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‘Vintage junkie’ — Collecting and embellishing vintage bottles

December 17th, 2013 7:29 am by Melissa Baskette

‘Vintage junkie’ — Collecting and embellishing vintage bottles

I am always on the hunt for interesting old bottles.  They can be found at estate sales, flea markets, and sometimes in old barns.  While some can be collectible, there are plenty that are just pretty to look at and to use in home décor.  You can use them plain, or embellish to your heart’s desire.  

Why not search for vintage glass bottles at bargain prices the next time you stroll a flea market?  Clear glass bottles are relatively easy to find, but tinted bottles, such as lavender, aqua, or cobalt, are a bit harder to come by. 

To my eye, tinted bottles are best with no embellishment - just add water and a single flower and place in a window sill, or put several bottles of similar colors in a grouping on a table or a fireplace mantel.   

Some found bottles are grungy and will require a good cleaning. When you get them home, rinse the bottles with water at room temperature to clean the loose dirt, then fill with warm water and a drop or two of dish washing liquid and let soak 24 hours.  Wash again with warm salt water and a bottle brush.

For more difficult dirt, just add to the bottle some beach sand or play sand to about one-fourth way up, then add a drop or two of liquid dish detergent and warm water to half way up.  Holding  your finger over the opening, shake vigorously to loosen the dirt.  

Several other methods for cleaning old bottles can be found online.  You won’t always be able to get them completely clean – there might be residual mineral deposits or rust stains, but it won’t matter.  Just embellish away.  

They can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. Use your imagination; add bits of vintage lace or ribbon, vintage sheet music or scraps of paper from old books, old jewelry pieces – the possibilities are endless.  Create several for a grouping.

These also make perfect gifts for special occasions or holidays.  If you are planning a wedding, another idea is to create several to use as centerpieces for the reception tables.   

I embellished the bottles pictured with lace, pretty paper, vintage images, seam binding and buttons and jewelry findings.  

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