HomeBottles Decorating Wine Bottles – Ideas to Paint and Decorate

Decorating Wine Bottles – Ideas to Paint and Decorate

Posted in : Bottles on by : Carrie Wente

There are so many lovely hand-painted/decorated wine bottles out there today that cover just about any time of year or occasion. But unless you’ve done it before, you can’t just jump in and start painting and adding your decorations. I’ll walk you through a few different techniques I’ve learned about and how to prep the bottle so your design lasts. In no time, you will be the envy of the bottle decorating world.

You Will Need:

  • Empty bottle(s)
  • Bleach
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Acrylic paint, your choice of colors
  • Mod Podge
  • PaintbrushCrackle Paint
  • Glitter paint
  • Twine, again your choice of color
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Regular white glue
  • Wire cutters
  • Scissors
  • Dropcloth or newspaper to protect surfaces
  • Assorted decorations, such as dried flowers, silk flowers, dried or silk greenery, stickers, wood letters, etc.

Bottle Preparation

The first thing you will want to do is take off the label off. This can be a very time consuming and tedious job. The quickest method is to boil water and carefully (with a funnel) pour the boiling water into the empty bottle. Wait a few minutes, pour the water out (you may need some gloves or a hot pad to hold the bottle as it will be scorching). While the bottle is still warm, you can usually then peel the label off. This is an excellent method for some, but I have found that some winemakers use glue that likes to leave residue behind, and you end up with that sticky goo still on the Glass. Goof-off works well to remove the remaining glue and can be purchased at many hardware stores or even Walmart.

The method I use takes a little longer but will dissolve the glue much easier and cheaper. First, you take a bucket and fill it halfway with warm water. Then take your empty bottles and fill them with water. Sink the bottles into the bucket and add about a half a cup of plain ole bleach and walk away to sit overnight. Oh, and make sure the water is to the top of the label on the bottle. The next day your labels should peel right off. If they’re not coming off easily, put them back in the bleach water for another day or two.

After you have your labels are taken off and dried and the bottle dried, you need to take some rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball. I use the alcohol wipes because that’s just what I happen to have on hand right now. One works only as well as the other. You need to rub the bottle down with the alcohol and make sure all of the label glue is gone as well as any bleach residue or oils from your hands.


Now that your bottle is clean of any foreign stuff, you will want to paint on a coat of Mod Podge and let it dry. This is so that the paint will stick to your bottle. I found out the hard way that if you don’t, your paint will about peel back off all by itself. Glass is non-porous and won’t allow the paint to adhere to it. Mod Podge will stick to the Glass, and then the paint will stay put.

Mod Podge usually is dry within a  couple of hours. Just like the walls of your house, you will most likely need to paint your bottle with a primer coat. I usually use either white or black, depending on what my finished color will be. If you don’t do this, you will most likely need to paint the bottle with several coats of paint before you have full coverage. In this case, I used white as a primer, and the metallic pink covered well after a couple of coats.

To make the old crackled effect, I used two different types of products so that you can see what different brands do. The first one is by FolkArt and has you paint your bottle with a base color (in this case, I used the metallic pink) let it dry. Then paint it with the crackle paint material, let dry. Then, this is the tricky part; you have to work quickly, you paint the contrasting color over the dried crackle. Within seconds the paint cracks and shrinks up to give you this old time-weathered look.


On the second bottle, I used a different brand of crackle effect paint. This one has you paint your surface, let it dry, and then paint on the crackling paint. Depending on how thick you paint it on, it is how big your cracks in the paint become. I like this particular product better as it looks a little more natural and aged than the first. After it’s dry, to make it look a bit more aged, you can then rub or paint on some dark tint to further add to the old look. You can find it in the paint section of your craft store. It seemed similar to a wood stain, but I’m not sure how the oil in wood stain would react to acrylic paint.

The DecoArt brand of crackle is my preference, as you can see, the aged look on this bottle looks a little more natural. The bottle itself I didn’t paint with a base-coat of white first. The dark coloring you see in the dark green of the Glass coming through. I liked the look, so I didn’t add additional coats of pink to cover it up. The bottles in behind in these photos have two to three layers of the pink metallic paint.

This sparkly paint was a matching glitter paint that I found at Hobby Lobby. After painting the bottle as described above and let dry, I added a couple of the coats of DecoArt Glitter paint. If you head down the paint aisle of any craft store, the choices are sometimes overwhelming. I tend to try and have a definite idea of exactly what I need and want, or I would be there forever trying to decide. This method also keeps me from overspending. It’s kind of like the rule never to go grocery shopping when you’re hungry!

When you have your bottle(s) all painted fantabulous colors and dried overnight, you will need to add another coat of the Mod Podge to seal it, or you can use a finishing spray. It’s too cold here in the mid-west in February to use aerosol sprays outside, and I don’t recommend spraying in the house.

The Finishing Touches

For the finishing touches, you can do just about whatever you want to do. I used a couple of types of twine for these bottles. The first one with the “L” has a metallic cord. To attach string, you want first to place a bead of white glue where you want to start wrapping and get it fastened. Then go ahead and add paste where you want to have the twine and start wrapping, carefully keeping the rows touching. When you want to finish off your cord, you will want to cut it on as much of an angle as you can and then blend it into the row above/below so that it doesn’t show as much. I have tried tucking it in, but it leaves a lump, and I prefer a smooth finish.

Just adding small silk flowers or painted pinecones (that’s for another post), ribbon, and painted lettering as accents can make all the difference. Hint: When using a glue gun on Glass, it’s much easier to add the glue to the item you’re attaching. Hot melt glue hardens too fast if you shoot it directly to the Glass.

I hope you enjoy it and if you have any questions about painting bottles, drop me a comment or email.


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