Cork dork: Ten cool things to do with leftover wine corks

After uncorking a bottle and enjoying the wine, probably most people throw the cork in the trash. Certainly there’s worse waste: It’s not as if there are junkyards full of corks, and since they are the bark of oak trees, they are biodegradable. But surely we can do better than simply throw them away. Here are ten ideas!

1. Kicking things off, consider this gorgeous “bowling ball” from Minnesota artist Jan Elftmann. We’ll come back to her at the end, but this is a good one to get things, er, rolling.

2. The wall o’ corks as you may remember from the 15,000 cork wall at Frankly Wine, a Manhattan wine shop

3. The cork vase: easy and can bring back some wine memories. As seen here at Pottery Barn. (Where we saved you $14 last year!)

4. Exquisite miniatures emerge from the Design Within Reach annual contest: the foil, capsule, wire, and cork from two Champagne corks to make a chair. Behold this year’s judge’s choice (and previous winners):

5. Recycle! A sustainable building firm in Missouri will collect corks to recondition into building materials: Since 2004, wine consumers have mailed in 1.5 tons of corks (approximately 400,000). Amorim, the large cork producer from Portugal, has also started a program called “Recork America” that may reconstitute wine corks into flooring and bulletin boards. There are drop points at some wineries and Whole Foods locations. But since flooring is boring to look at (except when serving as the background for this web site), here’s a picture of the cork cover for the iPhone!

6. Tip out a clock: similar to the popular cork wreath but a little more sleek and stylish. This one’s available for purchase at Etsy.

7. A trivet/hot plate pad or cork bulletin board. Classic yet practical–as well as actually feasible.

8. Apartment Therapy saw some nice ‘n easy place card holders.

9. Make a cork castle, such as this one in a wine shop window in Chicago’s Lincoln Square. And why not put Obama there? ChiBart

10. A chair made of 3,000 corks. Click through to the Gabriel Wiese gallery for many more styles…

11–BONUS! But the person we all need to emulate for cork artistry is clearly Jan Elftmann. In over 20 years, she has collected 50,000 corks. Perhaps her piece de resistence is her truck, which is covered in 10,000 corks. She also had a display of her Cork Bowling Alley at the Minneapolis Institute of Art click through to her site for videos and more of her art.

So what are you waiting for? Start uncorking your favorite wines! Or check out corks for sale on EBay. What do you do with your leftover corks?

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47 Responses to “Cork dork: Ten cool things to do with leftover wine corks”

  1. The iphone cover, arm chair, and note holder are my favorites. It goes to show that a little creativity can go a long way. To think my first experience with cork was in science class when the teacher was trying to explain how plant cells functioned. Look how far the cork has come, from bottle neck to works of art. I have a lot of leftover corks myself–oddly enough I’ve saved them with no other purpose than collecting them. Once I used cork to make my own compass (floating a needle onto the cork bed suspended on water) but this post has me itching to do a craft project on a larger scale. Now I just need to find the time.

  2. this is great, I love the ball

  3. I am thinking about doing a sound proofing installation on my bedroom ceiling. Cork could be the answer…god knows I go through enough wine bottles:)

  4. Hinde-sight…. All of those corks I have thrown. I’d like to take a nap in the easy chair.

  5. […] Cork dork: Ten cool things to do with leftover wine corks. […]

  6. […] past the obligatory cork trivet you may want to try you hand at some of these. . .  Check out: Cork dork: Ten cool things to do with leftover wine corks at Dr. Vino’s Wine Blog. Kind of makes the trivet look lame doesn’t it… […]

  7. How about a coffin to bury the cork forever. Yay screwcaps.

  8. Here is yet another construct with corks — a door to a wine cellar:


  9. some very neat things to do with your corks

  10. people are making kitchen tables and the like from concrete.
    Why not make a floorplate, with corks for nice softening and non-slipping of concrete floor.
    For showers, bathrooms…

  11. I’m inspired. I think I’ll make a doll house for my daughter…better start drinking!

  12. Cork recycling is a great initiative that is environmentally responsible. And choosing wine sealed with natural cork closures helps to preserve the Mediterranean cork forests. More information regarding the ReCork America program including a list of drop-off locations is available at

  13. I saved the corks from my daughters wedding week celebrations and made her a cork tray which I covered with plexiglass. Each time they use it friends recall the particular bottle and occassion.

  14. […] monthly updates by email (right sidebar). Thanks for visiting! SIPPED: reusing wine bottles We like reusing corks. And we previously saw the 13,500 bottle wall house previously. And recently another bottle wall […]

  15. […] But you get the idea. That middle ground between true cork and screwcap is occupied by the synthetic cork. On the plus side, there’s no TCA taint, which can arise with natural cork. But on the minus side, the little rubber bullets can be hard to get off the corkscrew (particularly the solid ones), nearly impossible to shove back in the bottle, not biodegradable, and until someone makes a wall of synthetic corks, they haven’t had much appeal being reused functionally or artistically. […]

  16. […] in the garden or added to compost as a way to keep them out of landfills. And don’t forget cork art! Permalink | Comments (5) | SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "Corkfinger and cork recycling", url: […]

  17. […] para correção do solo. Isso sem contar com objetos de arte e decoração, como mostrados aqui pelo blogueiro Dr. […]

  18. […] an idea for some cool, modern & cheap cork projects. I came across several creative cork sites: Cork Dork, Garbriel Wiese Gallery, & Terramia. They all had great ideas, but I settled on a large cork […]

  19. […] Cork Dork: 10 Cool Things to Do with Leftover Wine Corks: Dr. Vino […]

  20. I used to drive by Jan’s Cork Truck on my way to work and it made me smile every time. something about seeing a truck completely covered in cork when it’s 20 below makes the day start off right. Also got me saving corks. God knows what I’ll do with them some day but now I have some inspiration…

  21. I am too cheep to toss them away. Anyone want them?

  22. Twitter Comment

    Not heading to the cottage for the long weekend? Grab some wine and recycled corks and get your creative juices… [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  23. Twitter Comment

    Cork dork: Ten cool things to do with leftover wine corks [link to post]

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  24. Twitter Comment

    Love this! RT @eviebarnes: Cork dork: Ten cool things to do with leftover wine corks [link to post]

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  25. Twitter Comment

    this is fun. [link to post] #corks #fun #diy

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  26. […] Dr. Vino has a cool site that lists 10 things to do with your leftover corks rather than throwing them in the trash — everything from artist Jan Elftmann’s “bowling ball” to styling miniatures. Check it out. […]

  27. […] “Cork dork: Ten cool things to do with leftover wine corks“ Permalink | Comments (0) | SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "My kind of cork/christmas […]

  28. great ideas. Those synthetic corks and oak corks make a wonderful handle at the end of a metal clothes hanger as a handle to hold when roasting marshmellows. Also my husband puts his fishing hooks in to them when not in use at the end of his fishing pole.

  29. […] Hat tip: Dr. Vino. […]

  30. […] […]

  31. In response to the post from mydailywine, May 18th, 2009 at 1:48 pm (I am thinking about doing a sound proofing installation on my bedroom ceiling. Cork could be the answer…god knows I go through enough wine bottles:)

    Cork will provide good thermal insulation. However, people with experiene in acoustics will tell you that the soundproofing properties of materials are related to specific mass, which means concrete or solid wood would definitely work much better than cork.

  32. […] (In a word: AWESOME.) […]

  33. […] Weird (some might say “cool”) things to do with used wine corks […]

  34. I have many, many used wine corks and many bowling balls. I would love to have the directions on how to make the cork bowling ball.

    Linda Perkins

  35. I am a Cartoonist and have appx seventy five wine cartoons that have brought a lot of humor to the Wine Lovers Of America. This website is just great and the creativity of all the items is fabulous, there is SO much talent out there…Thanks..Chuck

  36. […] I did a little research & found these great (and INEXPENSIVE) ideas! With simple materials such as a styrofoam ball (premiered brown), spare wood scraps, old photo frames, clock center, etc. these projects can be done in a few hours and are very inexpensive! They look so urban-chic & retro, not to mention they’re “green”!! Check them out here! […]

  37. […] to close out, I came across this little blog post from Dr. Vino – Cork Dork: Ten cool things to do with leftover wine corks.  It’s creative and Dr.Vino has a nice blog! Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the […]

  38. Thank you for mentioning us !! I got a phone call today looking for the iPhone cover and discovered your blog. I’m one of the principles at that “sustainable building firm in Missouri”. We sincerely appreciate the link to our grassroots effort. We’ve been blessed by so many people caring about doing something with their corks. BTW, we make panels that are mostly for flooring uses but have been used as surfacing material for walls and fixtures. We used some for a special wine cork collection fixture at Whole Foods in St Louis (the store we buy food at). My caller was disappointed that I had no iPhone covers to sell but I’m clueless on that one. Thanks again for heightening awareness regarding natural cork. The montado eco-system of Portugal depends on us all caring.

  39. Excellent display of wine art! My favorite is #10- that chair actually looks comfortable!

  40. I would love to know where to find the Iphone case??

  41. […] “Cork dork: Ten cool things to do with leftover wine corks“ Permalink | Comments (0) | | corks This entry was posted on Wednesday, […]

  42. What is the best glue to use when applying corks to a mirror

  43. I am still unsure how to reuse for RUBBER wine cork? it is quiet different than regular wine cork. …

  44. FYI BevMo also has partnered with a company that is recycling Corks. So any Natural Cork can be dropped off at any BevMo where you see the ReCork bin. Ask if you don’t see it 🙂

    I’m an employee, so I am happy to see this.

  45. FUN STUFF ,,,

  46. It’s amazing how creative people are! I guess I need to start saving my wine corks. Even if I don’t have the patience, it looks like some people have unique ideas on how to use leftover corks.

  47. I have Approx. 25,000 new corks available for sale in Northern CA if anyone is interested. 2 bags with 12,500 in each. They are 9mm X 1-3/4″ Paraffined and ready to go. I checked value on line and they were 25 cents each or MORE up to 36 cents each. Some even 42 cents. At 32 cents each that is $8,000! Even at a nickel each it’s still $1,250. Make a reasonable offer… Dan 707-996-1351


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