The soft luminosity of this five-gallon bottle comes from a string of twenty-five white mini-lights hidden inside. Industrial-size bottles in one- and five-gallon sizes are sometimes used in restaurants; ask around to see if they have any to recycle. The large ones, called “carboys,” are also used to make wine, beer and cider and can be found at winemaking supply dealers for about $20 (MayersCiderMill.com).
Photo By Susan Wasinger
When Colorado wilderness guide Mary Marsden found a large empty glass bottle in a restaurant’s Dumpster, she saw it was filled with potential. She covered it with pressed autumn leaves, a layer or two of tissue paper, and filled it with a string of lights to create this luminous vessel. The diversity of leaf shapes guarantees a beautiful composition, and the warm autumnal tones create a glow that will light up any room.
1. Collect a variety of leaves in interesting shapes and colors. Autumn leaves are lovely, but you can also use dried flowers or dried herbs. Try branches of basil, tarragon or lavender. Pressed leaves are also available to buy at some florists or can be purchased online at PreservedGardens.com. Press the leaves between sheets of tissue paper within a heavy book or flower press and leave for a couple weeks.
2. Tear tissue paper into matchbox-size pieces. Have enough to cover the entire bottle in two layers.
3. Mod Podge, a découpage adhesive and finish, works well for gluing the leaves and paper to the bottle. Available at craft stores, it’s considered nontoxic and cleans up with soap and water. Alternately, you can use one part white glue diluted with one part water.
Using a small paintbrush, coat the back of the leaf with adhesive and place it on the bottle. Brush over it with more adhesive and apply a piece of torn tissue paper. Add a layer of tissue paper around the leaf, overlapping edges slightly, and brush thoroughly with Mod Podge. Repeat with the next leaf and surrounding tissue paper until the bottle is covered. Brush the entire surface gently with more adhesive and cover with another layer of tissue paper. Finish with a final coat of adhesive.