Apothecary: bottles and jars

Of all the items I’ve made so far, jars and bottles have proved to be the most difficult. Mostly because I wanted a lot of them, in a variety of shapes and sizes. In the end I found a way to make transparent ‘glass’ jars without using resin (which I have never used, and is really expensive), and opaque ‘glass’ bottles.

For the bottles and some jars, I used air dry clay.

For the bottle seen below, I started with a small lump, about the size of a grape. I rolled it into a cylinder, flattened it, cut away clay to form the neck of the bottle, then shaped it in more detail.


I used acrylic paint for many of the bottles, in this case mixing up a dark green. to give it a glassy appearance, like coloured glass, or ceramic enamel, I covered it in two coats of clear nail varnish. The longer each coat of varnish is left to dry the better.

for some bottles, painted more natural earthy hues, I skipped the varnish stage, adding a bit of variety to the collection.


To complete the details, I made a label, glued a few coils of thick brown thread around the neck of the bottle, and made a stopper by painting a small disk of cork and glueing it to the top of the bottle.

Below is a different bottle closure I devised for longer necked bottles. As you can see from the first image, I cut slices from a champagne cork, and made tiny disks (roughly the same diameter as the bottle opening) using a leather hole punch. In some instances, as above, I coloured the cork with felt tip colours, but below I left it uncoloured.

Next, I cut a thin strip of tan sugar paper, covered it with glue, then, placing the cork disk at one edge, rolled it up in the paper as tight as possible. While still wet, I slipped the open end of the paper cylinder over the top of the bottle to make sure it would fit, and to make any necessary adjustments. Once satisfied, I applied glue to the inside of the cylinder and fixed it to the bottle.

bottle_cork tops

In my next post I’ll go over how to make transparent ‘glass’ jars without using resin.



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