Turn an antique apothecary bottle into a beautiful bud vase embellished with beads and buttons.
We love finding apothecary bottles at the flea market. They come in all shapes and colors and can have great names like “Friars Drops,” “Balsam of Life,” and “Daffy’s Elixir” embossed on the side. On a recent trip to the Antique Faire, we found one with a pale aqua patina that says “Sarsaparilla” and thought it would make a pretty hanging bud vase. When we spotted a silver spoon with a fancy handle, Jennifer had the idea to use it like a rubber stamp on polymer clay. We instantly imagined a Sculpey flower made with stamped petals. Then, all we needed were some vintage beads and buttons to finish it off with a little glitz.
Dimensions: 2¾ in. x 8½ in. x 1½ in.
Flea Market Materials:
1 Large vintage apothecary bottle
1 Silver spoon with ornate handle
1 10mm Czech glass round faceted bead––crystal
18 4mm Iridescent bicone beads from broken necklace
1 7/8-in. Button
1 ½-in. Button
1 Studio By Sculpey package of polymer clay––Blush, #6316
Studio By Sculpey Glossy Glaze
Studio By Sculpey Acrylic Roller
Studio By Sculpey Oven Thermometer
1 1½-in. Leaf cookie cutter
75 in. 14-ga. Wire—copper
60 in. 26-ga. Wire––copper
1 spool Bead stringing thread—white
200 4mm Glass bugle beads––pink, purple, and light blue
9 size 10/0 Seed beads—crystal, pink, and light blue
3 14-in. strands size 10/0 Seed beads––peridot luster
21 2mm Self-adhesive rhinestones––sky blue
Beacon’s Quick Grip Adhesive
1. To make the flower medallion, condition the Sculpey clay by kneading a ball of the clay in your hands until it is soft. Cover your work area with parchment paper, then use the Acrylic Roller to roll out a sheet of clay ¼” thick. To make sure the sheet is the same thickness throughout, make two quarter-inch stacks of playing cards (about 20 cards per stack). Lay one stack on each side of your Sculpey. Roll out the clay until the ends of the Acrylic Roller are touching the cards.
Use the leaf cookie cutter to cut out a flower petal. Spritz the petal with water, then press the ornate handle of the silver spoon into the petal. Repeat to make 5 petals.
2. To mold the flower to fit the side of the bottle, roll a small ball of clay approximately ½” in diameter. Flatten it into a disk. Spritz the bottle with water and press the Sculpey disk onto the side of the apothecary bottle. Lay the petals around the disk to make a flower. Press the petals down to fit the side of the bottle. Spritz the center of the flower with water and press the large button into the center. Remove the button and transfer the whole flower onto a foil-covered cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes at 275°F. Let cool.
3. Glue the flower to the side of the bottle with the Beacon Adhesives Quick Grip. Glue the large button to the center of the flower, then glue the smaller button to the center of the large button. Glue the bicone beads around the outside edge of the large button in the center of the flower. Place the blue rhinestones in a circle around the small button.
4. To wrap the bottle with wire, cut a 52” length of 14-ga. copper wire. Twist a spiral into one end of the wire using the round-nose pliers. Hold the spiral under the bottle and bend the wire up and around the bottom of the bottle. Wrap the wire around the bottle twice, once below and once above the flower. Wrap the wire around the neck of the bottle 4 times. Twist a loop into the wire on either side of the bottle neck to serve as hanging loops, then finish by wrapping the wire around the neck again and twisting the end around the base of the second loop. Trim off any excess wire.
5. To make the seed bead vine, cut a 44” length of 26-ga. copper wire. Twist three small loops in the end of the wire with the small end of the round nose pliers to keep the beads from sliding off the end of the wire. Feed the peridot luster seed beads onto the wire, leaving an inch at the end. Curl that inch of wire into three loops with the round nose pliers to finish off the vine. Starting at the top of the bottle, weave the seed bead vine around the 14-ga. copper wire. Continue wrapping the vine around the copper wire until you reach the bottom of the bottle. Finish by wrapping the vine around the bottom wire spiral.
6. To make the hanger, twist a spiral into each end of the remaining 14-ga. copper wire. Press the center of the wire around a round object like a soup can to shape it into a “U.” Hook the spiral ends into the loops around the neck of the bottle.
7. To make the beaded tassel, thread the needle with the beading thread. Feed one seed bead onto the beading thread and tie a knot around it to keep the beads from sliding off. Then feed 22 pink bugle beads onto the thread and finish with another knotted seed bead at the end. Make three strands each of pink, purple, and light blue bugle beads.
Fold the copper wire in half around the center of the strands, then twist the ends together like a twist tie.
Feed the twisted end through the round faceted bead and finish the top with a wrapped loop. Hang the tassel from the bottom spiral of the bottle.
Econo-tip: If you don’t have time to get to the swap meet, you can shop your own recyclables. Just look for a bottle that has a lip so the wire hanger won’t slip off.
Inspired Details: Let the flea market inspire you to create your own design! You could use a rhinestone brooch in the center of the flower, weave a satin ribbon in place of the seed bead vine, or hang a real vintage tassel from the bottom of the bottle. Who knows what you’ll find?!