What to do with all those corks

Step 1 – Drink Wine / Save corks

With the dramatic advances in packaging technology over the last couple of decades wine bottles are less and less likely to actually have a removable cork, and even less likely that the cork is, well, cork. But If you’re a wine enthusiast (and if you’re here there’s a pretty good chance you are) there’s a good chance you’ve acquired some corks here and there over the years. So, let’s say you’ve actually kept those corks over the years (I’m not judging, I keep half-dead batteries, no idea why), instead of filling jars with them lets do something fun! Here’s a few simple crafty things you can do with your leftover corks (not all of these may work with plastic corks).

One more thing to keep in mind is that (depending on your taste) your wine corks may be stained (and they may smell). This is a great handy guide for easily bleaching the stains out of old corks.

Planter Magnets for Succulents

This is one of the easiest and most fun things to do with your old corks, and best of all you can do it with only a single one! The idea here is to make your corks into little planters for succulents or other hardy, slow growing plants.

All you have to do here is drill a hole about two thirds of the way through the cork (length-wise), add a bit of potting soil and you’re almost ready to go! Take a small cutting from your favorite plant, dip the cut end into some root grower and carefully transplant the cutting into your little cork pot. For added versatility use hot glue to add some dollar store magnets to the cork. Now you can hang the little guys on your refrigerator, white board, or really any metal surface.

Image from TheLogieShop on Etsy. In case, you know, you just wanna buy ’em!

Garden Markers

This one is so simple you likely never even considered it. All you have to do is pierce the cork with a wooden dowel or metal rod, write the name of the plant on the cork and there you go! Weatherproof garden marker. I almost didn’t include it on this list, but keep in mind that this will give you an excellent excuse to have a glass of wine while you’re weeding and watering.

Cork Garden Marker

Cork Garden Marker – image from birdsandblooms.com

Bulletin Board

This is a really useful craft project but keep in mind that it does take quite a number of corks (you know what to do). You will need about 40 wine corks for an 8 ½” x 11” board. You’re also going to need a piece of wood or cardboard the size of your board, clear adhesive glue, and probably a craft knife.

Once you’ve decided on the size of your backboard it’s really as simple as gluing the corks to the board. The only problem here is that corks don’t always have a uniform length – you may need to do some trimming with the craft knife to get a nice smooth surface. If you’re comfortable cutting the corks, you can also cut them in half to double the number of your cork supplies (what’s the fun in that?). When you have them placed how you like them, and the glue is dry you can paint the ends for an even more personal touch.

This board for sale from

Decorative Stamps

This craft is deceptively simple, it’s easy to do, but at least for me, it’s not easy to do well. The semi porous nature of natural cork works very well for this craft. I don’t know how well the plastic corks will hold up for this one, it’s also worth noting that sparking wine corks actually work best for this as they have a nice little handle for your stamp. There’s really not much to this one, using an x-acto or similar delicate hobby knife to cut your design into one end of the cork.

I recommend making your design at least ¼” tall to work optimally with most stamp pads. Now your design can be anything you like depending on your skill level (I tried to make a simple heart – it wasn’t something I ended up being proud of. The really cool thing about using natural cork for a stamp is that due to its organic nature, every stamp will have a unique pattern – no two will be the same!

wine cork stamp

Not Mine – image from favecrafts.com

Phone Stand

Though this is a more contemporary item than the others on this list, it’s also something everyone that has a phone (literally everyone) can use, and it will look excellent in any kitchen!

Two caveats here: 1) this really only works for a modern smartphone. If you’re still rocking a flip phone, you don’t need a stand for it anyway. And 2) not all phones these days are the same size so you may need to adjust the size if you have one of those monster half tablet things.

All you’re going to need for this is some corks (obvs), some glue (a hot glue gun is perfect) and a hobby knife. Start by gluing corks together side to side until you have something the same size as the dimensions of your phone (mine was about three). Once that has set, glue another cork at a 90º angle to the round ends of the first three, this will be the base of the stand.

To make the back of the holder glue six more corks in a 2×3 grid. While that dries, go back to the base and use your knife to cut a groove into the base about ¼” from the front. The groove should be at least ¼” deep and as wide as the width of your phone. For best results, cut your groove in at about a 72º angle. Finally, you will just need to glue the back to the base – again depending on the dimensions of your phone, this will vary, but generally attaching it to the end of the three corks just in front of the perpendicular cork is the way to go.

Watch a how-to video HERE

There’s obviously an infinite amount of other crafts you can make with your leftover corks (door stops, drawer handles, ornaments and coasters just to name a few). But at least now they’ve been put to use instead of sitting there reminding you to buy more wine.

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