Pictures: Supplied

The prospect of cutting the bottle to make a stylish glass or candle or herb planter has you quivering in fear.

Relax. We come bearing guidance.

It’s not a perfect process (for that, you’ll need one of these), and it takes some practice, but after scouring the Internet and testing methods, we’ve arrived at:

To get started, beyond a protea bottle with its back label removed, you’ll need one Ephrem’s Original Bottle Cutter Kit, available on Amazon for 30 bucks or less. From there, the process unfolds like this:

1. Set a pot of water – enough to cover the length of the bottle, ideally – to boil, and fill a bowl or pitcher with ice water. You’ll need these things in later steps.

2. Place the bottle horizontally on the cutter with the bottom of the bottle up against the cutter’s “backstop” and the top of the bottle closest to the small gold cutter.


3. With one hand, apply moderate downward pressure on the bottle. With the other hand, turn the bottle toward you.

4. Complete one or two revolutions around the entire bottle’s circumference. Note that the cutter will only score the bottle – the indent will not be very deep. It just marks where the break will happen.


5. Submerge the bottle in the boiling water, making sure the scored part of the bottle is covered. Spin the bottle in the water a few times.


6. Remove the bottle from the boiling water, place it in a sink, and pour the ice water over it. Sometimes the bottle will separate during this step, but we found the bottle was more likely to separate by going hot-cold-hot.

7. So if you’re bottle remains intact, do another dunk in the boiling water. This should do the trick.

8. Allow the bottle to cool, then use progressively finer sandpaper to smooth the cut edges.


If you poke around the web, you’ll find other ways to skin this cat, such as using a candle to heat the bottle along the score, and rubbing ice on the bottle to cool it. But the process described above is what worked best for us. It took about a half hour on our first try, but after that, we were cutting bottles in five minutes.

* Supplied by Protea Wines