Recycling and upcycling are two ways to reduce and reuse household trash. Crafters are often on the forefront of finding unique and beautiful ways to turn throways or thrift items into something useful. From Mason jars to Styrofoam packing peanuts, there are few things that escape their creative urges.
On the other hand, there are others who make food and beverage items for sale or for gift-giving. Glass jars and bottles are easily cleaned and sanitized, as are metal lids. But what about those who prefer using alternatives?
New Stoppers for Food and Beverage Containers
New ones can be purchased in most crafts stores these days. For winemakers, their local vintner-supply stores probably carry a few. Unfortunately, this can turn out to be an expensive route if large numbers are required. The smart ones turn to online shopping when looking for more affordable prices.
Of course, there are websites dedicated to wine- and beer-making that carry a wide range of the most commonly used sizes. These can be bought in lots ranging from perhaps 25 up to several thousand, and prices vary accordingly.
There is the option of going straight to the source and buying directly from companies that specialize in bottle and jar stoppers. There is a dizzying array of options, from traditional tapered stoppers to those augmented by plastic caps. Finding the right stopper or corks for a particular use requires more than a little homework as a result.
It is important to know exactly what a seller is offering, especially when shopping on large retailer’s site or on a successfully auction site. If you need new and used stoppers, be very sure that you are getting what you are paying for.
For home use, it may be acceptable to clean, sanitize and reuse a stopper. You control the process and you know exactly what you are using. If you are buying recycled ones from someone else, there will always be a doubt to their cleanliness.
Not every crafter makes beer or wine, though. Homemade gift mixes presented in Mason jars is a popular hobby, and these require larger stoppers. At the other end of the spectrum are tiny three-milliliter bottles used to contain herbal tinctures. While these often include their own stoppers when first purchased, they may need to be replaced after they are used.
For the small-scale hobbyist, a trip to the nearest crafts store makes sense. For those who produce and market their goods on a larger scale, online bulk sources are more cost-effective.
Used Stoppers for Craft Projects
Sometimes, a sparkling new stopper is not needed or even desired. Wine-stained stoppers add a little visual interest to handcrafted wreaths and bath mats. While crafting one or two wreaths at home does not require very many stoppers, it takes a while to save up enough.
Drinking wine is enjoyable, but few people drink a bottle a day. An average-size wreath requires about 75 to 100 stoppers. After doing the math, it could take a few months to build up a large enough stash. A bath mat requires about 175 stoppers. That is a lot of wine.
Crafters could strike a deal with their favorite restaurants and have them save up their stoppers. Not everyone is bold or desperate enough to do this. Enter the world of online sellers of wine-stained bottle stoppers.
Used stoppers can be found online by shopping on an extremely large company’s website. One seller offers 100 stoppers for about $20. While that may seem a little expensive, especially if you need 175 or so, they are quite a bargain compared to drinking all that wine beforehand.
Online auction sites often have sellers offering used wine stoppers in large lots, usually at more reasonable prices. It is wise to read the item descriptions carefully. Apparently, used champagne stoppers do not work well when used to make bath mats.
Homework in Advance of Purchasing
It always helps to deal with a reputable company offering reasonable prices, same-day shipping, and free shipping on qualifying orders.
Success in wine- and beer-making, as well as a host of crafting projects, comes from the skill of the creator and the quality of materials. The finest wine might be spoiled by a reused stopper, while a pristine new one would look dull as part of a holiday wreath.
Examine any photos closely. Read descriptions and product reviews. Of course, do your math. Are you really getting the best deal?
Do some comparison shopping among companies, especially if you are crafting on a commercial scale and are likely to become a regular customer. If so, there may be special deals if you buy on a regular basis.