Full disclosure: This is not an original idea. As Internet lore goes, some inspired folks saw twine-adorned bottles offered by retailers at, well, retail prices and devised methods to copy the look. The instructions that follow have minor tweaks to those offered elsewhere.
Kudos to whoever came up with the idea – the concept is great for the holiday season. A set of bottles with twine netting or even a single vase can make an excellent holiday gift. Consider:
▪ It’s handmade – OK, it’s hand embellished.
▪ It’s cheap. You likely already own a bottle or vase. Some twine (including that used on the bottle pictured) costs less than $4 a roll, enough to cover a few bottles. Hit a dollar store and you could score a vase AND twine for half that!
▪ It’s easy (once you get the hang of making the knot).
Basically, all you need is a bottle and some twine. OK, so you’re going to need a few more things. But if you don’t happen to own the items listed below, and you don’t want to buy them, borrow them from a crafty friend. Or from a crafty friend of a friend.
If tying twine into knots isn’t your thing, you can instead try one of these ideas: Decorate only the lower portion of the bottle. With what? Glad you asked: a piece of lace, fabric or burlap. Or decorate the bottom using twine simply wrapped and glued as on the neck of the vase pictured. Or try a combination – wrap twine around the neck and bottom of the bottle and paint the midsection with chalk paint, making it perfect for witty scribblings or numbers. Gift a set with some chalk (also available at a dollar store) as place setters or centerpieces. See? Perfect!
The project as pictured is best done over a day or two to allow for ample drying time. For the bottle as pictured, here’s what you’ll need:
▪ Vase or bottle
▪ Twine or rope
▪ Adhesive: decoupage glue or spray adhesive. Both were used at different times in the process, but spray adhesive can leave a sticky residue on the bottle, so be careful to spray only the twine – not the bottle – when using it.
▪ Glue gun (with glue sticks, of course – but you’ll likely not go through more than two glue sticks)
▪ Tape measure and a pair of scissors
▪ Optional: plastic gloves to keep glue off your fingers
Instructions: These are intentionally not numbered to keep you from hyperventilating over the number of numbers in the instructions. There is a fair amount of explanation included, which greatly adds to the length. Really.
Create the loop
Measure the neck of the bottle at the base and cut a piece of twine to fit, but not too tightly. Overlap the ends about 1/8 of an inch. Secure the ends together with glue. Once the glue has cooled to the touch, press the ends together and place the piece on the bottle. This piece is hereby referred to as the loop.
Create the strands
Measure the bottle’s length and multiple that number by at least 3, depending on the size of the bottle and how close the knots will be. The closer the knots, the more strands needed. For the bottle shown, the length was multiplied by 4. How many strands are needed? For the bottle shown, 16 strands were cut.
In the following step, each strand is folded in half, essentially doubling the number of strands. Generally speaking, fewer strands will create a looser weave. The number of strands also depends on the thickness of the twine and the size of the bottle. A smaller bottle could take fewer strands. Thicker twine also could also require fewer strands. Eyeball it and go with your gut.
Attach the strands to the loop
Fold a single strand in half (you’re doubling it), and pinch the folded center (the indentation in the strand marks the center). Slide the folded center behind the loop. Pull the folded center over the loop an inch or two to create a hole and feed the two hanging strands through the hole to form a loose knot whose shape will resemble a heart. Continue to pull the strands to tighten the knot. You now have two strands hanging from a knot at the top of the loop, as seen in photo 2.
Adjust the knot to fit snugly at top of the loop, but don’t overly tighten the knot, as you may need to slide a few strands to make slight adjustments once all the strands are attached. Repeat this step with each strand. Space the strands equally around the loop and pull strands to tighten.
Create the netting
Based on the size of the bottle and the desired look, determine the size of the diamond shapes to be created. This is often determined by where you want the knots to fall on the bottle. These diamonds and knots form the netting. For the vase pictured, the length of the strands is roughly 2 inches from knot to knot, creating triangles roughly 2 inches in size that eventually form 4-inch diamonds. (See photo 3.)
Determine the desired location of the first knot. Note: While these instructions read as separate steps, before long, you’ll be doing them in one fluid motion.
Pick up one strand hanging from the knot on the right and one strand from the knot on the left. Holding them together in your non-dominant hand – I am right-handed, and therefore used my left hand – you’ll see a V-shape. Adjust your grip up or down the strands depending on where you want the knots to be on the bottle. In the vase pictured, I aimed for 2 inches of twine between each knot – in other words, a 2-inch V-shape.
Hold the strands between the thumb and forefinger, with the middle finger pressed close to the forefinger for support. With the opposite hand (my right), take the strands behind the middle and forefingers, wrap the strands over the ring finger, lift your thumb slightly, spread your middle and ring fingers apart, creating an opening, and slide the strands through it with the right hand. Use the left fingers to pull the strands through the opening. Use your dominant hand to slowly pull the strands downward. A knot will begin to form. Adjust the knot’s placement and tighten.
Repeat around the bottle, double checking to ensure accurate space, adjusting the knots as necessary. That’s your first row.
The second row of V’s and knots forms the triangle shape. Continue creating rows, double checking measurements, until your last row.
Netting created for the last row doesn’t have to be exactly the same size as the upper rows. But it is important that the knots end at – or even slightly above – the bottom edge of the bottle. This enables the bottle to sit flat. Complete the last row. The remnants of the strands will hang from the bottle.
Start the bottom
With the bottle on its side, glue a portion of each pair of strands to the bottle’s bottom, toward the center, making sure that the knots do not touch the bottom as you pull the strands underneath the bottle, as seen in photo 5. Do not glue the strands completely into the center of the bottle. You are gluing a maximum of just a few inches of the strands (depending on the size of the bottle’s bottom) and a good portion of the strands should dangle, and most the bottle’s center should be exposed once this step is complete.
In the next step, you’ll create the bottom cover with twine. Picture the bottle’s bottom as a clock, gluing strands at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock, then perhaps glue strands at 4, 11, 2 and 7 o’clock. Continue gluing from opposite sides until all the strands are attached.
Cut the excess strands and apply decoupage glue to ensure adhesion. (Depending on the width of the bottle’s neck, you may be able to use the excess strands to wrap the neck, if you choose to decorate that area). Again, a good portion the bottle’s bottom center should be exposed.
Create the base
Using twine on the roll, start to wrap a small, flat circle with your fingers, adhering the circle with either decoupage glue, spray adhesive or a combination. Once the circle is roughly the size of a nickle, adhere it to the bottom center of the bottle. Do not cut the twine from the roll. Continue wrapping strands around the circle, making sure there are no gaps between the strands. Use decoupage glue liberally throughout this process to hold the circle in place. If it is messy, you are likely doing it right.
Continue forming the circle and gluing it in place until it abuts the knots at bottle’s bottom edge, as seen in photo 6. Make sure there are no gaps in the circle and that it is as flat as possible, so that the bottle will stand.
Apply decoupage glue over the entire area. Turn bottle upside down or place it on its side and allow to dry, preferably for a few hours, if not overnight, depending on the amount of adhesive applied.
Once dry, the bottle is complete unless you choose to apply twine to the neck.
Decorate the neck
If you want to add twine to the neck, you’ll work your way up the neck from the loop at the neck’s base. Using either the remnants of the twine cut from the bottle’s bottom or twine remaining on the roll, wrap a piece of twine as close as possible to the loop, using decoupage glue or spray adhesive, and try not to leave a gap, as in photo 8. Continue until you’ve reached the top of the bottle. Cut the twine.
Apply more decoupage glue. Allow to dry completely. A lightweight decorative element – a lone earring, interesting button or silk flowers, for example – can be glued to the bottle’s neck or randomly to the knots or twine to complete the look.
Ruby L. Bailey: 916-321-1200