Monday, February 11, 2013

The Cork in the Craft

Over the weekend I finally got around to a DIY project I had been thinking about for ages: making a small table runner out of wine corks. The process was fun and super-cheap. Just how I like it!

Let's start with where the runner will go - my dining table. The table has been a catch-all for things lately, and as the folder on the table says, there was a bunch of CRAP strewn all about when I started this project:

A partial solution to this problem of corralling my stuff is to create an area on the table where I can set some of my important items that I use every day, such as my keys and bus pass. I wanted something that wouldn't take up too much space, but that would serve as a landing strip for these essential items. A while back I discovered tutorial on how to DIY a wine cork table runner. The following tutorial is based on these from The Full Moxie and the Crafty Nest.

Step 1 - Assemble items. You'll need:

  • wine corks (I used 70)
  • cutting board
  • sharp knife
  • shelf liner paper
  • glue gun and glue (I used 4 sticks)
  • gridded cutting mat

Step 2 - Cut wine corks in half:

I learned a valuable lesson from step two. A sharp kitchen knife is NOT sharp enough to cut through corks. Use a utility knife like this one from Home Depot. Be very, very careful when cutting. It takes time and patience to cut through all of these corks. Don't let yourself get distracted or you might find that sharp knife going through your fingers. Seriously, be careful!

After a lot of muscle, you'll have a bunch of halved wine corks. I ended up with 140 halves.

Step 3 - Cut the shelf liner paper to your desired size: 

I chose to go with the size of my gridded cutting mat. It was exactly the size I had in mind and it was easy to cut with the mat as an outline.

Step 4 - Place the halved corks on the shelf liner paper:

At this stage you'll notice that you won't be able to get the edges to line up exactly. It bothered me a bit at first, but by the time I finished the project I hardly noticed that some of the corks didn't all line up perfectly.

Step 5 - Glue the corks to the shelf liner paper:

I recommend putting newspaper down to protect your surface from glue. The glue gun likes to drip little wisps of glue and I wasn't about to let it ruin my dining table! You'll also notice that I have used the cutting mat underneath the shelf liner paper. I discovered that without the mat underneath, the newspaper and shelf liner together created a bit of an unsteady surface. The cutting mat helped with that.

Step 6 - Cut away excess shelf liner paper:

And that's it! It doesn't take long for the hot glue to dry. I moved my finished runner off the cutting mat after about 15 minutes. Here is the final result!
My keys and bus pass now have a home in the blue bowl!

So pretty! Much improved from the messy tabletop!


  1. Very cute!

    For future reference, I saw something on Pinterest about soaking corks to make cutting them easier? I guess it is a bit too late for you!

  2. Aww, man! That would have made things so much easier. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Did you drink all the wine to get those corks? ;)