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Beer-bottle light fixtures

BOTTLE IT UP This fall, when Ed Marszewski remodeled the Bridgeport bar owned by his mother, Maria, and reopened it under the name Maria’s Packaged...

Photograph: Erica Gannett

BOTTLE IT UP This fall, when Ed Marszewski remodeled the Bridgeport bar owned by his mother, Maria, and reopened it under the name Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar (960 W 31st St, 773-890-0588), he was on the hunt for cool light fixtures. After shopping around, he couldn’t find exactly what he was looking for, so he turned to his wife, artist and designer Rachael Mar, who did most of the interior design for Maria’s (along with architect Charlie Vinz). “I knew from the start that I wanted to make something out of recycled beer bottles in reference to Maria’s utilitarian feel and also Ed’s new passion for craft brews,” Mar says. The result? These beer-bottle light fixtures. “The shape and the brown tone of the bottles were interesting to play with as clustered forms and light mediums,” she says. Taking the theme even further, Mar sanded the bottom portion of the glass bottles, so they could be placed around the bar as small votive candleholders. While Mar admits this project might not be best for a beginning crafter, it’s possible if you’re patient and have a steady hand. “Plus, it’s so inexpensive; that’s definitely worth the effort.”

1. The first step is the easy/fun part: Drink a bunch of beer. You’ll need 40—50 22oz bottles for one fixture. I don’t recommend 12oz bottles because the glass just is too thin to get a good clean cut without any hairline fractures. When you are done drinking, soak the bottles in hot water to remove the labels.

2. Then go shopping for a few supplies: GREENPOWERSCIENCE for the bottle cutter and be sure to watch the Youtube video on how to use the cutter, IKEA for the light source, HOME DEPOT for a length of chain (couple bucks), a hitch ring (3-4 dollars), about 60ft of thin cable (around $20), and a box of big washers (around $6).

3. Cut the bottoms of the bottles. See Youtube video mentioned above. Sand down sharp edges with a grinder or knife stone. Save the bottoms for votives.

4. Hook the hitch ring to the ceiling with your length of chain to the desired height. Thread in the light source; just let it hang in the center.

5. Now comes the bottles. You need a piece of the cable (cut into about 3 foot lengths), two washers, and two bottles with the bottoms cut off. Thread one piece of cable through a bottle and tie off the end of the cable with a washer. Pull the cable back through the top so that the washer catches in the neck of the bottle. Now take the loose end of the cable and thread it through the hitch ring you have hung from the ceiling from a chain. Lastly, thread the other end of the cable into the other bottle and tie off the end with a washer. Let the two bottles hang loose around the light source. Repeat this step until the fixture has the desired amount of volume.

“If all of this sounds too hard, I would make/sell them on request,” Mar says. Contact her: skytta@gmail.com

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