I’m always looking for ways to upcycle glass bottles (here’s where I get them all!), and I always welcome the addition of more pretty things hanging around the house, so you’ll be unsurprised to learn that my latest obsession is turning these old glass bottles and a variety of purchased and found items into suncatchers.
My house sprawls a bit, and suffers from a dearth of windows that the sun can shine in, so I especially enjoy the way that suncatchers share out whatever direct sunlight does find its way inside.
This tutorial would also work to make an outdoor suncatcher, although you’ll need to be more mindful of your materials. The metal jump rings that I’m using, for instance, are a little thin to withstand much weathering, and I’d use something stronger–ideally something that could withstand rust better–if I wanted to place my suncatcher outdoors.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own upcycled glass bottle suncatcher:
- glass bottle. You want a bottle with pretty thick walls, like the vintage Coca-Cola hobble skirt bottle I’m using, for this project.
- glass cutting and drilling tools. It’s diamond bits all the way, Baby! I use an old-school Dremel with a diamond cutting wheel and a diamond glass cutting drill bit.
- upcycled, found, and purchased embellishments. There are SO MANY awesome options for embellishing your suncatcher! You could use twine, wire, chain, or jump rings for the hanging parts; beads, pendants, drilled corks or bottle caps, or interesting rocks for the stopper; and mosaic glass, glass beads, crystals, or mirror pieces for the suncatcher parts. Or would mirror bits cause a fire? I guess try it and let me know!
Step 1: Cut the bottom off your glass bottle.
Follow my glass cutting tutorial to cut the bottom off your bottle. Make something else with that beautiful glass bottle bottom!
Don’t skimp on sanding and rounding the edges of this cut, even though the suncatcher is meant only to look at. Nobody wants to reach out to touch something pretty and get bitten for their effort!
Step 2: Drill holes around the bottom of the bottle’s cut edge.
Follow my tutorial for drilling through glass. My secret weapons are a diamond drill bit and plenty of water!
However many holes you decide to drill, space them evenly around the circumference of the bottle to help you distribute the weight of your hanging elements.
Step 3: Add the center chain.
You can add the chain that your glass bottle suncatcher will hang from a couple of different ways. You could drill a hole through the neck of the glass bottle, then loop wire or a chain through that hole.
I fed the hanging chain through the bottle’s neck, however, then I put a stopper onto the end of the chain. I used a wood bead and a wire ball, but other easy options would be a cork with a hole drilled through it for the chain, sea glass or an interesting rock wire-wrapped onto the end, or a bottle cap with a hole drilled for a jump ring.
Step 4: Add the decorative suncatcher elements.
Here’s where the project gets really fun! Anything glass or sparkly, prismatic or mirrored, makes a wonderful addition to a suncatcher. Lacking the estate sale beaded glass chandelier of my dreams, I bought some rainbow glass beads, some clear glass beads, and some larger pendant-style glass prisms. This was plenty of beads for my kids and I to make a whole set of upcycled glass bottle suncatchers, especially when interspersed with other interesting glass beads and bits and bobs from my stash.
I used two jump rings to connect my beads to the glass bottle, but you could also wire the hanging elements to the bottle.
Suncatchers are so fun partly because you can never completely predict how its prisms will explode light and color when the sunlight touches them. This upcycled glass bottle suncatcher now hangs in my family room, in the perfect spot to catch the setting sun and send little rainbows dancing all around the room.
It happens every evening, and it’s always delightful!