For the last five years we’ve hosted Thanksgiving for our families (including when we lived in a one-bedroom apartment), and one year I decided to use wine corks to make little name placards so I started collecting them in preparation. I only needed a handful for the crew we had that year:
But somehow I got in the habit of saving corks as a result, and over time I found myself with dozens of them. Many dozens. It became a running joke with my friends that if there was a wine cork at a party or get-together, I would take it and put it in my purse. Actually there’s a cork in my purse right now. I have entire vases filled with corks that I don’t currently have a use for. But I just can’t stop myself (from drinking so much wine).
One day I’ll want to do something big and grande with them, and then I’ll be sad if I don’t have enough because I threw some away. Like maybe I’ll tile my whole house with them — cork floors are all the rage these days.
In the meantime, I’ve taken on some smaller projects with them, including an easy art project for above the built-in shelves in our former apartment that I’d previously turned into a little bar area:
It’s so meta, because it’s artwork for a bar made out of drinking-related materials. Woah, I know. If you’re interested in replicating this masterful project, here’s what I did:
I started with a backless, glassless frame from Michael’s (using a 50% off coupon), and then built a foundation for the corks using strips of posterboard. The idea was for the posterboard to sit right inside the frame and give me something to glue the corks onto so that they wouldn’t be glued directly on top of the artwork. Here’s a shot of the posterboard foundation I made:
Then I went to work laying out the corks in a pattern that seemed to work. After getting them all laid out, I then worked through them one by one, gluing them down using wood glue (which dried slowly enough to let me shift them around as needed).
For the artwork, I found a bar-themed print I liked on Etsy (from TheWordShop) (affiliate link – read about our policies) and ordered it in the color “Duck Egg” since I thought a bluey-green would look nice in the space. I cut a piece of foam core so that it would just overlap with the back of the frame (so I could glue the posterboard to the frame around the edges), and used double-sided tape to secure the print to the posterboard. Then I used hot glue to attach the posterboard to the frame. Not exactly a process I’d recommend for a priceless piece of art, but under the circumstances it was just fine. Then I hung it on the wall using the hardware that the frame came with and two nails. Easy peasy.
In the apartment we had it above our bar as shown in the photo above, but here it is hanging out on the buffet in our new house:
All in all, a very straightforward and quick project, if you don’t count the time required to collect all those corks (that depends on how much you drink/how shameless you are in taking corks from friends). One of my favorite details is that the champagne cork in the very center has the date “8/1/12” written on it. That’s the day Sam and I got engaged, from the champagne his family had waiting for us when we came back from the waterfall where he proposed (we got engaged while on a family vacation, but I promise that it was more romantic than that makes it sound).
I saved the cork (like I do) and wrote the date on it so I’d remember when it was from, and then when I was making the cork frame a year later came across it in my stash and decided to put it front and center. We’re not super romantic people (we have a quote about sandwiches engraved in our wedding rings, after all), but I like having subtle things like this that only we (and now the rest of the internet) know about.
ANYWAY. The moral of the story is that corks make good fodder for DIY art projects, whether they’re from milestone moments in your life or you gathered them up at a random party.