Upcycling with Cork, Wine Glass Charm (tutorial)

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gd mizar's wine glass charms from corksQuercus Suber – The Cork Oak

People who know me … know my family …  also know we LOVE our red wines. Shiraz, Cabernet, Barolo, Amarone … I could go on and on! Which in effect means, I can go on and on about how many corks we have. Dad had bags full and I confess, I do too. I find something very intriguing about corks … mystical and in some ways and very sexy.  If that’s weird, well then I guess I’m weird.

Cork is an amazing natural resource. The bulk of the world’s entire cork supply comes from ages-old cork forests in Portugal using a process developed thousands … yes that’s THOUSANDS … of years ago. The video linked is clearly produced by a manufacturer of cork products but goes a long way to explain the history, the economic impact and the sustainability of harvesting cork.  cork tree cork tree

The most remarkable and to me fascinating aspect of harvesting cork – which for some reason is not well explained – it that Cork Oaks reproduce their bark which after just nine years can be harvested again.  it’s the ONLY tree which survives without its bark.  Amazing!

Make sure to listen to The Green Divas interview with Patrick Spencer who’s mission in life – along with raising 2-beautiful boys along with his lovely wife – is to preserve the cork industry being impacted by plastic and screw on closures. Maintaining the cork forests is vital for farmers and  for the environment.

Listen to the whole Green Divas Radio Show podcast and hear the interview with Patrick Spencer on cork forest conservation

Listen to the 5-minute segment on Green Diva Mizar’s DIY Wine Glass Charms Made from Corks


Upcycling with Cork: Wine Glass Charms 

Getting back to how much we love our wine … if the number of corks I have is any indication, well you be the judge. So as the self-proclaimed RE-purposing Diva, I get to work.

When I serve wine, every glass gets a unique wine charm. I have made dozens so when my daughter approached me to make wine charms for her boyfriend’s sister’s wedding shower, I was in.

GD Mizar's easy DIY upcycled wine glass tags

 Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Corks
  • Sharpies
  • Colorful Wire – you can use any type, even old phone wire
  • Baubles, old charms, trinkets, what-have-you. See my previous post – The Key to Re-Purposing
  • Seed beads – optional
  • Sand Paper – 100 grit will do
  • Pliers
  • Awl, ice-pick  or whatever you may have to poke a hole in the cork disks
  • Hammer – optional
  • Clear spray on laquer or old clear nail polish – optional

corks wire

Here’s what you’ll do:

1. Using a very sharp knife (I use a serrated bread knife) and a cutting board, begin slicing one end of the cork

cutTop disks - Surface Sanded Bottom Disks - Rough Surface









The cork disks will be rough on their surface, as you see in the photo on the right.

2. Sand both sides by simply running the disk over the sand paper a couple of times.  It doesn’t take much.  Poke a small hole at the edge of each disk.

Poke Disks

3. Now comes the tricker part  …  Grab your Sharpies and begin! It’s tricker because you’ve got to have a little patience because the markers don’t always cooperate. In this case, because we made these for a wedding shower, we chose inspirational words; Faith, Love, Live, Laugh for one side of the disk. On the reverse side we put the first initial of the bride and groom along with the date of the shower.

cork tags with words cork tags with initials

4. Set these aside and start fashioning your wire charms. Again, we made hearts for the occasion You can do whatever strikes your fancy; loop-dee-loops, swirls, dangles, the list goes on.color wirecolor wire bent into heartsHearts

5. Then we gently tapped the wire with a hammer to flatten it a bit. This step is optional.

6. With the wire, fashion loops large enough to go around the stem of a wine glass. Put a small loop at one end and bend the opposite end 90-degrees. This is how you will hang the charm to the glass once you’ve put all together.

loop 1

Loop 1

7. I sprayed the disks with clear acrylic to seal them.  cork tags

8. Once dried, I put a piece of wire through the hole and created a loop. Start placing a cork disk, a wire charm and whatever doo-dad you like onto the loop. I add a few seed beads to the large wire loop just because I happen to have a lot of them. Again, this step is optional.

creative DIY cork tags for wine glasses

All you have to do now is invite a few friends over, pop the cork from your favorite wine bottle and enjoy!

Cork is AMAZING!

If you watched the video, you’ll realize just how fascinating the Cork Oak forests are and how essential they are for the ecology and the farmers of Portugal.

Recycling corks seems silly, after all they’re small and bio-degradable, why not just throw them away or into your compost pile.  But cork is a natural resource which can be re-used. Robin Shreeves with the Mother Nature Network has a few ideas which will also link you to several options for cork recycling.

If you don’trecycle your old corks, repurpose them. There are so many useful things which can becrafted from you corks.

Here are just a few of my favorites:

The folks at WiseBread have come up with 25 things you can do with corks, some of which can even make you some extra cash.  The site also provides links to additional recycling options.

Mulled Spice bag and a cork

Mulled Spice bag and a cork

I am so connected to cork. Really, for some reason, I feel something almost spiritual to corks … like maybe I was a Portuguese cork farmer in a past life. There’s just something about them, the way they look, how they feel and smell.

Quercus suber  is Latin for Cork Oak. I’m hoping these images and SO MANY others found when you Google images for re-purposing cork will inspire you to craft something beautiful using corks instead of simply tossing them away. The possibilities are endless!

images-1 imgres-4 images-4 imgres-6 imgres-5 images images-2042312-cork2

images-6 images-5 imgres-7

Listen to the whole Green Divas Radio Show podcast and hear the interview with Patrick Spencer on cork forest conservation

Listen to the 5-minute segment on Green Diva Mizar’s DIY Wine Glass Charms Made from Corks

About the author / 

Green Diva Mizar

Green Diva Mizar is a former co-host of the GD show. GD Mizar is also dedicated to providing safe, clean water to all through her company Pur2o Water Filtration & Purification.

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