9 Ways to Upcycle Your Wine Corks

By: Alia Hoyt  | 
wine corks
Got a ton of used wine corks lying around? Don't toss them. There are tons of ways you can reuse them instead. Santiago Urquijo/Getty Images

If you love wine, you probably have a drawer or bag full of wine corks that are waiting to find a new reason for being. No matter if they're composite, synthetic or natural cork, it's absolutely possible to breathe life into each one of those little guys in much the same way that they breathed life into that vino you enjoyed.

Depending on what your personal hobbies and needs are, popped wine corks can still have a functional presence in your home that has nothing to do with corkboards or wall art (although those are both pretty cool, too).


Here are some of the most creative and functional ways to upcycle those wine corks once their bottle-sealing days are done.

1. Fishing Bobbers

Outdoorsy people are usually looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. It's that whole concept of loving the Earth in its purest state. They also tend to like to get their hands dirty and do things themselves. Enter, wine corks, which make fabulous fishing bobbers. Some wine cork bobber methods are more involved than others, requiring a few simple tools, paint and perhaps other embellishments to make them enticing to the fishies. Other bobbers need little more than the cork and something to stabilize them to the fishing line. It just depends on the type of fish you're going for.


2. Stable Tables

Wobbly tables and chairs are just the worst. If the wobble doesn't threaten to spill your beverage, it's constantly making you feel like the table's about to tip right over. You can fix all those wobbly woes with a slice of wine cork. Once you've identified the right thickness to fix the problematic leg, glue it to the bottom of the table leg. And voilĂ ! You can now enjoy a stable sitting experience.


3. Succulents Planter

Itty-bitty wine cork succulents planters make adorable and Earth-friendly ways to jazz up your windowsill. All you need to complete this project are wine corks, a drill (with one-quarter- and one-half-inch drill bits), aquarium gravel, potting soil and tiny succulents. You can also glue a magnet to the cork so you can attach them to the refrigerator or other magnetic surface. When the plants get too big for the corks (which should take a while), simply repot them into larger containers. Then, repeat with new succulent cuttings.

succulent in wine cork
Wine corks make good homes for teeny, tiny succulents.
Marius GODOI/Shutterstock


4. Drawer Pulls

Sometimes all it takes to refresh the look of a cabinet or piece of furniture is a few cute accents. Many people turn to drawer pulls to achieve that look. And wine cork drawer pulls are a trendy but retro way to upcycle those corks. Plus, they're easy to make: They only require a drill with a small bit, a manual screwdriver and enough wine corks and decorative knobs to get the job done.


5. Pin Cushion

There's a reason bulletin boards are usually made of cork; pins stick easily in cork. To that end, avid sewers can easily repurpose wine corks into pin cushions. It's as easy as sticking one next to the sewing machine. If you want to be extra creative, you can paint and decorate the corks using household notions.


6. Jewelry Holder

Along the same lines as that pin cushion, wine corks make the perfect home for earrings, particularly studs, which are so small that they can easily get lost. Keep the littlest pieces of your jewelry well organized by gluing a few corks to a board, then hang it on the wall. Push your earrings and jewels into the cork until you wear them.

wine cork jewelry holder
Need a spot to secure your earrings and jewelry? Wine corks are made for this job.


7. Chip Clips

Sick of buying chip clips only for them to constantly disappear from the pantry? Repurpose that stash of wine corks and create your own chip clips for free. Just use a razor blade to cut the cork lengthwise about halfway to two-thirds of the way through. Then slide it onto a bag of chips folded over to preserve freshness. This works best with synthetic corks because they keep the bags closed tightest.


8. Fire Starters

Here's a one for natural corks only. If you camp regularly or have a fire pit, prep some corks ahead of time so they're ready when you need them. Put the corks in a quart-size Mason jar and cover them with 91 percent isopropyl alcohol. Let them soak for at least 72 hours. Remove the corks and store them in a zip-close bag and use them as needed to help start your fire, as well as keep it burning brighter and longer.


9. Plant Labels

Even the most well-intentioned gardener forgets what they planted where from time to time. Stay totally up to date on how your garden is growing with easy DIY wine cork plant labels. Write the name of each plant on the side of the cork, then pop it on a garden stake. Place it in the ground next to the matching plant and enjoy both the appearance and functionality of this easy hack.

wine cork plant stake
If you can't remember which plants are growing in your garden, make plant stakes with wine corks. They're simple and eco-friendly.