These days, bottles come in all shapes, sizes, and colors—many too lovely to throw away. So don't! Use capped mineral water bottles to make this contemporary candelabra. The beaded finials at the bottom give the chandelier a stylish finish while stoppering the bottle ends and anchoring the candlewicks. A short length of copper pipe decorates the bottle necks. See the directions below for an easy way to "cut" bottles.
1. Use a hose clamp as a guide to score a clean bottle with a glass cutter. Go over the line only once.
2. Heat the scored line thoroughly with a candle flame.
3. While still warm, run an ice cube over the scored line. With a little pressure, the bottle will break easily along the line.
4. Use wet emery paper to smooth the edge of the bottle.
5. Use a hole cutter to drill three holes in a scrap of half-inch birch plywood about 2 feet by 4 inches. The holes must be at least 11/2 inches for the bottlenecks to fit through. Save the “holes” for use as part of the finial at the bottom.
6. Drill the plywood ends for the suspension cable. We used (3/32 inch) steel cable and ferrules from the hardware store. Be sure to get soft aluminum ferrules that require only a hammer to crimp the cable together.
7. Send the wick down through a hole poked in the cap, then through the plywood circle, and the bead. Bring it back up through the plywood circle, then the cap. Tie the wick tightly against the cap and leave one end of wick about 8 inches long. Send the long end of the wick up through the pipe, into the bottle’s neck, and out the top. Use a pea-sized piece of wax to stopper the hole on the inside of the cap. Screw the cap on.
8. Melt approximately 8 ounces of wax. Hold the wick straight up as you pour the wax. To eliminate leaks, add 1/4 inch of wax first, then wait for it to set before filling it.
Bottled spirits: A Variation
Drill a large hole in a 6-inch square plywood scrap. Two strips of 1- by 2-inch trim become feet for the wooden platform. Cut the bottom inch off a clean wine bottle, then stuff a short, 25-bulb string of holiday lights inside. The plug end is sent out the bottom through the hole in the platform. A spare drawer knob tops it all off. Voilà—an enlightened centerpiece.