Sometime last year, I saw these adorable reclaimed apothecary matchstick bottles (I even ended up featuring them on our 2013 holiday gift guide here). I initially thought they would be neat hostess gifts – especially for the holidays – but now that the holidays are behind us, I thought they’d be great to have here and there around the house readily available for my candle-loving self. The only thing is that they always seem to be out of stock. So, feeling the need for an adorable reclaimed apothecary matchstick bottle in my life, like now, I decided to DIY my own version. Let me just go ahead and tell you, this is one of the simplest DIY projects ever.
I started out with a small glass bottle that I found at Hobby Lobby for $2 (it came with a metal string/hook around the top but it easily came off). I took the cork top out, turned the bottle upside down and placed a nice big blob of glass etching cream on the bottom. Be careful not to add too much – what I have in the photo above is the absolute maximum (I was too busy focusing the camera to pay attention to what I was doing). If you add too much it will drip over the edges and etch drip marks on the side of the bottle.
I let it set (on a paper towel just in case) for about 2 hours – which is a lot longer than the directions on the bottle tell you to do, but I just wanted to make sure it was deeply etched enough to strike a match. When time was up, I rinsed off the etching cream in the kitchen sink (followed by a good cleaning of the sink just in case) and cleaned the bottle with a bit of dish detergent to make sure all of the cream was gone.
The cream made the surface really cloudy looking – but not rough. Nevertheless, it was rough enough to be able to strike a match and worked perfectly. If you try out this project and for some reason the glass isn’t rough enough, just add another blob of etching cream and wait another 20-30 minutes. Update: I made another one today and decided to leave the etching cream on all day long (about 12 hours) and it turned out to be much more rough than the other bottles – which makes the match light a little better.
Bonus tip! If you don’t want to mess with the etching cream, another option would be to cut a small circle of low-grit sand paper and glue it to the bottom of the bottle. It’s not as pretty and seamless looking, but it does make lighting the matches extremely easy, and it makes the whole project just that much simpler.
Put the cork back in, add some strike anywhere matches and you’re done – that’s it! Now, a note about the strike anywhere matches: they are extremely hard to find – at least around Richmond anyway. Greg and I checked five stores looking for strike anywhere matches (Lowe’s, Target, Martin’s, Food Lion, and REI) and we couldn’t find them anywhere. We ended up buying 3 boxes on eBay for about $6 (they also have them on Amazon). So, if you’re having trouble finding them in your neck of the woods, try the World Wide Web.
You can get fancy and easily add a design or monogram to the side of the bottle using an adhesive stencil (which are available at most craft stores) or making your own stencil with painter’s tape, but I just decided to keep this one clean and simple. Add a little tag with some baker’s twine, and these would make for great party/wedding favors.
I loved how nicely the first one turned out that I ended up making three of these for around the house (one for my office, one for the master bedroom and one for the kitchen – the places we burn candles pretty much everyday). I’m also going back to Hobby Lobby later this week to pick up two more (one for the living room and one for the guest room). Like I said earlier, this is the easiest little DIY project ever, so I just can’t get enough.