Let's begin with a big disclaimer - this is not something that anyone under the age of eighteen should attempt without supervision! And for everyone else interested in turning their glass bottles into reusable glasses/beakers, I'd still highly recommend doing some research before jumping in at the deep end. I undertook this process with my friend Sheahan who did all of the dangerous bits wearing gloves and protective goggles, and we'd both watched quite few YouTube videos (link here, and here) so that we felt comfortable with the process and knew how to do it safely.
Basically, what this entire thing relies on is the combination of pressure (from tightly wrapped string) and a rapid change in temperature (from the fire caused by the string and the cold water) to evenly crack your glass bottle. Although it might take a little bit of practice to perfect your technique, I'd say that the overall process is very easy.
lots of string
a large container full of cold water
protective equipment (gloves & goggles)
You wrap string around your glass bottle at roughly the point that you'd like the bottle to break. We wrapped the string around the bottle approximately five times as we found that this much string was needed to break the bottle on the first attempt. You then unravel the string from the bottle and soak it in lighter fluid for a couple of minutes. Once this is done, you put the string back on the bottle and tie it as tight as you can, cutting off any excess. When this is complete you move to stand over the container full of cold water. You hold the bottle at each end and light the string with your lighter. The string will catch fire and begin to burn, as it burns you slowly turn the bottle. Below, you can see some of the photos I took during this process.
Wait until the string stops burning and then drop the bottle into the cold water. On impact with the water the bottle should snap into two pieces. Once the bottle has broken you can take the part of the bottle that you want to keep and start using your sandpaper to smooth the sharp edges of glass. You have to smooth the inside of the glass as well as the outside until it is completely smooth to the touch. Once you've finished sanding down the edges you should be left with a completely functional beaker that you can use for all sorts of purposes - including drinking glasses (which is what I wanted to use mine as).
I undertook this process so that my Galvanina drinking glasses could form my entry into a competition that Galvanina had running over on twitter and instagram. I hadn't planned to blog about it but I was really quite happy with how my glasses turned out, and I think that I'd definitely repeat the process if I ever got my hands on other beautiful glass bottles that I wanted to recycle. These beakers can be used in so many different and functional ways. I've recently transitioned them into being used to store my cotton pads and make-up brushes, but they'd also be a great place to safely house tea-lights around your home or garden.
Have you ever used this technique to reuse glass bottles?
If not, would you ever consider giving it a try?