Monday, September 1, 2014

Wine Label Removal + a Display Idea

I am happy to present another guest post from my brother, Schuyler. He sent me a video of what he was up to this weekend and I knew you would love it!



It's always a pleasure to do a guest post for my sister! I had a blast writing about our family's holiday recipes and traditions last year (HERE).

During the 3-day weekend I found myself without plans. Honestly, who wants to fight all the traffic anyways (Oregon State & the University of Oregon BOTH had home games this weekend which pretty much kills I-5 & highway 99, the only two major highways that run through the Willamette Valley). Set out to be content at home for the weekend, I decided I needed to actually work on a few of those projects that I had always been talking about. You see, I was not lucky enough to inherit the crafty-amazingness gene that my sister has (sometime her skills make me sick; how does she get things to perfect!?!?!). It's quite easy for me to put things off by saying it won't be perfect. Motivated by two of the Twelve Commandments that Gretchen Rubin shares in her book The Happiness Project: Do it now and Enjoy the process, I set out to work on one of my projects and enjoy my weekend.


One thing to know about me that is essential to this blog post...I am a total wino! Yep! It's true. I live in the heart of amazing wine country. As a result, I have quite a few bottles of wine around my apartment. Most of which are the result of past wine club memberships and celebratory trips to local vineyards (great for birthdays!). One of my favorite parts of the wine experience is the wine label! Sometimes the wine label is one of the leading variables in my decision to buy a bottle or visit the vineyard. Some of them represent so much and are as much a piece of art as the wine in the bottle itself. I have always thought it is such a waste to toss the wine labels after you have an enjoyed a bottle of wine. For a while, I kept my favorite empty bottles on display. That is until my kitchen started to look like a sophisticated version of a college apartment; where empty alcohol bottles began to line the tops of kitchen cabinets and atop the fridge, serving as trophies to my memorable weekends. Ultimately, hanging onto bulky bottles was not efficient and was starting to look tacky.

Have you ever tried to remove a label from a glass bottle
though? The adhesive they use seems as strong as Superman. It can be nearly impossible. Nearly... After many teared attempts and some Google searching, I cracked the code! It is actually really simple. 

The experience resulted in some really cool ideas and this guest blog post. I hope you enjoy this project and come up with a cool use for your wine labels. Read through to the end to see what I did with all of mine.

1) First, gather your supplies! You will need your empty wine bottles, a towel, oven mitts, and an old paring knife. You will also want to have decided what you are going to do with your labels once they are removed. Use your imagination! Perhaps a wine journal, a display book, a canvas, a modge-podge, or other artistic display.



Not sure what you want to do with them? Place the labels on a sheet of wax paper. You can roll up the wax paper for minimal storage, and you can peel them back off later! 

2) Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Once your oven is preheated, place your empty wine bottles, label side up, on your oven rack. 

For this blog, I just used one bottle in the center of the upper oven rack. However, when I have a lot of wine bottles stored up, I will set them side by side in the oven on both racks. Put as many in the oven as can fit. The wire racks act like a cradle for the wine bottles, holding them in place. 


Make sure to place the bottles label side up so that the rack won't distort the label you want to display.

3) Let the bottles "cook" for 12-15 minutes. If you have trouble peeling off the labels (in the next step), let the bottles sit in the oven for a few more minutes. The heat from the oven is breaking down the adhesive that holds it to the glass bottle. Some labels need a few more minutes too.

While the bottles are cooking, place a towel or two on your counter top. The towel will keep the bottle from sliding around while you are working on it, as well as keep the heat off your counter.


4) Remove the bottle from the oven (be sure to use your oven mitts!). Place the wine bottle on the towel on your counter, label side up. 

5) With the bottle gripped firmly in one hand, pick up the paring knife in your other (I recommend the knife be in your dominant hand). Take the edge of the paring knife and very gently begin to pick at one corner of the label. You might have to try different angles with the knife. Sometimes I had to use the point, other times I used the blade's edge. Once you have enough of the label up, you can begin to peel the label off with your hand. Keep slow, steady even pressure against the label as you pull. If you use uneven pressure or jerk too quickly, the label will likely tear. If you find a sticky spot, use the knife to loosen it.


If you have a real stuck one, you might even have to switch over to the other side of the label and start removing it from that side as well.

6) Once you have a wine label removed, you can place it directly onto your master piece. There is enough sticky adhesive left on the label that it should stick to the surface of your project. If the surface is paper, expect that the wine label will curl the paper. Remember the the label has been on a round wine bottle. You can lay something heavy on it to flatten out, I used the bottom of a pint glass.

7) Repeat steps 4-6 for each wine bottle that you have in the oven. Once you are all done, bask in the glory of your art work!


I decided that I wanted to have a fun way to display all my cool wine labels that did not take up a lot of space and was also very clean looking. I did not want to do a lot of extra craft work so I found an old blank journal that I had lying around the house and created a display book out of it. I had only used one page (dated 2008) that said "This book is so amazing I hate to ruin it... maybe I'll save this one for the good stuff.. the real stuff." What better and more real than WINE! Who knew I was so deep and forward thinking my junior year of college!

Here's a few snap shots of my display book, and a short video. I actually sent this video my sister right after I created the book because I was so excited. I really wanted to show it off.


These steps should work for just about any label that is on a glass bottle. However, I have only tried it on wine labels. I did have TWO bottles where I was not successful in removing the label without tearing it. So be warned, it's always possible that the labels won't remove smoothly. But hey, 15 of my 17 bottles worked perfectly for me!


Here is the video I sent: (Note from Lea: It's my first attempt to include a video, so I hope it works okay.)


video

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