6 craft ideas for upcycling wine corks

After reusing or recycling your empty wine bottles, you may be left wondering what you can do with the leftover corks.

Whether you’ve found yourself left with a collection to shift or need inspiration for your next craft project, reusing wine corks is incredibly easy and fun.

Can you reuse wine corks?

Good news – it’s straightforward to sterilise wine corks and give them a new lease of life.

After careful cleaning, wine corks are versatile additions to any craft box. The only ‘rule’ when reusing wine corks is it’s best not to use them to seal a new wine – bacteria may have contaminated the old cork, which in turn may affect your wine. On a health basis, we don’t advise it.

How to clean wine corks

It’s essential to clean your corks first to ensure they are safe for upcycling projects.

It’s easy to clean them at home by steaming or boiling them for an extended period of time, ensuring any unwanted bacteria and smells are eradicated. Around 90 minutes should do the trick, then leave them to dry completely before using.

What to do with wine corks

Glass of wine standing on table made from used wine corks

There are plenty of craft projects with wine corks out there for you to try. We’ve highlighted some of our favourites below.

‘Rustic chic’ is trending in interior styles, and this wine cork crafted monogram makes the ideal housewarming gift. Wooden letters are easy to find in most DIY shops or online, and then it’s simply a case of covering the base with your glued corks.

Entertain the kids in winter and get them involved with this homemade festive edition of noughts and crosses. You’ll have hours of fun with the little ones painting these adorable reindeer and snowmen figures, and the result is an eco-friendly game that you can cherish for years to come.

These cork keychains look cool and have a practical purpose too – keeping your keys afloat. Take them to the beach and enjoy peace of mind next time you go for a dip. Get some small screw eyes and thin rings and insert them into the undamaged end by the corkscrew.

If you’re stuck on what to do with your leftover champagne corks and have a big event or wedding coming up, assign seats with these pretty carved out cork placeholders. They also make great wine/cheese labels for vineyard themed events. All it takes to make these is a sharp knife, a steady hand, and patience. Ensure you chop off an edge so the cork lies flat before slicing into the cork for an area to place your card.

Jazz up your plain glass vase with a selection of corks, turning a passed-over piece into a stylish conversation starter. Get yourself a cube or rectangular shaped vessel, your cork collection, and some heavy craft glue, before arranging and glueing your corks as you wish. Don’t be afraid to cut the corks to size or even arrange them in a decorative pattern.

Did you know that soaking natural cork in acetone alcohol for a week will turn them into candles? Take care when lighting them, as they’ll produce a bigger flame than standard candles – recommended for outdoor use only.

What to do with synthetic wine corks

Many wines now come with synthetic corks, which are plastic sponge tubes that sometimes have a mushroom cap.

Most craft projects out there can also be undertaken using synthetic corks, especially where the material itself is not critical to the end result, i.e. it’s just for decoration. Don’t use the plastic corks if you’re doing anything with heat, as these will melt and leave a nasty residue.

Other practical uses for synthetic wine corks include cabinet door bumpers, furniture handles, DIY washers, or even protective caps for knives.

Can you recycle wine corks?

Wine cork from from semi-sweet wine, cork from white wine and cork from red wine among other corks on rusty background

Although wine corks are made from natural materials (oak), their recycling process differs from that of other materials, meaning many councils do not accept them in their household recycling collection.

If you have a home compost bin, you can put your wine corks here. They can also be used as mulch on plants when chopped into small pieces.

Cork recycling schemes have attempted to address the issue of waste in the wine industry, launching a service which allows people to send in their old wine corks.

Recorked UK is the most popular scheme, and they also donate a portion of their profits to nominated charities. Some of your corks will even be donated to schools and organizations for use in craft projects.

Majestic Wine also launched an ambitious scheme, running the UK’s first-ever cork harvest. Partnering with the Portuguese Cork Association (where many natural corks come from), customers will be able to pop their wine corks into recycling bins in-store. They will then be handed over to the Eden Project and used for enriching soils and protecting roots.


Want to know what happens to your empty wine bottles? Learn how Forge Recycling can help take care of your glass waste here.

5 great ways to recycle wine bottles

Late night boozing left you with an influx of empty wine bottles? Party remnants piling up in your recycling bin?

Upcycling wine bottles and turning them into beautiful home ornaments are all the rage and, luckily for us, is a quick and easy trend to recreate. Turn your empty tipples into stylish wine bottle décor while doing your bit for the planet.

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8 clever ways to reuse plastic bottles

Back in 2019, we shared five reuse ideas for single-use plastic bottles on the blog, and a lot of you found it helpful.

Today, we are back with eight more clever ways to reuse your plastic bottles.

The bottles used for bottled water and other drinks are sadly intended to be single-use, so avoiding them altogether would be the best move for the environment.

However, we know that, realistically, a plastic bottle may be the only way for you to purchase your favourite drink on the go.

In which case, why not reuse the bottle when it’s empty and clean — giving it another lease of life, rather than sending it straight for recycling?

Continue reading 8 clever ways to reuse plastic bottles

4 things you need to know about upcycling furniture

If you’ve recently been considering upcycling a piece of furniture, then this blog post will outline the reasons why you might want to, alongside four things you need to know before you get started.

Popular furniture pieces to upcycle are dining tables, chairs, cabinets, dressing tables, and footstools.

Upcycling furniture projects are a great idea for many reasons:

  • They’re beneficial for the environment because your upcycled piece of furniture replaces the need for a new piece to be manufactured.
  • They result in a bespoke, one-of-a-kind piece of furniture that nobody else owns.
  • They save you money.
  • You learn new skills in the process.
  • They’re easier than you might expect.
  • They’re fun!

Continue reading 4 things you need to know about upcycling furniture

How to reuse and recycle board games

You may have been cleaning recently and realised how many board games you have.

Often, board games are passed down through generations, and you can end up with piles of games that are either unused or overplayed!

When you stumble across a board game or two that you want to get rid of, you don’t have to just throw them in the bin.

There are a surprising number of options for unwanted board games — we’ll go through some of the best options below.

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How to plan a sustainable Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner and with it comes all manner of traditions — from fancy dress parties to trick or treating, and everything in-between.

Unfortunately, these traditions are often fairly wasteful — however, it’s surprisingly simple to make them less so.

Below, we take a look at how you can make your Halloween celebrations more sustainable this year, and for future years too.

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Where to refill your water bottle for free in Leeds

An ambitious new plan has been unveiled in a bid to cut the UK’s plastic waste, which will see a network of free water refill points come into play across the country. These refill points will be in shops, cafes, local businesses, museums, council buildings, and more, and we will also see the restoration and installation of public water fountains.

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How to upcycle car tyres

Due to its resilient nature, rubber is the perfect material for upcycling projects, and vehicle tyres can therefore be easily reused once they have become unroadworthy. Repurposing vehicle tyres is a nice alternative to sending them to landfill – an unfortunate ending for many tyres worldwide. When tyres are recycled, they are often shredded and used for producing playground surfaces, road embankments and synthetic turf. Why not reuse them before that stage and lengthen their life even more? Give some of these upcycling ideas a go.

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