DIY hates me, and so can you
Far be it from me to turn this into a “DIY tutorial” blog but, um. That’s what I’m doing today.
See, I made these favors for the bridal shower? They were wine bottle corks. This is pretty much what they looked like when they were done:
I’m going to tell you how I made ‘em. In all the gritty, sweaty, unholy* detail. Are you ready? Good. Let’s begin.
- The inspiration came when I was browsing an Etsy shop and saw these wine stoppers fashioned from antique knobs. I died, because HOLY BALLSMOKE I was planning on doing a WINE TASTING for the bridal shower, and HOW CUTE AND APPROPRIATELY THEMATIC IS THAT, RIGHT??? The only problem was, they were selling for about $30.** “You know what?” I said to myself. “I bet I could make these much more cheaply. I bet it would be easy.”
- In case you are not already hearing an ominous soundtrack in your head, permit me to set the mood: DUN DUN DUN DUNNNN.
- I did some research to figure out just how easy making wine stoppers might be. I found one tutorial that was basically like, “Buy corks. Buy knobs. Drill holes in the corks with an electric drill. Screw the knobs into the corks.” What. The. Hell. I could do that in my sleep! Sold.
- I went out and bought some drawer knobs from Anthropologie. Oh sure, Anthro can be spendy, but by digging through the sale bins I was able to keep things on the side of reasonably priced. I brought a friend and she helped me pick out a unique knob for every person attending the shower. Then we went for drinks immediately afterwards, because shopping is hard and hurts my soul.
- Time to order corks! I even did some research on cork quality and went for a natural cork over a synthetic or agglomerated cork. I treat my peeps right!
- I have all my materials four months in advance! I am whip-smart. I am prepared. Call me Martha, bitches.
- Three and a half months go by.
- Two weeks before the shower, I arranged a wine-stopper-making night. I pre-charged the battery on the cordless electric drill and everything. I pulled out the corks to try them in a wine bottle and… they didn’t fit. At all. SHIT SHIT SHIT. See, I’d gotten these straight corks that can only be inserted into a bottle via a corker. Um. Right.
- Turns out I needed tapered cork stoppers. Turns out that tapered corks only come in predetermined widths and lengths ranging from 0000 to 20, and then 22, 24, 26, and 28. No, I do not know why the numbering is this way. Anyway. By making some careful measurements, I found that size #9 fits a standard wine bottle. Size #9 has a top diameter of 0.937” or 24mm, a bottom diameter of 0.734” or 18mm, and a length of 1.125” or 29mm. I ended up buying these.
- And oh yeah, speaking of the length of the cork, those knobs I bought at Anthropologie? The screw projection extended, in most cases, 1.5” to 1.75”. Allow me to remind you that the cork length was 1.125”. Ha ha! Ah ha ha ha!
- I went out and bought a hacksaw. And a clamp. You can skip this step entirely by perhaps PAYING ATTENTION TO THE PROJECTION LENGTH ON THE KNOBS YOU PURCHASE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
- OK. Three days before the shower. The beau, God love him, volunteers his evening to help me. Are you reading this, Beau? I EFFING LOVE YOU. So gather up your materials and your own version of the beau. If you plan on blogging this DIY attempt, start taking pictures. Try to avoid doing this on a weeknight, when there is no natural light, or you may just lose your DIY Tutorial Blog Credibility.***
- The beau began sawing off the knob projections. Since we didn’t want the projection to go all the way through the cork, he aimed to cut the projection to about 0.80” or so. Take into account any nuts and washers that may be at the end of the projection and remove them, unless you want them to be part of the knob display.
- I marked the center of the cork using a ruler.
- I predrilled some of the corks. I found via trial and error that it was easier to screw in the knob if you drilled the hole pretty deep. However, I also found that it was impossible to drill the hole perfectly straight. Additionally, imperfections in the cork could make the drill veer to one side. This is why it’s good idea to purchase the most super-premium cork you can find: It will have fewer imperfections.
- I started screwing the knobs into the corks. They looked… whack. I am serious. Neither the beau nor I, try as we might to control it, could get the knob seated inside the cork without some sort of drastic lean. The knobs appeared to be perpetually drunk, like they were all lurching their way through an all-night bender. It sucked.
- I got mad and cried. I may have thrown something. Skipping this step is recommended.
- Somehow I staggered on. I redid the most crooked, off-kilter knobs, and this is where I began wishing I’d had the foresight to order more than just ten extra corks. HINT, HINT.
- After I got the knobs screwed into the corks in a manner that was sort of acceptable — if you crossed your eyes and squinted — I unscrewed them, dripped some non-toxic Elmer’s glue down the hole for added strength, then screwed the knobs back in one final time.
- THEN we found out that the knobs that spun around the screw projection independently? Those couldn’t be screwed into the corks, because once you got the projection gripped by the cork, the knob would start to turn and just loosen itself from the screw head. Guess how of those kind of knobs I had? About five or six. Yeah. So here’s another important tip: DON’T BUY THAT KIND OF KNOB.
- In desperation, we glued the inside of the “problem knobs” at the nut with Plumber’s Goop. That had to sit for 24 hours, so we gave up for that night.
- The next day, we managed to finally complete the damn things. None of them were anywhere near perfect, but they were done, and that’s all I cared about.
- Finally, remember to take some follow-up pictures of the finished wine stoppers in compelling afternoon light, so that everybody will believe you lead a talented, crafty life imbued with wonder, meaning, and beauty.
In summary, I almost died, but the bridal shower guests seemed to like them, at least in the sense that they waited until they got home to toss them in the trash. Should you attempt this DIY project? Well, that depends on how brave and/or drunk you are at this time. If you do decide to go for it, just remember: Do as I say, not as I do.
Thank you and have a good night.
* Gritty, sweaty, and unholy! The three words that unfailingly spring to mind when you think of preshus wedding details!
** Which, per the exchange rate current to today, roughly works out to $27.6 CAD, £43.5, or €36.9. I see you, non-U.S. readers! And I love you.
*** Whew. Thank god I never had it in the first place.