Ways to reuse and recycle wine corks

As a wine loving nation, the main South African pastime is, of course, drinking wine, but with a little effort and creativity, you can get a lot of enjoyment from reusing the wine corks and transforming them into useful items for around your home. 


Here are a few easy projects that will get you started: 

Place cards
Dress up wine corks with a simple, thin ribbon and reuse them as a holder for place cards at your next special dinner evening. Print out some name cards on your PC printer and use a sharp craft knife to create a slot in the top of the wine cork. Voila!

If you have a wedding or engagement coming up, you can recycle wine corks into gifts or favours for your guests. A screw-in hook and ring that you find at your local hardware store are all that you need to make a gift your guests will remember you by. Find instructions for this project at blog.craftzine.com. 





Here's a great idea for labeling the individual keys for the various doors throughout your home. Simply screw a hook-eye screw into the one side of the cork, and then thread a key ring into the hook-eye screw. To label which doors belong to which keys, use a permanent marker and write the name of the door directly onto the screw. 

Pot trivets
Pot trivets are handy for kitchen counters and your favourite dining table. To make a cork trivet all you need to do is to collect enough corks to fill up your container and apply a blob of hot glue to each cork to keep them securely in place.


Recycle an old picture frame to hold your corks in shape, or use a blob of hot glue to create a freestyle cork trivet that is wrapped with a burlap or canvas ribbon. Use a sharp craft knife to cut your wine corks into half sections.

If you're a true South African and like to partake of the vine on a regular basis, you will have plenty of wine corks on hand to make your own welcome mat. Drill two small holes into each cork so that you can thread through a length of rope or twine to hold the corks together.


Plant plant tags
These plant labels are exceptionally easy to make and they serve a very practical purpose for any vegetable or herb garden. Simply insert an old fork or wooden skewer into the bottom-end of the cork, and using a soldering iron or permanent marker, write the name of the particular herb or vegetable onto the cork. Insert the directly into the ground and voila – a cost-effective, quick and simple solution to help you better organise your veggie patch!  

A cork pinboard
Purchase a large wooden frame and remove the glass, leaving just the backboard. Cut a collection of corks in half and, using a hot glue gun, glue them down directly onto the backboard so that they cover the entire section of the backboard that shows through the frame. Leave to dry and hang up.


Jewellery storage
This is a very unique and practical solution for storing your everyday jewellery. Use an old picture frame, remove the glass, and spray with Rust-Oleum 2X white. Using a hot glue gun, stick the wine corks down in rows – they will be used to store your earrings, bracelets and necklaces. Screw in cup hooks as hangers - and there you have it. Hang the frame up onto a wall or the back of your cupboard door. 

Cork bath mat
Buy a piece of rubber non-slip carpet backing and cut it to the size you would like your bath mat to be. Cut a collection of corks in half and then arrange them onto the non-slip carpet backing. Once the matting is full, start gluing the half corks down using a hot glue gun. Leave to dry overnight and you will have a very practical and beautiful waterproof bath mat. Find instructions for this project at craftynest.com.

Cork decor and decorations
There are so many ways to reuse wine corks and you will be amazed at some of the ideas that people can come up with. These cute cork Christmas tree decorations would look lovely on a mantlepiece, shelf, or even on the front door. So simple to make: use hot glue to fasten the corks into shape and then wrap with ribbon. Glue the wrapped corks onto a small, cut branch.


Cork art
You can use corks to create any number of attractive art features – from letters to bold shapes, such as hearts, stars and so on. It is really simple to make these interesting features.

o start, trace the shape or you want onto a thin piece of wooden board and cut it out. You can use any kind of wooden board, from SupaWood to solid Pine; it doesn’t really matter, as you won’t really see it once the piece is complete. Then, using a hot glue gun, start gluing the corks in place so that they fill up the entire shape.

Start from one side and slowly make your way to the other side, until the shape is completely made out of wine corks. Pack them tightly together and try and avoid leaving any gaps in the shape at all.