How can I reuse or recycle wine corks?

CorksAnother suggestion from SaraR:

Hi guys. Thanks for the great ideas for what to do with the leftover coffee – I told one of my colleagues and now she’s taking it home to use on her garden.

Anyway, I have another one for you based on another of my naughty addictions – red wine. We have a number of cork-corks and plastic-corks lying around the house and add to the number regularly, but I don’t know what to do with them. Do you have any ideas?

We’re not wine drinkers so we don’t have much call to reuse or recycle wine corks or the plastic synthetic equivalents so any suggestions for SaraR would be very useful indeed.

I know there are a number of popular wine cork crafts – most commonly noticeboards or trivets – anyone got any specific favourites?

Best Suggestions

  • Reduce: If you brew your own wine, consider reusing old screw top bottles – the range of wine available with screw tops has increased dramatically over the last few years so you’re sure to know someone who can save some bottles for you.
  • Reuse: Slice up real cork wine corks and use them to make noticeboards and trivets or pop them under wobbly table legs. Alternately, use them at the bottom of plant pots to aid drainage.
  • Recycle: Lots of organisations collect cork-corks and synthetic corks. See the comments below for some addresses.
  • See the comments below for more suggestions and ideas

(Awesome photo by xml, c/o sxu.hu)

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128 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle wine corks?”


  1. frangipan says:

    Hi, Just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for the corks I have recently receieved, not sure who to thank as there was no note, so I hope you see this message
    Thank you, very much appreciated
    Kind Regards
    frangipan@hotmail.co.uk

  2. Anonymous says:

    you can make it to be a mobile pendant

  3. Tarah says:

    We’re reusing corks as food label holders. We slice off about 1/4 lengthwise so that it sits flat. Then we slice down 1/2 way into the middle and again just a smidgen over to make a slit along it. Then, simply print out food labels on business cards (or handwrite on the back of old business cards) and wedge them into the slit. Also handy as place card holders.

    • Andreaaaaaah says:

      gosh, some of these tips and ideas are sooo clever.. I thought I came from a pretty clever and creative background and living but you all have some amazing ideas! Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. mary lou says:

    A friend is collecting corks (We enjoy emptying the bottles in her behalf). She has an old end table that has sentimental value for her. The table is showing its age and rather than sell or toss, she is making a design with prepainted corks in different colors. This can also serve as a trivet.

  5. Gulia says:

    Decorate with htem small Christmas tree. :)

  6. Gulia says:

    Wrap in pretty fabric, tie with ribbons to make decorative pillow for a doll.

  7. Gulia says:

    Make original handles for your furniture.

  8. Dorothy says:

    You could slice them in half either way and fix inside an old picture frame to make a unique cork notice board to pin all those important messages.

  9. Grant says:

    I find them frequently. My friend uses them to perfect her whittlin’ skills. I am going to ask her to make me a chess set.

  10. Wendy says:

    I have a pattern saved from a magazine for a kangaroo, with a joey glove-puppet in its pouch. I make it (out of re-used fabric) whenever I have enough corks, because the pattern includes an Australian hat with corks hanging from it. I donate the toy to charity shops where it is very popular, the corks make an attractive “gimmick” which helps it to sell.

  11. Lyn says:

    Are there any UK companies who would like to re-cycle our wine corks -apparently there are in the USA.

  12. I made a simple and much needed tool holder for my desk. See pictures here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/urbanwoodswalker/4543547205/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/urbanwoodswalker/4544179648

    Its great for the really delicate tools I use daily, and I was tired of the tools “hiding” under my cluttered mess.

  13. Steph says:

    I collect cork-corks from my friends. After I have about 350 to 400 corks, I make a wreath.

    I get a 12 inch straw wreath form, a box of tooth picks and my glue gun. I put a tooth pick into the hole left by the cork screw in each cork. When I have a bunch ready, I then add a blob of hot glue from the glue gun and then push the toothpick into the wreath. The tooth pick helps stabilize the cork and the glue keeps it in place. By having all the corks on end, the whole wreath reminds me of a hedge hog. The wreaths are pretty substantial in size but really lovely in their simplicity. This method also leaves the end of the cork which came into contact with the wine facing out. You get a nice variation in colors from the ones stained by the red wine.

    Four wreathes have been made this way for friends so far. Now I’m saving up to make one for myself.

  14. I actually created a wonderful tool holder shown here:

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Tool-Holder-Pin-Cushion/

    I have also seen frames covered in corks

  15. kerri says:

    My family went fishing while at our camp, but forgot the bobbers. My husband thought of the plastic cork and guess what?? Good as a bobber.

  16. Artos says:

    this is daft!

    Put them in your garden compost and be done with them. Alternately, look for screw-cap wine; good stuff comes without cork these days as well. I want to save the world too but people laugh at this stuff!!

  17. Artos…no one I know “laughs at this stuff” If you don’t enjoy recycling, or creatively upcyling…don’t bother with this group!

    Not all corks are compostable….only the natural corks are. The other type is plastic and will never be good for the ground or environment.

    Insensitive comments make me angry!

  18. Roger says:

    For wine cork recycling check out http://www.recork.org. You will be pleasantly surprised.

  19. Terry J. says:

    Corks look great surrounding my potted bayleaf shrub – they act as mulch but are much nicer to look at than bark etc. (I only use real cork not plastic ones.) They don’t go black and mouldy, either.

  20. Medeea says:

    These came handy when we got fed up with our bed grid – the thing that supports the mattress. It is made of 2 rows, with some space between them.
    We cut a cork in slices and placed them as separators. No more moving, no more rearranging the mattress!

    Another use: sliced, under the chairs, to stop scratching the floor.

    • Maura says:

      I use cork to level wobbly chairs and tables. Just slice into disks of desired thickness. We also had a glass-top table that rattled every time someone walked past it, so sliced some cork and placed it between the glass and the frame– no more rattling!!

  21. Sylvia says:

    I once saw a home near Ashton, in Canada, where one whole wall and the inside of a door were designed using recycled corks. A unique design was created by gluing them onto the entire surface, then the effect was further enhanced by painting them…I suppose that you could pin buttons into the corks and create an entirely different look. I say they were glued in..but perhaps some type of cement was used.

  22. Theresa says:

    My boyfriend was taking the old transmission out of his 1983 Jeep truck and my contribution was to suggest using a wine cork as a plug to keep the old transmission fluid from spilling all over. It was just the right size and he didn’t make a huge mess all over the garage floor.

  23. patsy whiteside says:

    We use corks and plastic corks in the bottom of large pots in the garden. They reduce the weight if the pot has to be moved, allow drainage and leave room for the plants’ roots. You need to fill about a quarter of the pot with corks to get a good result. You can also use plastic bottles with the caps on for the same purpose. They reduce the weight of the pot but are not as good for drainage and root space.

    • Rose says:

      We use natural corks for potting orchids instead of orchid soil. The roots wrap around the corks and provide great aeration.

  24. Send them to me! I do lots of art projects with them!
    Email me at Rich010@bama.ua.edu and I’ll send you my mailing address.

  25. maree says:

    cut in half lengthwise & glued down on piece of plywood – however big you want it. Then frame with washed up timber planks/boards from the beach – the more randomly shaped the more rustic looking. I frame the board first then fill in with corks & cut them to shape to fit the frame. I try to have the winery name showing outwards. Oh, this makes an awesome noticeboard or for photos & still looks good if its empty.

  26. Kelly zakrajsek says:

    I hot glue corks together in a square shape of various sizes to make hot mats for hot pans or bowls.

  27. Grace Filkins says:

    Besides getting crafty and making pin boards or tables or even cool initials from corks you can also use them in your garden. Just throw them in the blender and chop them up till they are real fine, then add them to your potted plants. They are great at holding water and will help you reduce the waterings for your plants. Although it does take a lot of corks to achieve this.

  28. Ann Connors says:

    I made wine glass markers, napkin rings, and holder for the wine markers and a oen holder with corks.
    I sliced them with my scroll saw so I had 1/4 disks- drilled a hole in the top- threaded wire through the hole and strung seed beads (about 6 on each side) then curled each end- to make wine glass markers- the guest just writes there name on the cork. Then drilled a hole in the top of a cork large enough to hold a pen and stuck a pen in the hole sos it was available for the guests to write there name-
    Took 3 corks glued then around a dowel and strung all the wine markers on the dowel to keep them organized.
    then I also drilled a hole horizontally through the corks strung raffia through the hole- and used these as napkin rings leaving hte cork on top wrapping the raffia around the napkin and tying a knot at the side of the cork looking cute.

  29. Olia says:

    They are good for storing needles.

  30. Olia says:

    When wrapping coins, first batch often falls down crookedly. To avoid this, insert wine cork into the bottom of coin tube, then lower first batch onto the cork. Slowly remove cork, and seal bottom of the tube.

  31. Olia says:

    Cut the wine corks into short cylinders or slices to cover numbers while playing Bingo.

  32. Olia says:

    -Insert a smooth wooden stick through the cork, and use as tiny dough or clay roller. Well, may be your child can.

  33. Olia says:

    Make theatrical prop – fake cigar. Take two corks, wrap and glue brown paper on them.

  34. Olia says:

    Drill two halls and use as giant buttons on a coat, curtains, etc.

  35. Olia says:

    Make halls in the sides of corks, string together with elastic. Make several raws and connect together. Now this “coat’ you can wear around wine bottle to prevent accidental breakage.

  36. Olia says:

    Soak cork in kerosine and then stick into hall in the ground where mole lives. The smell will drive root-eater away.

  37. Olia says:

    Make out of them toes separator for accurate pedicure.

  38. Olia says:

    To place keyboard on a comfortable angle, glue two corks under one side of it.

  39. Olia says:

    Paint them in glow-in-a-dark paint, and glue to the ceiling , forming stars and the moon.

  40. ducky says:

    you can use cork to make knife handles, put different colored cork slices on the tang of the blade then add glue before sliding on the next. then you sand it to get a nice grip shape. it makes a soft handle that doesn’t hurt your hand when whittling/carving a lot and it looks great.

  41. Ann Mosedale says:

    Put corks in amongst newspaper when lighting a fire. They burn well.

  42. Mary Anne says:

    Since natural cork lasts forever, and is now being replaced by synthetic cork stoppers, I could never burn them! They have so many other uses.

  43. Ernie says:

    I use old corks from wine bottles to cap the tops of my stakes in my garden to stop poking out your eyeballs. I buy canes or rebar of suitable lengths ,drill a hole in the top of the corks and slip them over the stakes Safety first .

  44. JAY says:

    We send our wine and champagne corks to a friend on the west coast that has a parrot.

    Cockatoos love to destroy things and this one loves ripping corks apart.

  45. marion kirkland says:

    Hi, if anyone has any used wine corks that they dont need please contact me via my email, thank you

  46. Gulia says:

    Cut in half but not all the way, then use to pin grape vines or other plants twigs on a string or on wire.

  47. Gulia says:

    Glue the cork onto a stand of some sort to hold the rings.

  48. Uluska says:

    Attach it to the end of your memory stick for stronger grip. Makes it more visible too.

  49. Uluska says:

    Soak the corks in a fragrance and use as potpourri.

  50. launa woodruff says:

    any suggestions for garden use?


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