Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Framed wine labels

I had looked and looked for something to replace an old print that we had above our fireplace and just wasn't finding anything I loved...  Finally one day, I just decided to make my own.  With wine labels.

Over the years, with our trips to Sonoma and Napa, Walla Walla, WA, Santa Barbara and the Rhone Valley, we've brought home some cool bottles of wine for our collection.  I wanted a way to be able to remember them, or keep them, without it taking up too much space.  I decided I would start pulling the labels off the bottles...but wasn't sure what to do with them.  And then it just came to me!  Frame them, together, in a big collage...for over our fireplace!

It really took longer than I could have expected to finish the collage...maybe because I bought the largest frame that Michaels sells?  Maybe because I didn't want any repeat labels?  Anyway...it's finally finished and sits beautifully on the mantle.  Over the year or so since I finished it, I've changed out a few labels, making sure to incorporate some of our newly found favorites.  I've had lots of people ask me how to do it, so I wanted to share.

First, once you have some labels that you want to save, you need to get them off the bottle.  I use the oven method - I know there are several different thoughts on how to do this (put hot water in the bottle and dunk it in cold water, use one of those label remover kits) but this has worked great for me.

Set your oven to 175 degrees and once it's warm, put the empty bottle in for 15 minutes.  Then, remove it with an oven mit and while holding the bottle with the mit, carefully start to peel the label from the corners, slowly working around until it's all the way off.  You might get a little in one corner and move to the other corners, working your way towards the center.  Some are easier than others - some just come right off and some really take work.

Also, you have to be willing to loose some.  And it's going to be that special bottle that you had on your anniversary that you really want...and it's just going to tear and not come off.  Sometimes if you leave it in for a few extra minutes you'll have luck, but not always.  It just depends on the paper that the label is made of and the strength of the glue.

Once you have the label off, use a piece of wax paper to hold it until you're ready to use it.  The label will stick to the wax paper, but also will allow you to pull it off easily when you're ready to do something with it.

Usually they're pretty curly when they come off the bottle so you'll want to put a weigh on top of it to flatten the label back out again.

Since I was doing a big collage, it would collect several, maybe 10 or more at a time, and then open up the frame and put a bunch on at once.  I started from the corners and worked my way in so they wouldn't be all grouped together.  I also tried to space out colors - not put all the dark ones together and same for the cream ones.  Plus, if I had 2 bottles from the same vineyard, I wanted them to be spread out.

It really turned out great, I just love it.  I've already made some changes since I first 'finished' it and put it up on the wall. It's fun to look over the collection and remember when and where we bought or shared a certain bottle!


  1. I LOVE this idea, LGB! I've been thinking about doing that for some time and you've totally inspired me to commit to it! J Lang

  2. It turned out SO great!! :)

  3. What a great memory from all of your travels! Kudos to you for taking the time to do it....looks great!