March 7, 2018

A Lazy Way To Remove Bottle and Jar Labels

There are so many creative and decorative ways to upcycle
bottles and jars. In most ways the bottles and jars would be
used, the labels need to be removed. Here is a lazy way to
remove labels from bottles and jars and how I used  
upcycled bottles in decorating for St. Patrick's Day.

Here's the bottles I have been saving to use for either party
or home decor one day. To be really lazy like me you can 
leave them outside and let them the weather work on the labels. 

If your bottle's labels are still intact, first run the tines 
of a regular fork over the label to scratch it up. 

Then put the bottle in water to soak. 
Let the water do the work for you of loosening the
loosening the label and glue. To keep the bottle submerged
in the water, make sure the bottle is full of water. 

After about an hour of the water working on the label, not you,
take the bottle out of the water. Use the non-serrated side of
a regular knife to scrape off any of the label that will come 
off easily. If there is still label stuck on the bottle, let it soak
longer. It is a lot less effort on your part to not keep scraping
on parts of the label that are not ready to come off. 

A part of the label that will not come with just soaking is
a metallic label on the neck of the bottle. Usually
you can just cut these off with scissors. If it is a thicker
metal, you might need to use wire cutters. 

If a label is clear and/or plastic, it may pull off in one
piece. Try to pry up a corner and pull it off slowly.

If some of the label is left even after a second soaking and 
scrape, put a little dish soap on the label, foam it up and 
let it sit while the surfactants in the dish soap have time 
to loosen the glue that is holding the label on. Scrape again.

By now, the paper part of the label should be gone.

Hopefully the glue residue is gone also. If there is still some
patterns of glue left, here are two things to apply to the bottle
and, again, let them stay in place and work while you don't.

You can try soaking a paper towel in vinegar and let that sit
on the stubborn glue for a while.

Or you can make a paste out of baking soda and olive oil then
 pat it on the bottle to soften up the glue. 

Another thing to try to get remaining glue off that is not a 
sit and soak method (so it does take a little effort) is 
rubbing the the bottle with steel wool. 

I'm going to use some of my now naked bottles to decorate
for St. Patrick's Day! It's crazy that I am putting labels back 
on the bottles I just got labels off of. 

These labels are just online printables of vintage St. Patrick's 
Day postcards. I applied them to the bottles with a water-based
craft glue so they will be easy to take off after March 17.

Here they are finished and being used a vases to hold
Spring branches from my back yard. 

The hutch behind the dining room table also holds some
upcycled bottles.

After the labels were taken off of these green bottles I did my 
best to try to make them look like vintage seltzer dispensers. 
More of the reproduction post cards where used in the hutch.
If you want to see how the tops of these bottles were made you
can click here to go to the blog post. If you would like to see how
I used the post cards last year in decorating click here. 

More St. Patrick's Day decor in the dining room...

I made this faux stained glass window with supplies from the
craft store a few years ago. I love using it every Spring.  

My boy statue gets all of the artificial shamrocks this year.

I hope my lazy label removal tips will help you when you
want to use give bottles and jars a new and useful life!

I am sharing this post over at
Before and After @ The Dedicated House
Share Your Style @ The Vintage Nest

February 26, 2018

Fake A Vintage Seltzer Bottle

A decor item that makes my heart skip a beat when I see
 it is a vintage or antique seltzer bottle. 

They can be pricey so I wanted to try to make my own (non-
working of course) with inexpensive craft items and saved bottles.

I googled and also used Pinterest to find images of vintage
 seltzer bottles that I liked. So much variety!
I used them as inspiration for attempting my own.
 The original tops are metal...I'm gonna try to fake it.

Armed with the images, clay, glue, bottles, wooden turnings
and paint, I start trying different techniques and products. 

You might be able to use the clay alone to shape the tops of the 
bottles but I thought that the wooden shapes glued together
 would help give the clay more stability.

 For most of the bottles, I still had the tops that originally
 came with them so I also glued the wooden shapes on the tops. 
You can mold your seltzer siphon shapes directly 
on the bottle if you don't have the original top. 

Now, about the clay...the air-dry clay (in the first picture, it is in
the big box) did not work at all. It cracked and was fragile. 

The polymer clay worked much better. In the past, I have tried 
to use a Sculpty polymer clay that was so hard right out of
 the package that it was basically unusable to a novice like me 
(without conditioning tools, etc.). 

I did find a Sculpty clay for this project that is called 
"Oven Bake" ($2.49) that is soft enough for even kids to be able
 to mold it right out of the package. I also tried the Michael's
 brand "Craft Smart Polymer Clay" ($1.89) that worked well. 

 My fake seltzer siphon tops are not as perfect as I envisioned
them, but from a distance they work as a decor item.
 Here's how to give them a try yourself. 

Flatten out a portion of the clay to about 1/4 inch thick.
(Pinch off some, roll it in a ball, squish it with your fingers
to soften it more, flatten the ball with your hands.)

Measure how the height and circumference of your bottle
cap (or top of bottle if you don't have a cap). Cut a piece of
 clay a little bigger than your measurements. 

Form this strip of clay around the top. Use your fingers to 
blend the end of the clay or cut it off if it is much too much. 

Make a snake of clay to go around the base of the vertical
part of the siphon. This will help make the "shoulders" shape.

Make a smaller strip of flattened clay to cover the snake.

Use your fingers to blend the end of the second strip to
itself and to blend the two strips together visually. 

Make a thicker snake to form the nozzle of the siphon.
Look at pictures of vintage seltzer siphons and form your
clay into a shape that you like for the nozzle. You can use a
wire or a wooden skewer to make a hole in the end of the nozzle.

Attach the non-impaled end of the nozzle piece to the
vertical wooden pieces at an appropriate place on the siphon
 by blending the clay onto the wood.

Look at the google and Pinterest pictures then form a 
clay handle you like the shape of in the images.
Blend the clay on to the wood higher up and on
 the opposite side of the nozzle. 

If you nozzle and/or handle are not holding their shape, you 
could consider cutting a small piece of wire to embed in the clay.

Cover the rest of the wood with flattened out clay. Also blend 
more clay onto the nozzle and handle to make them more a part 
of the clay covering. 

Smooth all of the pieces of clay together.

I had about half of the original package of clay (2 oz.) after 
making the above fake siphon head so if you only wanted two
 seltzer bottles, you could probably get by with one package of clay. 

Some of the vintage siphon tops on the seltzer bottles have
a roundish part opposite the handle. I'm not sure what the 
function of that is but maybe it is where a pin was inserted
to keep the siphon from discharging unexpectedly. 

Here is the evolution of another siphon head using a wooden
turning (from the wood craft aisle) glued on as a handle. 

When you get your top as close as you can to the look of an 
original seltzer siphon, it is time to bake the clay in the oven. 

If you have used a top, you can just take it off the bottle and
bake it separately. A trick to help the clay keep its shape while
it is baking is to support it with polyester fiberfill or batting.

Be sure to support especially the nozzle and the handle by
fluffing the fiberfill or batting under those parts. Stay close by
the oven during the baking. I did not have any problem with the
polyester catching fire but please keep an eye on it. 

If you built the siphon directly on the bottle, it is OK to bake
the whole thing together. Support the clay part with the polyester.

Bake the top on 250 degrees for about 20 minutes. Take it out
and let it cool. If it is not hard enough it is OK to cook it more. 

On that low of a temperature the plastic top did not melt either.
One big mistake that I made was to use a synthetic wine cork
for one of the uprights on the DID melt in the oven.
A real cork did NOT melt. Don't use the same polyester cushioning
for more than two baking needs replacing. 

If something falls off during or after baking, you can glue it
back together before painting. 

I don't know what metal the original siphons are but they are
usually a silver color so painted mine with silver acrylic paint.
After the main color dried, I dabbed on some watered down 
brown acrylic paint to give it a more aged look.

I used saved green bottles with the labels soaked off for my "collection" but blue and even
clear bottles are also common for vintage seltzer bottles.  

For now they fit in with my St. Patrick's Day decor but
I plan on using all over the house later on. 

Working out how to make the siphon tops did take some time 
but the clay, wood and paint were easy to get at the craft store
and the cost was probably less than $5 for each fake seltzer 
bottle (provided you supply an empty bottle ).  

Bottoms Up!

I am sharing this post at these blog parties:
Inspire Me Tuesday @ A Stroll Thru Life
Inspire Me Monday @ Dwellings
Make It Pretty Monday @ The Dedicated House
Wow Us Wednesday @ Savvy Southern Style
Winter Blue Wednesday @ DIY by Design

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