Being an extreme wine lover, I always have quite the cork collection on hand. My mother accumulated quite a number of corks when I was growing up, using them in a ginormous wine glass as decoration or just keeping them for a rainy day project. As such, I began cork crafting even before my true love of wine legitimately developed.
Today, I collect corks (both wine and champagne/prosecco) in the cutest wine bottle-shaped iron basket on our kitchen counter (it was a gift from my “2nd mother,” my best friend Christina’s mom). Once that gets full…like once a week 😉 … I dump them in a large monogrammed bucket in the dining room that is cute enough for decoration, but can also be used as an ice bucket to hold bottles for parties, among other things.
One of my favorite cork crafts (which also makes a wonderful gift), is the picture frame.
You can create two different versions:
1. A frame made out of corks to put a picture in.
To make this frame, I picked up a skinny wooden frame from the Dollar Tree (yes, where everything is actually $1). I physically laid the corks out on top of the frame, cut a few where needed with a kitchen knife, and then hot-glued each one on. Wah lah!
This picture also has a special meaning. During my university years, an Italian restaurant/bar named Amici was my home away from home. If my girls and I weren’t in class, studying, or watching Sex and the City…you could find us there playing Celine Dion on the jukebox and drinking dirrty dirrty martinis. One afternoon following a final, some of the girls and I celebrated over a round of drinks at…where else…duh, Amici. The most adorable old man was there, and we had an absolute darling talk with him about life, his wife, and his love for photography. He gave each of us a photo that day. This was my choice and will always remind me of that friendly old man in Amici.
2. An old frame filled with corks.
This can be left blank or painted with a saying, initials, or whatever creative design you can come up with!
To make this, I took an old picture frame and removed the glass (leaving the cardboard backing). You can also use old frames with no back and cut a piece of wood or cardboard yourself as a backing, as the corks will cover it. I then laid out the corks in my desired pattern, cutting the necessary ones with a sharp stainless steel kitchen knife. Once everything was in place (you want them to be relatively snug in the frame), hot-glue each cork individually to secure it to the backing.
Once that is complete, you can go to town on your painting. I use an acrylic paint (one of this nature) that you can find at your local craft store and a set of paint brushes (something like this) with multiple sized brushes for different portions of the painting.
The key to getting the image to turn out how you envision is to have something to design from. I suggest using Word to make your design and then printing out the actual size you would like your painting to be (or sketching it by hand on paper, if you prefer to draw the image). Next, fold the paper in half ‘hot dog’ and ‘hamburger’ style, to give you a better idea of the dimensions. You can then mark your dimensions by placing the paper over your framed corks and putting Post-it notes or some kind of marker on the frame itself. Now you have a guide.
Start your painting off by using a very small brush and lightly going over the corks (barely leaving a mark…just enough to show you the shape of your design). Once that is in place, and you are happy with the positioning, have at it! The key is remembering that no piece of artwork is perfect…and you can always replace a cork if you really screw one section up! Also, remember that because the corks are rounded, you need to step back and look at various angles to cover the full area of the cork that needs to be covered in paint to give off the final affect of your image. Good luck!!
This piece also has a significant meaning. I truly believe that Love is what makes life worth living, whether it be paternal love, love for a family member, spiritual love, marital love, or loving thy neighbor as thyself. I have doodled this version of the word Love as long as I can remember and even named my cat Mynah (through Hindi ‘maina’, ultimately from Sanskrit ‘madana-s’, which means “love”). I now have it tattooed very small on my left rib cage as a reminder to always “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mark 12:31).
The last craft I’m going to share today is actually the easiest.
The cork initial.
To make this you simply purchase a wooden initial of preference and size (you can get these at most local craft stores), cut several corks in half at varying angles, then hot glue them in a fun pattern. Hang on a wall or lean against the back of a bookshelf to add some dimension!