Try This: Low-VOC Vase Paint

Mix up this simple graphic paint treatment to make your wine bottles come to life.

| January/February 2006

Bottle booster

Wine bottles come in graceful, iconographic shapes, many too beautiful to throw away. Unadorned, they look like someone forgot to take out the recycling, but with a simple graphic paint treatment, the shapes come alive. White matte paint brings out an obsidian sheen in the glass, and ordinary throwaways make a sudden leap to extraordinary treasure.

1. Collect glass bottles of interesting shapes and colors. Remove the labels by soaking them for an hour or two in soapy water, then dry the bottles thoroughly inside and out.

2. Apply simple yet striking patterns to the bottles with masking tape and round paper stickers. Sprinkle the dot stickers all over the bottle or create alternating bands of light and dark by wrapping tape around the bottle. The areas you cover now will be the areas of exposed glass later. Whether tape or stickers are used, they must be applied firmly with no corners sticking up, which would allow paint to get under them and obscure the pattern.

3. Wrap narrow strips of masking tape in random directions around the bottle. Wider tape will not adhere smoothly to the bottle’s contours, so use scissors to cut the tape in half along its length.

4. Use acrylic, tempera, or low-VOC wall paint in a white or cream color. Do not thin the paint. Apply it with a small brush, covering the bottle’s entire surface. You may need to go over some areas twice to ensure even coverage. Holding the bottle by the top of the neck, begin immediately to remove the tape. Pull the tape off slowly and discard. The tape must be removed before the paint dries, or it will pull off in large sheets and ruin the relief pattern. Have a trash bag handy in which to throw the strips of tape covered in wet paint. Rubber gloves are useful for this step. A craft blade may help loosen the edges of the tape or stickers to make removal easier. Once all tape is removed, set the bottles on newspaper to dry completely.

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