Bedazzle a Bottle of Alcohol
While many brands of alcohol have their own cachet when it comes to labels and overall look, sometimes you might prefer either hiding the brand origins or simply improving on the bottle's current style. In either case, you're in luck––a lot of fun can be had turning an ordinary bottle of alcohol into a festival of bling. Such a bottle will turn your guest's heads for a second look and a whole row of bedazzled bottles can really brighten a home or party bar in a glamorous way. It's fairly straightforward to bedazzle the bottle but you'll find the results are simply fantastic.
- Select the bottle or bottles you'd like to bedazzle. Take into account the shape of the bottle and the color of the glass. In many cases the bottle itself has been molded to include a brand name––in this case, either work with the brand name if it's top end alcohol, or be prepared to hide it ingeniously if it's something you're trying to cover up! If you're going to make a whole row of bedazzled bottles for a party bar, choose bottles that will match nicely together. They don't have to be uniform but they should have visual interest.
- Bear in mind that some bottles might be harder to work with than others. For example, bottles using frosted glass or weird edgy design features might make it harder to attach bedazzling items.
- Remove the labels from the bottle. You'll want a blank canvas to work with, so all labels, front and back, and anywhere else, will need to be taken off. The method you'll use for removal will depend on the label type and how it has been attached, while in some cases where the label forms part of the glass bottle, you'll have to let it be. Soak the bottle in soapy water to help detach glued-on labels and use an item such as a paint scraper to scrape away the paper and glue remnants. For stubborn glue remnants and pieces of label, use an oil such as eucalyptus oil, or a commercial goo-remover to give the needed muscle to get the sticky stuff off.
- While removing the labels, be sure to clean the entire surface of each bottle so that the adornments you're adding will adhere properly. Finish by wiping over with a soft cloth dampened with vinegar.
- Check the bottle lids to ensure they're secure. Don't use anything with a loose lid or you could end up awash in vodka, rum or gin as you glue away!
- Be sure you either allow the bottle to air dry or use a clean towel to dry it off.
- Choose the materials. Since the design is heavily dependent on the materials used, consider what you'd like to use with the bottles first. You can always add more features after designing the bottle. Obviously, you're unlikely to be gluing in place real gems but faux jewels will look fantastic. On the whole, use objects that sparkle, can be glued into place with ease and that add vibrancy to the bottle. Some things that might work include:
- Sparkling costume or faux jewels––don't be afraid to pull apart old pieces of costume jewelry, much of which can be sourced from thrift stores or online sales.
- Sticky faux jewels, rhinestones and the like––usually available from craft shops, these will self-adhere to a clean bottle.
- Feathers––brightly colored feathers from a craft store can be fun additions to the bottle.
- Glitter––all colors of glitter will be appropriate for bedazzling the bottle. Check that liquid glitters will adhere properly to the glass before purchasing.
- Three dimensional letters––perhaps you want to include the name of a birthday guest, retiree, or some other special person; three dimensional lettering would look super on the bottle. In fact, if you want to label the bottles (“vodka, gin, rum” etc.), you may find fancy three dimensional letters make a nifty labeling system.
- Shells. Easily gathered from craft stores or the beach, shells and sparkly pieces of shell (such as paua/abalone shell) could really beautify a bottle.
- Beads. Although some beads might be a bit hard to attach, they might be worth the effort if they really help the design to pop. Anything larger than a seed bead is probably best, so that it's easy to see and easy to handle too.
- Charms. Any sort of charm will probably add bling to the bottle. Try to match the colors (gold, silver, etc.) with the other color themes you're using the bottle.
- Paint. Don't neglect the possibilities of paint, including shiny paint, glitter paint and glow-in-the-dark paint. The addition of some funky paint could be done as part of the design or as the entire design. Another approach is painting the entire bottle, then gluing the gems and other decorations onto the painted background. This can be quite an effective look.
- Bits and bobs from your craft basket––anything shiny, glittery, sparkly or brightly colored is a possibility for a bedazzled bottle, from sequins to ribbons. Just as long as it fits the theme you're looking for and can be glued or somehow well attached to the bottle, then you're all set.
- Match the adhesive to the materials chosen. If you aren't sure, ask for advice from the craft or hardware store where you're purchasing the glue from. In many cases, a hot glue gun or a craft glue will suffice but this may not always work, so check first.
- Work out the bedazzling design. How you want to bedazzle the bottle is an entirely personal creative exercise. It will also depend on the shape of the bottle, the theme of your party or event and what materials you've decided to use. Draw a basic design of the bottle on paper and play around with some of the materials to place them in different ways. There are many possible combinations but some of the things that might work for your bottles include:
- Rings of gems or faux jewels around the bottle. For example, you might have a series of rings cascading down the bottle and nothing else. Or, you could have three evenly spaced rings, with large feature pieces adhered in between each ring as a focal piece.
- A centerpiece in the mid-center of the bottle's front. This could be anything from a cameo with the birthday person's face in it to a bunch of flowers made purely from gems.
- A ribbon tied around the neck and glued down onto the front of the bottle, with small bows stuck randomly around the bottle and gleaming gems stuck into the center of each bow.
- Random distribution of faux jewels and shiny pieces, so that it looks as if it's dripping with sumptuous treasures.
- Party themed. Perhaps your party has a theme. In this case, try to target the design to the theme, such as a treasure hoard bottle for a pirate themed party or a diamond encrusted bottle for a whodunnit party featuring wealthy elites as characters. Whatever the theme, you'll be able to think of relevant bedazzling additions.
- Decide whether you'll bedazzle other objects, such as glasses and the table décor. If this is the case, avoid overwhelming the entire look by making the bottles appear too complicated or at odds with the other designs.
- Do a test bottle to see if you like the design you're thinking of. Use poster tack rather than glue to put all of the elements in place to see if they work. The beauty of doing this is that you can move around everything to your heart's content until it "clicks". Then take a digital photo and print off a copy or place it on a tablet that you can have next to you as the template while you work on the actual design.
- Pick up the bottle. Is it easy to handle with the chosen design or do you find it hard to grip the bottle? Remember that someone still has to handle the bottle safely, without slips.
- Bedazzle the bottle. Once you're happy with the design, start adhering the bejeweled pieces to the bottle following your design. Work on a covered workspace to prevent splashes and staining and use bowls and other small containers to hold all of the gems, glitter and charms so that they're not lost as you work through the creation. Have tweezers and rags at the ready to help with handling the gems, etc. and to clear away glue and paint spots. Some hints to help things run smoothly when creating the bottle:
- Sometimes it's easier to work with the bottle on its side rather than standing upright. If you do keep the bottle upright, work from top of the bottle to the bottom. That way, your hand won’t be constantly bumping or smudging previous work. Be sure you turn the bottle around so you reach all angles and areas before moving downward.
- If an item starts to slide off the bottle after adhering it, use toothpicks, bamboo skewers, etc. to act as props to keep the item in place until it dries. As it dries, you'll need to leave the bottle alone to prevent any other additional movement. Perhaps move onto the next bottle while you wait.
- If using paint, it's a good idea to attach all the painted items before anything else. That way you'll avoid painting more than the glass and if you don't like the paint effect in any part, you'll be able to quickly wipe it off without affecting other items on the bottle.
- Apply glitter by lightly brushing glue on the bottle in the desired design and then lightly sprinkling glitter on the bottle. Do this over a container, as the majority of the glitter will fall off the bottle and into the container. That way you can reuse the remaining glitter.
- Use only enough glue so the jewel or other item sticks to the bottle without having it drip down the sides. Using an excessive amount of glue can leave a sloppy looking bottle.
- Since you're likely to be working on the bottle while it still has alcohol inside, don't use any naked flames near your gluing work. Also, bear in mind that there will be added weight to the bottle as you work with it and that the sloshing liquid will sometimes cause movement that might impact your crafting.
- Be sure the bottle is dry and sturdy before using it. Check for any loose pieces and either glue them on again or remove completely.
- Place on display. If you're serving at a party, choose a spot where everyone can see it, such as in the middle of a tray and glasses or in the center of a table. If you made a whole row of bedazzled bottles, arrange them across a home or party bar in such a way that they're spotted as soon as someone stands at the bar or table. Perhaps shine a lamp or spotlights onto the bottles, to increase their wow factor.
- Take a clever approach to displaying the bottles using fun items around the house. For example slide a bottle of booze into one of your favorite (and maybe not rare or overly expensive) pairs of shoes. This might be cue for a girl’s night in party, a bridal shower or bachelorette party.
A bedazzled painted bottle
To help give you an idea of preparing one style of bedazzled bottle, here is a short tutorial for a painted bedazzled bottle.
- Purchase or find a suitable bottle of alcohol. Remove the labels as above and dry.
- Paint the entire bottle with glass paint, in a single color. It could be white, green, red, black––whatever color you think will enhance the decorations. Allow to dry and decide whether it needs another coat––it may do because painting on glass tends to appear uneven with the first coat. Allow all coats to dry before proceeding.
- This step can be skipped if you'd rather the glass underneath show through (especially where it's already a lovely color such as blue or yellow).
- Paint random spots about 1cm (1/2") in diameter around the bottle. A cotton bud is ideal for this purpose. Try to keep the spots even in size and location. Allow the dots to dry.
- In between the dots, glue faux gems at regular intervals, or wherever you like. Aim for a pattern of some regularity. Continue to fill in the design as you wish.
- Allow the entire bottle to cure for 72 hours before using. After this time, it should be fine to use the bottle at your party or event.
- Bedazzle your bottles at least 48 hours before an event in order to allow for proper drying time; 72 hours is preferable.
- Consider the impact of drips of sticky or strong alcohol onto the bedazzling elements. This might not be such an issue if your bottle is a one-off but if you plan to keep it, some items might be spoiled by alcohol stains or stickiness, such as fabric.
- For a party, consider bedazzling some miniature bottles for guests to take home for themselves.
- Partner the bejeweled bottles with matching cocktail glasses and add a few gems to your glassware. You can purchase inexpensive cocktail glasses at a glass and dish warehouse or thrift store.
- Avoid using anything near the opening of the bottle that might flake or fall into the liquid. Also be careful to ensure that nothing can fall off the bottle into drinks and be accidentally swallowed. Be vigilant when pouring!
- Use non-toxic items near the mouth of the bottle, or avoid using anything near it at all.
Things You'll Need
- Glass bottles of alcohol
- Soapy water for cleaning, possibly goo remover or eucalyptus oil to remove sticky residues
- Bedazzled items as listed above (your choice); if using paint, be sure to use paint suitable for glass surfaces
- Poster tack for test bottle
- Glue and other adhering items such as double-sided tape
- Clean rags
- Workspace cover
- Lamps or spotlights for display (optional)
- Other items to match the bedazzled bottle(s) (optional)