber bottles end up with more bubbles than the heavier green ones. Up until now, I have mixed different types of bottles in the same firing. In the future I will do the amber bottles in a separate firing and try a slower ramp time, and/or longer hold time in segment two.

Recycled Wine Bottles - Devitrification
Recycled Wine Bottles with Devitrification

Some bottles will get cloudy (devitrification) no matter how well I clean them. I find this happens more often with the dark amber wine bottles.

I have the most consistent results with green cabernet bottles. These bottles have their own characteristic look. Cabernet bottles always get a bubble right below the neck. I am not a scientist, but I do have a hypothesis on why this happens. The broad shoulders of a cabernet bottle traps the air as it heats up and tries to move out of the neck. A bottle with tapered sides makes it easier for the hot air to flow out. To test this theory, I drilled a tiny hole in the shoulder of a bottle and then fired it. There was still a bubble, but it was significantly smaller. Drilling holes in the bottle to prevent this bubble is definitely not practical. Besides the bubble makes an excellent place to rest a knife on!

I love the way the botanical have remained visible after flattening.

I’m trying out all sorts of bottles. Champagne bottles are thicker than wine bottles, and the extra weight of the glass seems to help squeeze out any air bubbles. The Champagne bottles come out great. Tequila bottles with all of their heavy embossing come out interesting. I’ve also flattened a Bombay Sapphire Gin bottle. The color is great, and it retains the botanical imprints after it is fired. I even tried a blue three-sided bottle. That one left a very long bubble in the middle. Not useful, but it was interesting to see how the air got trapped.

Please leave a comment and let me know how your wine bottles are turning out, and share any tips or tricks you might have.

Recycled Glass Cheese Boards – Part 1

Recycled Glass Cheese Boards – Part 2

27 thoughts on “Recycled Glass Cheese Boards – Part 3

  1. Carol Harris says:

    I saw a couple of the wine bottles in a glass shop and can’t wait to try it. My daughter is trying glass fusing and I have done ceramic firing. So, my question is, with a regular ceramic do I use a cone? And can I stack shelves in the kiln?

    • Margot says:

      Carol – I don’t know much about ceramic kilns. I do know that you can use them to fuse glass, but I have heard it is best not to stack shelves. But once you’ve figured out a schedule, I’d go ahead and try it. It’s the only way to know for sure. Also I don’t know much about how cones work. I did come across this website while I was researching how to slump wine bottles. Maybe it will help. The one thing I don’t like about the schedule they use is it doesn’t have much of a hold time at the anneal temp. Be patient. You will have to do a lot of experimenting. I am still tweaking my schedule here and there. Be sure to come back and let me know how it goes.

        • Margot says:

          Shari – Sorry it took so long to get back to you. Somehow I missed this. I have never worked with keeping the labels. I know that stores that sell wine have something that removes the labels so you can put them in a book. You might investigate that to see if it will do what you want. If you can get the label off in one piece you might be able to use a decoupage glue to apply it to the bottle or some other sealer. Don’t know if that would be food safe though. Sorry I can’t be more help.

    • Margot says:

      I haven’t tried that, but I have used Bombay Saphire gin bottles so don’t see why you couldn’t use a whiskey bottle. Give it a try! Let me know how it worked out.

    • Margot says:

      Sorry, I have never done that. I like to be able to put my cheese board in the dishwasher. My guess is that a decoupage medium (like mod podge) is used to put the label on the back.

  2. Alycia Elliott says:

    I’ve just started slumping wine bottles. My larger, thicker green bottles flattn nicely, but the clear ones the bottom seems to melt inward so the bottle at all. I have used molds and the same thing happens where you have a nice bowl-shaped but the bottom of the bottle is all folded in on itself. Any advice to help with this problem?

    • Margot says:

      Alycia, The way the bottom ends up depends on the shape of the bottle. The ones with the deep indent end up with what is often referred to as monkey lips. The flat bottoms usually just fold over. There isn’t anything you can do that I know of.

  3. Christine says:

    Can anyone give advice on the best way to re-attach / glue the label to the bottle after it’s been slumped? I want to be sure it doesn’t come off. How can the label be sealed to protect it during washing? Thanks for any / all suggestions.

  4. Linda says:

    I like your article on slumping wine bottles. I’m starting to do this, and learning by my mistakes. I’ve found a good ramping schedule to completely flatten bottles and it works. Found out that you should only use one layer in my kiln.
    What I want is to find a slumping schedule that will leave embossed printing on jars intact while still slumping the bottles. I bought some commemorative, really pretty green Ball canning jars and want to slump and them mold them into a slight bowl, but I want the embossing (writing) on the bottle to not slump flat. Do you have any ideas?

    • Margot says:

      Linda – That will be tricky. You have to use enough heat to shape the bottle but not too much heat to flatten out the embossing. It may not be possible, but I would experiment with slumping the jar directly on the mold. I’d go with the lowest slump temperature you can and just peek in and see how it is doing. Search Google for the blog Glass with a Past. She does a lot of work with recycled glass and may have some more tips. If you figure it out come back and let us know what worked.

  5. Linda says:

    Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I appreciate your willingness to help people who are so new to this.
    I tried your ramping schedule as listed in your Recycled Glass Cheese Boards – Part 3 just for the fun of it. I used a commemorative Ball green quart jar, and it came out beautifully. You can see the measurement marks as well as the embossed “Ball” on the front. I slumped it flat, and will next see if I can shape it in a bowl slump mold and see if the embossing stays on.
    I’m afraid that I don’t know enough about slumping to even guess what the lowest slumping temperature is. I’ll check out the blog.

    • Margot says:

      That’s great news! I love when it works on the first try. I slump anywhere from 1210 degrees F to 1230 degrees F. Sometimes a little higher for recycled glass.

  6. Jill P says:

    Absolute Vodka bottles and Grey Goose bottles come out awesome some beers with the
    Label painted or eched in work great at your firing schedule.

  7. Susan M says:

    When I started cleaning the Bombay bottle, after I removed the, I found that the glass is not blue but has a blue paint or film on it. I see you slumped one. Did you use a mold, or just flatten on the shelf? No worries about the blue substance?

    • Margot says:

      Are you using the Sapphire Gin bottles? The ones I have used are blue glass. Not a paint. I wonder if they have new bottles that are now painted. I did not use a mold. I just slumped flat on a kiln shelf.

      • Susan M says:

        Yes, and I always thought it was blue glass. I soaked it to get the label off, and when I was scrubbing, blue came off. My bottle is old. Is yours new?

  8. Susan M says:

    Actually, my new bottle seems to be blue glass. Maybe the old one was different. I don’t drink a lot of gin, so who knows how old it was. I can’t seem to paste a picture in here to show you.

  9. June Weaver says:

    Hi Margot,
    Just a question – We have been given a slumped bottle cheese tray.
    Would it be dishwasher safe?

    • Margot says:

      I put mine in the dishwasher all the time. But like any other glass that goes in the dishwasher, it can eventually get that dull etched look. I say put it in the dishwasher. If you wash it that often that it gets dull, you can get always get another one.:)

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