7.29.2011

bottle cutting and etching

i have for a long time been interested in bottle cutting but knew of the low success rate with it and also didn't quite know what i would do with the cut glasses. i decided to finally give it a go when i saw someone else's write-up on their trials and tribulations with bottle cutting. i chose the ephrem's original bottle cutter kit - i believe i got mine on ebay but they are available currently from art supply shops. what you get is basically a trough that you lay your bottle sideways on with rollers and a score line blade. so you set up the cutter to line up where you want to make your score line on the bottle, slowly rotate your bottle using even pressure until you have made it once around (you'll hear a little crunch when you've made it all the way around. and don't try going around again, it makes it worse). after you make your score line it's really a matter of alternating cold and hot on the line until the bottle cracks. i tried lots of different ways of doing that including a mini torch and ice-cubes, a candle and bucket of ice water and so forth and so on. what finally worked for me was using boiling water and running faucet cold water alternatively and slowly. i also tried lots of different bottles: beer, wine and champagne. the beer bottles were too thin of glass and would give me chips every time. the clear wine bottles worked great and almost perfect every time, but getting the labels off were a huge process all by itself (a combination of heat gun, soaking in water and finally goo gone) - you have to take off labels before making your score line. the champagne bottles would have been awesome since the glass is so thick and i think i'm still going to keep trying those because i want to make it work so badly, but so far my crack always shoots off the score line. and champagne bottles take a long time of alternating that hot and cold before you get it to crack. the bottle that worked best for me, and almost every time, was a lambic bottle. so i cut one clear wine bottle into a milk glass and etched a mustache on that, i cut one green drink glass from a lambic bottle, and several nut and dip bowls from the lambic bottles. i used some wet sand paper and some pumice powder on a piece of glass to sand the tops of the cut glasses to make sure to get rid of any chips or rough edges so you don't cut yourself later. next was etching. i've never etched glass before but it was surprisingly easy and i'll definitely be experimenting more with that. i got some scrapbooking letter stickers, etching cream and i had some painters tape already. so i put on my stickers, taped off the boundries and painted on my etching cream. after about 15-20 minutes you just rinse off the cream, take off your stickers and tape and voila your glass is etched. next, i'd like to try some beer bottles that have the label etched/painted on already, but i'm stalling since i've had zero success with beer bottles so far.
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