A couple of months ago I found these awesome simple little candlesticks at Ikea. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to use them for, but I knew there were a million different projects that I could do! Right after I got them, I made this cute set with red felt flowers.
I had always planned to make other versions with different colored felt flowers, but somehow it never happened, so since then they’ve been sitting in a drawer waiting for me to get my act together. And this week I finally sat down and used them in a new project!
I have a LOT of corks lying around the house. I use them in my design business, and because of that, everyone I know saves their corks for me. They arrive at my house or at a lunch date or even at my parents house, with little doggie bags of corks in their hands. And so, the result is that I have corks, a LOT of corks, lying around my house. When I use them in my business, I slice them up and embed them in resin to make trivets and wine coasters. I wanted to show the photos, because for me what I love most about these is how you get to look at a cork in a way we almost never see them, sliced through the middle. Did you know there are different types of corks? There are the standard, solid pieces, but then there are also corks that are more like cork salami, with little bits and pieces of corks all chopped up and then composited back together. And even then there are two different types, one with larger chunks and one with very fine smaller chunks. Seriously, you have no idea how much I know about the inside of wine corks.
So, I have so many lying around, I thought what if I could use them to make candlesticks, and set them up so that you are focused on that round end, the end you usually don’t see in repurposed cork projects. I loved the idea of building a solid structure of corks, but then also using the simple Ikea candlesticks as a base so that there was a solid structure to glue the corks too, but also so there was the official candle holder piece in the middle. Once I sat down I started debated the height of the corks, but I finally decided that I liked having the corks flush with the top of the candlestick holder part, instead of sticking up above that middle piece. So I cut each cork down to be the same shorter height. This actually was also helpful because not all corks are the same length, and this way they would all be even.
For each cork I selected I thought carefully about which end would be up. I wanted to show some with the red wine stains, but not too many. And while some are the finished end I also liked the idea of showing some with the cut side up, so you can see the inside of the cork that we never actually look at. Each candlestick used 18 corks, and I found after making the first one that it was best to use fatter corks, especially for the outer ring, because otherwise you ended up with gapping in between some of the outer corks.
When it came time to glue the corks in place, I originally thought that I needed something stronger than hot glue, so I tried using gorilla glue instead. Well this was a bit of a disaster because the glue doesn’t dry right away, it takes hours. And the darn little corks wouldn’t stay in place. And then the glue started drying and it started expanding. And expanding and expanding and puffing up all over the darn place where I didn’t want glue to puff up. So luckily I realized the disaster that this was before the outer corks had dried and was able to pull those off and start over. This time I simply used hot glue and it was just fine. I made sure to dab some on the middle of the cork, not just the bottom, so that the corks are glued both to the base but also to each other.
I love the natural simple cork look, and I made sure to turn the outside of each cork to the most interesting part, at least for the outer ring. However, for a fancier look you could choose to wrap a piece of fabric or ribbon around the outside. It could look really pretty to have only wine stained ends facing up, and then use a deep burgundy or a black and white ribbon around the outside. That’s what I love about this project, there are so many options!
I’m a bit worried that I’ll run out of fat corks, and if I really wanted to start producing these candlesticks in bulk I think I’d need to make friends with a liquor store or wine bar owner. But for now I have a good supply of corks left, and I am pretty happy with the result! I’ll have to see how quickly they ‘fly off the shelves’ on Etsy before I really start worrying about running out of corks. It could be interesting to try a design using only champagne corks, though their size might pose a problem. If they were large enough you might be able to get away with just one ring of corks, and still fill the whole candlestick base, but then again you might not. It would be a fun variation to try though!
Tomorrow is the beginning of the final week of my 30x30x3 project, and I’m very excited! I hope to have two amazing final projects for everyone, so make sure to check back and see what I have posted as the week progresses. And if you missed any part of my journey, make sure to check out my 30x30x3 Project Log!
Have a lovely first day of May everyone! Ciao, Allison