DIY Message in a Bottle

DIY Message in a Bottle

Ever since recycling glass stopped in my county, I’ve been trying to come up with fresh ways to repurpose the glass bottles I end up with. Now that summer is on the horizon, my head is already in the sand- beach sand, that is. So, this time around, I had an idea for DIY message in a bottle that I wanted to try.

What to do when you can't recycle glass anymore

I know, I know- no glass recycling is the absolute pits! However, I’ve been more inspired than ever to upcycle all of our glass bottles- such as these seaglass bottles that I also made.

Sea glass bottles as wine bottle crafts for coastal decor

BUT, I think you’re really going to like how this project turns out, and it’s insanely easy to make.

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Upcycle Wine Bottles for Coastal Decor

To get started on my idea, I first needed to remove all the labels/foil from my bottles. My method involves soaking the wine bottles in a bucket of hot water for a while- and some labels melt right off with this alone.

For those that leave sticky residue, I use a favorite cleaner of mine to help take it all off.

But one of my bottles must have had a really weird shape for air flow because even after 4 days, it hadn’t dried out inside! So, I reached into my scientist background and used a laboratory desiccant (don’t worry, it’s non-toxic) which dried it out in a few moments.

Drierite to remove moisture from inside of empty wine bottles

Because I was recreating the look of a message in a bottle, I needed to “age” my bottles ever so slightly, as if they had tumbled along the ocean floor.

I used a colorless sea glass spray, from the same line of spray paints as this seaglass bottle project of mine. But instead of spraying close and heavy for an opaque finish, I sprayed lightly from further away.

Weathering glass with sea glass spray paint

And it worked brilliantly! The bottles had exactly the look I was going for.

Basically, I was going for the “underwater schmutz” look.

Repurpose wine bottles as message in a bottle

The next step was adding a finger or two of sand into the bottom of each bottle.

I “borrowed” some sand from the Florida shore when I visited my parents. But you could use decorative sand if you don’t have access to the real thing.

Pouring the beach sand into the empty wine bottles

With that, the “bottle” portion of message in a bottle was done and it was time to focus on the “message” part!

DIY Message in a Bottle for Beach Wedding Decor

For the “message” part of message in a bottle, I repurposed pages from my “upcycling book”.

I bought that book at a thrift expressly for projects several years ago.

Message in a bottle gift and beach wedding decor

I removed a page and folded/tore along each edge for a natural look.

Then, I carefully rolled the page around a pen, applying a glue stick along the last inch or so to secure it.

Once it had dried/set, I wrapped some hemp cord around the center as insurance (and to add to the natural look).

Message in a bottle ideas with old book pages

There- a message for my message in a bottle!

message in a bottle ideas

To finish off the message in a bottle idea, I grabbed some wine corks from my stash. 

After finding one that fit in the bottle, I wrapped it with additional hemp cord.

upcycle wine bottles as beach decor

DIY Message in a Bottle

And voila! Just like that, I had transformed some empty wine bottles into DIY message in a bottle that I could use as coastal decor!

wine bottle wedding decor

Wouldn’t these also be wonderful for beach wedding decor, too? Such an easy way to go about recycling glass and reusing wine bottles into crafts!

diy message in a bottle

Aren’t they great? I love, seriously LOVE, how they look- especially as a cluster, which I’ll place around the house this summer.

upcycle wine bottles as diy message in a bottle

If you enjoyed this upcycling idea for ocean decor or beach room decor, then you may also love these beach vacation memory jars, too!

beach in a jar

Craft on!


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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. How to use Drierite

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Hi, Lucy, are you asking how to use it? You pour a few granules (amount depends on how much moisture you’re ridding, so I used probably a few dozen granules poured through a funnel into my bottle) and shook them around in the bottle. The blue granules turn purple as they absorb moisture- then I just dumped the granules out.

  2. Mary Ann says

    Love these, just going to have to empty a few liquor bottles now, for the sake of art of course! Thanks for this!

  3. Robyn Wright says

    I love how your sand isn’t perfectly clean.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you!! I think it makes it even more authentic looking, but wasn’t planned- the sand I swiped from the beach just happened to look like that, LOL.

  4. Meg Miller says

    Yay, Drierite! Thanks for the link, I didn’t know I could buy it retail!

  5. A really cute idea for a coastal look! I am going to tell my friend as he has a cottage at the coast here in Oregon!

  6. Cute idea. Wondering how to use them as a decoration for a Ladie’s afternoon Tea. in June

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thanks, Deborah! I’m sure clusters of shorter bottles done up like this would make darling centerpieces.

  7. Kathy A. says

    Love it, as usual. Once upon a time I bought a bag of play sand at Wal-Mart as it was easier than bringing home beach sand (in my shoes ALWAYS happens!). Think I used the end of it on icy stairs! Anyway, I love adding sea shells, too. As a kid, I always wanted to find a pearl in a clam shell (They grow in oysters!) so I have been known to glue a pearl bead into a shell to add interest. Also loved your post with the aqua Ball jars–what a great combo for a centerpiece. I made your candleholders with green sea glass paint, wrapped with jute and sea charms. I can imagine how well they would all go together the length of a table or a mantle. Awesome!

  8. Darn, looks like I’m going to have to consume a few bottles to recreate this idea. Hmmm whichever poison has the cutest bottles win! Now to scour Pinterest for some delicious cocktail recipes. Cheers!

  9. Absolutely love this idea! Going to do the same with a message for each of my kids. Thanks!

  10. Yep… definitely love these! Saving to my DIY Dreams Board! (saw this on Morning Cup of Joe)

  11. You and your bottle makeovers! You get me every single time. I love what you do with them!!

  12. Cheryl Flanders Vose says

    I’am going to make this! I have used salt & baking soda for “Faux” sand & snow projects. Going to experiment, with dried brown sugar, for a brown sand look.

  13. These are really pretty, I love them. ?

  14. this would also be REALLY cute as candleholders for elegant tapers in cream & blue!


  1. […] a dreamy, decorative touch to wine bottles with some glass spray and your favorite cleaner. Check this post for the […]

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