Monday, October 14, 2013

Make it Better: Wine Cork Boot Tray DIY

Wine corks are one of those items a lot of people save. There is something about them that just seems like they should lend themselves to a great project, no?

When my collection started to get out of hand, I started searching the web for ideas to make out of them, but just couldn't find much that inspired me. This succulent cork planter option is cute, but wouldn't use up as many corks as I'd like. This wine cork wreath is lovely, but I didn't have quite enough to make the opulent version shown, and I was running out of space to collect the corks as it was. Same for this herringbone frame, and surprisingly beautiful back splash. There are a lot of ideas out there, but there were few I found which struck the balance of being simple enough for me to tackle, but also didn't feel a little kitschy.

Meanwhile, I had planned to create this pebble-filled boot tray in time for the upcoming slushy fall and winter mess that will inevitably follow us across our threshold. I was holding off, however, because dedicating a spot to store that many pebbles in a NYC apartment during the summer months seemed a little silly. So, when I came across two wine cork bathmats, I finally found my wine cork DIY project: A wine cork boot tray.

Wine corks are naturally water resistant and resistant to mold and mildew, making them a perfect choice for holding wet boots. Since cork is so lightweight, the tray can also be picked up and rinsed out if a lot of mud begins to build up inside, and the weight also allows for many more storage options than pebbles do when not in use.

There are a couple variations for this project, so one of them should meet your taste perfectly. Read on for the instructions...

-Lots of wine corks (Ask a neighborhood restaurant for some if you don't have the patience to build up a collection.)
-An old baking pan or shadow frame
-Hot glue gun
-Something sharp to cut the corks (optional)

Step One: Choose either an old baking pan or a shadow box frame. Although using a shadowbox frame would have given me a clean-lined and modern feel, I liked the rustic look of the old baking pan. Plus, it was 10¢ at a tag sale.

Left: Standing up. Image from Inhabitat
Right: Laying down. Image from Picklee

Step Two: Choose the layout of the corks -- either laying the corks on their sides, or standing them up straight. Standing them up offers a pretty mix of colors, and laying them down shows off their interesting labels. I chose to lay them down because my pan is not terribly deep.

Step Three: (Optional) Carefully slice the corks in half either lengthwise, or along their width. If one has enough corks, she can skip this time-consuming step.

Step Four: Glue the corks into the frame or pan. Do both ends first, and then fill in the middle so that any spots that do not line up perfectly are less noticeable. The best part about using hot glue is that if a cork needs to be rearranged, it can be pried out and re-glued.

This baking pan is small, and is still just the right size for two pairs of boots. It turned out to be a good size for our small entryway. Last year, our boots sat on newspaper, so I'm excited that this year the mud will stay put inside the pan, and not create a mess that needs to be swept up when the mud dries to dirt. The pan will collect the dirt, and I will be able to easily rinse it out.

Project cost: 10¢ for the old baking pan.

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