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Robin Passovoy 2016-05-12 9:44am

37 colors of recyclable awesome
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I was asked to repost this here so that it wouldn't disappear back into the swamps of oblivion. I will also add my working notes for a more complete experience. Please note that some of the bottle-glass colors that I've tried do not appear in the pictures because they were pretty much the same as the ones that did.


The list of colors, starting from the clear are:

Sprecher's cream soda
Eimad A Reyka Vodka
Don Julio Blanco Tequila
Matua 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand
Kikusui Junmai Ginjo Sake
Bombay Sapphire Gin
Sake Pure Ozeki
Opala Vinho Verde, also found labeled as "Orlana"
Pinnacle Vodka
Bartenura Moscata
Saratoga Springs Water
Bawlz Guarana
Bud Lite Platinum
Welch's Sparkling White Grape Juice
(Some sort of Marsala, Didn't save the label, dammit)
Wandering Poet Rihaku Sake
Sprite Lemon-Lime
Costco brand Italian Volcano Lemon Juice
DHC Japanese Hair Tonic
Weinkellerei Romerhof Riesling
Loosen Brothers Riesling "Dr. L"
Brancott Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
Three-Buck Chuck Merlot
Trimbach & Ribeauville Riesling
Martinelli Sparkling Apple Cider
Monte Remellino Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castilvetro
The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil (sandalwood)
Bailey's Irish Cream (green)
Three-Buck Chuck Chardonnay
Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling
Greiskirchner Weiss Austrian Beer
Freixenet Champagne
Bronze (used frequently for white wines, that dark greenish brown)
Point Premium Root Beer
Bailey's Irish Cream (bronze)
Aladdin Bottle Fukushima no Sake (Nigorizake) It's hard to see from the picture, but it's a very nice pale pink. No kidding!

Robin Passovoy 2016-05-12 9:58am

The working notes
Here are my notes on working with the various bottle glasses, and a few warnings.
Firstly, beware of the pricier bottles, you know, the ones with the pretty color-shifting and anything that is painted or frosted. Those are usually clear with the fancy stuff printed on, and the frosting's usually just a coating of some sort of plasticky gunk. To find out whether or not you've got a genuinely etched bottle, scratch the bottom with a metal implement, preferably aluminum or brass. The nail-file portion of a fingernail trimmer is perfect. If the cloudiness comes off, it's coated. If your implement leaves a shiny metallic trail behind it, it's etched. To find out the true color of the bottle, look at any area that is not etched—the matte finish tends to be misleading. As for the painted ones, unless you've got really good ventilation, don't bother. The stuff that actually costs money is the slosh inside. The bottle's worth maybe five cents.
Secondly, be very careful how you break up the bottle! Those shards can and will cause serious injury if you don't take proper precautions.
Thirdly, do not mix the glass from different bottles together, even if they're the same color. Bottle manufacturers do not have to worry about getting a consistent COE from batch to batch and so there is a high risk of incompatibility.

And now, the fun part. Please note that my standard technique is to take a piece, melt it into a lump on the end of a steel punty, and then pull stringers from that. Any mention of “shocking” and “shattering” refers to how those pieces act when first introduced into the flame during the initial melting process. “Shocking” is when the glass cracks as it is introduced to the flame. “Shattering” is when it flies to pieces all over the bench.

Clear Glass

Sprecher's Cream Soda
A very good clear with no tinting, very soft and easy to work with. Does not shock or shatter much.

Light Cyan
Those bottles that have a faint bluish tint to them, often seen in bottles of white wine. While they are quite easy to work, they are also entirely indistinguishable from the glass from picture frames. (I use the frames for mounting mosaics.) Stick with the frame glass—less material, but often cheaper and more versatile.


Eimad A Island Reyka Vodka
Surprisingly well-behaved, even in chunks half an inch thick. Tends to devitrify a little which melts off fairly well in the flame, but it does scum somewhat. Does not snap even in thick stringers and is reasonably stiff and easy to work. A very pale aqua color, almost invisible unless in thick applications.

Don Julio Blanco Tequila
Soft and well-behaved even in big thick pieces, although there is some shattering if said pieces are heated too quickly. Does well as thick stringer and does not devitrify or scum. Color is a very pale aqua, slightly darker than Reyka, but much lighter than Opala. Works best in solid beads and other thick applications.

Matua 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand
Quite soft and easily worked, although the raw pieces tend to shatter if heated too quickly. Scums a little, but that burns off quickly. Needs to be worked a little cool but makes good bubbles if proper care is taken. Color is a very respectable pale aqua, firmly between Don Julio and Kikusui.

Kikusui Junmai Ginjo Sake
Another interesting find from Mitsuwa. A very nice light aqua. Does not scum or devitrify and is quite soft, although care should be taken to avoid air bubbles during pulling, since those will cause the stringers to snap like sugar candy. Needs to be worked very cool when making bubbles or else it will unbalance very easily.

Bombay Sapphire Gin
A very good deal here—those square bottles are double-thick, so you get a lot of glass out of one bottle. A little tricky to pull but otherwise well-behaved. A very nice light aqua that is similar to Moretti Light Aqua, but perhaps a bit lighter. Work it in an oxidizing flame and make sure that it's clean! Any dirt or smudging will show up very clearly.

Sake Pure Ozeki
A tad shocky but quite easy to work. The color is a shade darker than the Bombay Sapphire and doesn't burn, but it does tend to scum just a little. The color is most similar to CiM Pulsar, if a little lighter. Very nice!


Opala Vinho Verde, also found labeled as Orlana
Cranky, very prone to shock and shatter. Scums like a bog monster and is tricky to work. Worth it, though. The color is a pure pale azure, like blue lace agate—the real stuff, not the dyed rocks. Most similar to Vetrofond Blue Ocean Pale Transparent Odd.

Pinnacle Vodka
A bit shocky and devitrifies on the initial melting, but that burns off very quickly. Easy to work and quite well-behaved. The color is a fine medium-light true blue that's related to the Moscato, just several shades lighter. A lovely color that is most similar to CiM Carribean Ltd. Run.

Bartenura Moscata
Surprisingly well-behaved. Melts easily and does not shock much, quite easy to work. A very nice blue, one of my favorites, and the color is similar to CiM Sapphire.

Stiff, shocky, prone to shattering. Must be heated slowly and gently and drawn into thin stringers; thick ones tend to snap during use. Slightly darker than the Moscata, similar to CiM Azure. A very nice light cobalt. The bottles I used were old, however, and this color may no longer be in production.

Saratoga Springs Water
Doesn't shock or shatter much. A bit stiff but workable. Color is all but indistinguishable from the Perrier and is a good substitute. Easier to work with, too.

Bawlz Guarana
Knobbly bottles of liquid insomnia. Mostly corn syrup and caffiene—do not drink more than once a month unless you're a hardcore gamer, a programmer, or have to drive for ten hours straight. Not available in most stores for good and sufficient reason. A very stiff blue, shocks a bit and will shatter if heated too quickly. Tends to scum, although most of that burns off, and takes practice to balance in hollow beads. A good medium cobalt blue, though, not as dark as the Bud and darker than Saratoga. Worth the aggravation, especially in microbubbles.

Bud Lite Platinum
Lousy beer, great glass. Little in the way of shocking or shattering, but the stringers snap if air bubbles get caught in the initial mass. Reasonably easy to work, and the color is very good—a deep cobalt blue with a hint of violet. Very nice.

True Greens

Topo Chico mineral water
Surprisingly stiff, prone to shock and shatter, and a tad cranky if the stringers are drawn too thick. The color is a tiny bit greener than the picture frame glass and light cyan, and better yet, the color doesn't vary between bluish and greenish, but stays a reliable cyan. Very cheap, too—only 75 cents a bottle. The color is most similar to CiM Mojito, but perhaps a tiny bit grayer.

Another stiff pale green, shatters very easily; the initial melt is best done by layering small pieces. Quite workable even with thick stringers. The color is precisely the same as Topo Chico, and is probably the same glass. Not a bad thing, actually; Topo Chico's cheaper, but Coke is everywhere.

Welch's Sparkling White Grape Juice
Very soft and easy to work, no shocking or shattering. Work high in the flame because it will melt very quickly if not kept comparatively cool. Scums a little. The color is very close to Apple Green, but not as bright; sort of a pleasant mossy color. Most similar to Effetre Green Yellow Premium, but just a touch darker.

Apple Green
From a bottle of Marsala that I can't remember the brand of, drat it. Soft, easy to work, doesn't shatter much. A lovely color. Similar to Vetrofond Light Grass Green.

Wandering Poet Rihaku Sake
Drunken poets are great fun. The bottle is etched, but that effect doesn't last. The torch just firepolishes it back to shiny. A surprisingly easy green, hardly any shocking. Quite soft, so work it cool. The color is very similar to Apple Green, but just a bit more intense.

Sprite Lemon-Lime
Those odd bottles with the dimples. Quite stiff, shatters if heated too quickly. Devitrifies a bit, but that burns off quickly. Can be pulled thick without having to worry about the stringers snapping. Color is a tiny bit darker than Apple Green—almost indistinguishably so, actually. In some lights, it's also slightly more intense a green than Rihaku as well. A good substitute for a brand that I will probably never find again.

Costco brand Italian Volcano Lemon Juice
Stiff but well-behaved, little shocking or shattering. Best handled in small amounts. A fine clear grass green, similar to Vetrofond Dark Grass Green.

DHC Japanese Hair Tonic
A small etched bottle with printed lettering. Sandpaper takes most of that off. A small bottle, but the walls are thick. Shatters a bit. A tad stiff to work but performs well in thick and thin applications, although it does tend to snap if heated too quickly. A very respectable true green with perhaps the tiniest hint of blue; the color is most similar to CiM Emerald City Ltd. run.

Weinkellerei Romerhof Riesling 2010
Very stiff and prone to shattering, and the stringers snap when drawn too thick. Quite a hard glass, but good in hollows. Color is a true dark emerald green without any of the yellow or brown overtones of the olivines. Most similar to Effetre Transparent Dark Emerald Green.

Loosen Brothers 2010 Riesling “Dr. L”
Counted among the greens only by default. Very stiff, shocks a bit, but is otherwise easy to work. Color is a true green teal, but with enough cobalt in it to make that a topic of discussion between purists. Most similar to Effetre Teal Dark Premium Transparent, or perhaps CiM Leaky Pen, only lighter.


Brancott Estate (New Zealand) Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Fancy name, boring wine. A little stiff, but it doesn't shock much, even the thick pieces, and doesn't shatter. Quite workable stuff even in a thick stringer. Color is a very interesting yellow-green that is related to the Chardonnay; olivine, but much lighter than the Monte Remellino. Most similar to Effetre Green Yellow Transparent, only yellower and darker.

$3 Chuck Merlot
Very stiff but otherwise well-behaved, little shocking or shattering. Darker and more olivine than the Lemon Juice and quite attractive. Color is similar to Devardi Light Olive Green.

Trimbach & Ribeauville Riesling 2007
Doesn't shock much and is only a little stiff. Works well in thin or thick stringers. A good strong dark emerald, only slightly olivine, very, very similar to $3 Chuck. Perhaps a tiny bit stronger in color.

Martinelli Sparkling Apple Cider
Well-behaved but slow to melt and stiff to work. Not much shocking. A tad darker and more olivine than the Merlot. Turns dark quickly when laid down thickly. Color is similar to Devardi Olive Green.

Monte Remellino Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castilvetro
Impressive name, decent wine. This glass is also found containing less ostentatious red and white wines, and is often seen in olive oil bottles. A little shocky, somewhat stiff. A very decent olive-drab green, similar to the CiM Algae Ltd run.

The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil (sandalwood)
A very small bottle, but an interesting shape. Very stiff and slow to melt, but very well-behaved—no shocking or shattering, and pulls easily. Very easy to work as hollows, and is a very nice medium piney grayish-green. Very nice!

Bailey's Irish Cream
Somewhat cranky and prone to shattering. Very stiff and needs to be worked very thin if any color is to be seen at all, even in direct sunlight. A superdark green that can be used as a substitute for black, or in very small spacers.


$3 Chuck Chardonnay
Very cranky and prone to shattering. Must be heated with care. Worth it, though; the resulting beads look like drops of good-quality olive oil, gold with just a hint of green in it. Color is similar to Effetre Transparent Yellow.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling (Columbia Valley) 2010
Actually drinkable, but not as good as the Loosen Bros. A bit shocky but otherwise well-behaved. Best in thin stringers, as they snap when too thick. Markedly lighter than Bronze, and a bit more golden. More closely related to the Chardonnay, in fact, than in the darker bronze or the Grieskirchner. A very interesting antique gold color, most similar to CiM Maple, only greener.

Grieskirchner Weiss Austrian Beer
Melts easily with very little shocking, quite easy to work. The color is a fine golden brown, like dark honey; very similar to bronze but without the green tone. Most similar to CiM Maple, but browner.

Freixenet champagne
Very soft and easy to work despite being so thick-walled a bottle—up to 1/4” in places! Etching smooths out with no residue, very little shocking. Color is extremely similar to the Grieskirchner, which is good, since that stuff's a Whole Foods specific and Freixenet can be found at any supermarket. In thin-walled hollow beads, the color is all but identical; in thicker-walled ones, the color is slightly darker and browner. Quite interesting.

A very common color in wine bottles, usually for white wines. It's that sort of brown with a hint of green in it. Cranky, stiff, and shocky, but good for spacers and hollows. Color is most similar to Devardi Golden Smoke.

Point Premium Root Beer
A little shocky, but fairly easy to melt and is quite well-behaved in stringer form. The color is all but identical to the Sprecher's, but much easier to work.

Sprecher's Root Beer
Very stiff and slow to work, and a tad shocky. Work in small amounts. A classic rich brown, but it goes very dark very quickly the thicker it's worked. Color is similar to Effetre Dark Transparent Brown, but probably darker than that.

Bailey's Irish Cream
A very dark bronze. Very thick, slow, and sticky, and it cools and goes solid very fast. Another superdark, use it as a substitute for black, since it goes black and stays black even when used for very small spacers. Only under direct sunlight and in very thin applications can the color be seen.


Aladdin Bottle Fukushima no Sake (Nigorizake)
Surprisingly stiff and prone to shattering, stringers can be drawn reasonably thick without snapping. Color is an extremely delicate rose pink, stronger than the Champagne aquarium gems and rosier than the Spectrum Pink/White Wispy. Very nice! It's a shame that the bottles are so small and that the stuff inside them might as well be nail-polish remover. Very similar to Devardi Medium Light Champagne Rose.

Robin Passovoy 2016-05-12 10:07am

Just to clarify things, when I talk about making "bubbles" intentionally, I mean hollow beads. Sorry if I confused you.

joey 2016-05-12 1:29pm

Thanks for sharing your recycled glass adventure. Vodka Sky Blue is another great cobalt. I have found some old glass plates that also melt beautifully.

beadmama 2016-05-12 1:44pm


Thank you for sharing your in depth information on the recycle glass. I've been collect some empty wine bottle myself to make some beads with, I just haven't started yet. I found one bottle in a slate blue. I will check out the name and post it his weekend.


one hot beader 2016-05-12 3:15pm

Sapphire Gin, and thrift shop old coloured depression glass in green, pink and harlequin sets are also great sources of coloured glass.

I have a set of goblets in six different colours I'm hoarding against the day I break them. (they are too pretty and in perfect condition to break them for beads just yet)

like these

kansassky 2016-05-12 4:33pm

My very favorite glass to recycle is from old Ball (or Mason) canning jars. Beautiful!!!!!

glass butterfly 2016-05-12 4:57pm

I have some pretty cobalt blue wine bottles that I've been collecting to make beads someday. Lydia

artwhim 2016-05-12 8:00pm

Excellent information! What temperature do you anneal?

Robin Passovoy 2016-05-12 8:55pm

I anneal bottle glass at 955 degrees for several hours. From what I've been able to find out, the COEs range roughly from the high 80's to 90. It seems to work; some of the beads on that string of bubbles have been there for years without cracking, and I haven't had any trouble from more solid pieces either. As for large pieces, well... I haven't tried to make anything larger than about 1 1/2", so proceed with caution.

knittyditty 2016-05-13 3:38am

What's your favorite way to break the bottles into usable pieces?

knittyditty 2016-05-13 3:40am

Have you ever tried Carnival Glass? It has all the metallic sheen?


lotusbunny2009 2016-05-13 8:27am

What's the best way to remove labels?

Robin Passovoy 2016-05-13 9:43am

I roll up bottles in a plastic garbage bag, place them on a concrete surface, and then hit them with a hammer to break them up. Very cathartic, but unwrapping requires care and tweezers.

Most iridizing treatments, except for what you'll find on fusible glass, don't survive in the flame very well. I've tried it with iridized aquarium gems and stained glass scrap, and that pretty coating vanishes almost immediately.

Removing labels can be tricky; Sometimes they're printed directly onto the glass and can be impossible to remove, which is why I avoid those. Plastic labels are easy, they just peel off. Paper labels take hot water, soap, and elbow grease to remove. If the stickum holding the labels on refuses to come off, I use a dab of "Goo Gone", which is basically orange oil, to get rid of it.

GlassGalore 2016-05-13 10:44am

This is a seriously awesome thread. Thank you SO much, Robin, for sharing this info. I have a few bottles that I've begged, pilfered and picked up off the side of the road with the intent of melting into beads, but had no idea how to best approach it. Thank you again!

dla 2016-05-13 12:17pm

Yes, removing the labels is a pain however worth the effort. What's hard to remove is the glue. Best way to get rid of that - vegetable oil or olive oil then scrubbing it off. I put the oil on a scrub daddy and go to town but any scrubbie type thing will work. Then wash is all off with regular dish soap and water. :)

Teri.p 2016-05-13 12:53pm


Originally Posted by dla (Post 4849135)
.... vegetable oil or olive oil then scrubbing it off....

Great tip;, Debbie! I don't have any goo gone, but I do have olive oil already, so I can get started right away. Thanks to Robin, too.:love:

glvz 2016-05-13 4:27pm

Wow! What a lot of information!.. Thanks for sharing,Robin.


banjolina 2016-05-14 4:54pm

Try using the hair dryer to remove labels. Also bumper stickers. It's all we use at our house.

truegem 2016-05-20 5:36am

I am beyond impressed!

rainygrrl 2016-05-21 11:07am

Robin, thank you for your generosity in sharing all this information!!

maren 2016-05-21 11:01pm

Great thread, thanks Robin!

Swirleigh 2016-05-23 10:24am

This is wonderful information and great timing for me! I started melting blue BAWLS Guarana bottles last week, and this weekend I got into my mothers green depression glass collection, and found a big crack in a large tray I was eventually able to talk her out of.

But, is there a health risk using the old glass? I've learned that the green depression glass and Vaseline glass have uranium in it. Now, I'm weary of using it, even though I totally love the thought of giving the beautiful broken pieces a new life.

knittyditty 2016-05-23 5:50pm

I'm really interested in your results with the depression glass. That is the old shiney glass I referred to earlier in the thread.

Please let us know....

Robin Passovoy 2016-05-24 9:12am

Another good source of cool recyclables is Pier 1, so long as you're careful about painted glassware. All sorts of cool stuff turns up on the clearance racks, and since their blown-glass stuff is generally poorly-annealed 96 COE (particularly the drinking glasses), you can get some use out of them before they break. I've made some very nice marbles from their busted drinkware--my personal favorite was the purple-shaded crackle martini glasses, which comes up in filmy sheets like sheer silk. For a while, I'd even managed to coax the manager of my local store to let me sort through their breakage bin for free goodies. That lasted until someone tattled to upper management, and they stopped that for fear that I'd nick a pinkie and try to sue them.

Teri.p 2016-06-15 6:51am

Here's my first FatCat made from recycled glass. Used to be a Bud Premium, or whichever is the pretty cobalt blue. It did take me a long time, which I'm hoping experience will shorten. He's also devitrified except for his tail and ears, and I'm sure that's because of the way I work the glass before it's pressed into the cat shape.

I'd had the bottle on my windowsill for a long time - thanks to Robin for the nudge!

Robin Passovoy 2016-06-15 9:14am

Looks grand, devitrification and all. Come on, people, post more pics! I want to see what you've been doing with your empties! Hmm, might see about posting some of my own, too...

Trish915 2016-06-17 11:49am

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Recycled bottle beads are some of my favorites to create and some of my best sellers at craft shows! I love your variety of bottles... Will have to look for more.

Trish915 2016-06-17 11:52am

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Looks like I can only add one pic at a time from my iPad... But here are a few more....

Trish915 2016-06-17 11:57am

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Another Coke

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