8 creative ways to reuse old wine corks

Got a collection of wine corks gathering on a kitchen counter? It’s okay, we all do it — pop open a bottle of wine, keep the cork for some reason, and soon there’s a whole jar of wine corks and you’re wondering, what am I even going to do with these?

Recycle them or … get crafty!

Wine Cork Crafts

Whether you keep wine corks for sentimental reasons, or simply because they are just kind of cool, those spongy stoppers from wine bottles make excellent crafting materials. If you’ve got a hot glue gun, then you can transform wine corks into works of art.

Among the easiest ways to craft with corks is to simply attach the corks with glue to a solid object. For example,

  • Glue corks to a piece of plywood to create a unique, three-dimensional work of art for the kitchen or dining room.
  • Cover a monogram cut-out with corks for a personalized addition to your home.
  • Add a ring of corks around the outside edge of a candleholder.
wine cork trivet
Wine cork trivet. Image courtesy of Hope Robertson

Ready to start crafting? Pour yourself a glass of vino (keep the cork, of course!) and peruse these wine cork craft ideas for more unique additions to your home décor.

  • Having friends over for wine and snacks?  Why not craft this wine cork wreath from Recyclart to hang on the front door and set the tone for the night? It’s as simple as gluing corks to a wreath form and adding some ribbon.
  • Cut corks into slices, decorate them with calligraphy or stamps, and add some wire for wine glass charms that help keep track of everyone’s wine glasses at your next party. Use a similar method to make colorful pendants, too, for distinctive jewelry — they also make great wine glass charms.
  • Repurpose an old frame by making it a cork bulletin board instead. Glue corks onto the area where a picture would normally be seen to create a cork message center that’s ideal in the kitchen or next to a door.
  • Corks are excellent for absorbing and transferring heat, so why not use them as a trivet to keep tabletops from being scorched by hot pots? An easy way to make a cork trivet is to take a circular embroidery hoop, arrange corks inside, and tighten to fasten. Glue a base of cardboard or felt to the bottom to keep everything in place.
  • The moisture-resistant material of wine corks makes them excellent garden markers. Write the name of herbs, vegetables, or other plants on the outside of a cork, place it on top of a skewer, and insert it in your garden.
  • Tiny succulents are definitely a conversation piece when they’re arranged in miniature cork planters you can attach to the refrigerator with magnets. A thimble full of soil is all you need to have a thriving mini-garden on the fridge. Air plants survive in wine cork planters, too. Or use the same concept to display tiny flowers gathered on a garden walk or small trinkets.
  • With a little imagination, corks can be easily integrated into an entertaining craft project for all ages. Mix in a few other staples of arts and crafts, and you can make cute decorations for the kids’ room.
  • Did you ever think you would play darts with cork? Check out this guide on a darts-like DIY cork toss game and give it a try!
  • Cheese pairs excellently with wine, and what better way to reuse corks than making your own cheese knives? If you’ve got an old cheese knife that’s got a loose handle, a cork can make an excellent replacement.

Corks make excellent material for mildew-resistant bath mats. Check out these instructions on how to uncork your creativity and make your own.

Cheers, crafters!

Feature image courtesy of Christina B Castro

Editor’s note: Originally published on March 26, 2015, this article was updated in February 2021.

By Kimberly Button

Kimberly Button is the author of The Everything Guide to a Healthy Home and the Editor-in-Chief of GetGreenBeWell , featuring modern, sane ideas for living a non-toxic life. A professional journalist for nearly two decades, Button has written for magazines such as Martha Stewart's Whole Living, American Airlines, AAA, Sierra, National Geographic Traveler, and Vegetarian Times. Visit KimButton.com for more information.