old timer

Friday, August 1, 2014

How To Make A NW Chili (Blue Bottles) Chandelier Part 1

Hi guys!

So ,,, I was asked to make someone something I didn't want to make.  Been there, done that and once was enough.  Why?  I don't know.  There are things I make where once is enough for me.  This is one of them.

So ,,, I figured this might be a good time for a "quick" tutorial.  HA!  Quick.  This takes a lot of time and blue bottles.  OR whatever color bottles you would like and can get.  You could use glass flower vases, long skinny glasses or anything glass with some flare, color and or texture to it. 

Please realize,,, this is only to give you an idea.  It's not some thing you have to make exactly like this.  This started due to a small string of chili peppers, maybe 5 inches long, I made years ago from glass rods.  I saw them back in May, next thing I knew I was making a bigger string of them ...  just a little differently. 

From these ...

to these.

I saw that small string of red glass chili's and I thought of the blue bottles in the yard.  Why not???  So... here we go!  

35 to 40 blue bottles
3 to 10 feet of heavy duty chain
Wire - brass or steel
Metal washers or nuts - small enough to go inside your glass
License plates or other metal for leaves
Metal bowl or lamp cover to cover the top of your chili's  

Glass drill bit
Needle nose pliers
Wire cutters
Lineman pliers (or some thing on this idea)     

FIRST:  Round up at least 35 bottles or pieces of glass.  I started with 37 and after breakage... I had 33. 

dirty bottles ready to use

put your bottles in water to soak for 30 to 45 minutes

make sure you "drown" the bottles

no bottle butts up in the air

fill them FULL of water, we want them
completely submerged and covered

while you wait, it's a good time to clean them out

get that bottle brush all the way in there
and clean this puppy out!

now it's time to pull off the labels
and wash these with soap

So... how do you get those stinkin' labels off???  EEK!  Everyone has their way.... mine,,, well...I turn on the hot water in the sink.  I pull the label up by the corner a little bit.  Set that spot under the running hot water.  Pull slowly and evenly.  Most labels will come off in one sweet pull!!!  NOT always though.  The idea is you soaked the labels for a while.  It got them a little softer than they want to be.  NOW, you've put them under hot water and the glue is softer.  It's soft enough to pull up with a little pressure.  Go SLOW!!!  Don't rush this and it will go much quicker.
If you leave these in water too long... the labels will split.  There is a top layer of very fine "hard" plastic and a layer of glued down plastic.  How do I know???  Remember that big tub full of bottles you saw earlier???  YEP!  I put the bottles in on Friday, then Sunday night I went out to work on them.  I couldn't believe what a GIANT mistake that was. 
Let's just say:  There are 3 labels on each bottle.  When you do 33 bottles that's about 100 labels.  When most split in half,,, that's almost 200 labels and they don't play well with others.  What a mess!!!
Once the labels are off,,, WASH!
Time to drill holes in your glass.
when I drill holes in bottles I use a 5 gallon bucket

and a dremel

with a glass bit ... sorry!  this one is OLD!

DO NOT MIX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now that I've said that ... I'll show you how I do this.

When ever I drill holes in glass I use a special drill bit I get at my local stained glass shop.  First, they cost a small fortune!!!  $25 ... so follow this please! 

These bits are metal bits covered in diamond dust.  The dust is held there with a high temperature glue.  If you get the drill bit too hot, the dust comes off.  Your bit is now BAD.  Water keeps your bit cool.  Water keeps your bit in good shape!!!

I use a bucket of water so I can dunk the bottle in the water, pull it up and drill, dunk, drill ... over and over.

the bottom of the bottle gives you a well to hold the water

Start your drill at a slight angle.  This keeps your bit from skipping around on the glass.  It needs a place to BITE into the glass.  Stand the bit up and with light pressure ... drill!  Remember to "water" your drill spot.

now ,,, get to work!  see you in a couple days.  I want to see that pile of bottles with holes in them!




  1. woo eee, a lot of work Lady!

    that's why I just stick my bottles on pegs :)

    Happy weekend.

    1. LOL! Too funny! That's why 1 was enough for me! You have a good weekend too! Shell