Malcolm Forbes once called a matchbook collection a lazy man’s journal. I like to think of my cork collection as something similar. I usually grab the corks when I had a good bottle and can remember excellent meals and wonderful bottles of wine with friends as I look over the corks I have collected over the years. But I have to admit, the little buggers add up. What do you do when your cork collection starts to overflow the container?
Get a Bigger or a Second Container – It’s always an option to get a bigger container and keep the storage going. But perhaps a more productive idea is to add a second decorative container where you can put your special corks on display for friends and family. If you have a wine geek friend, they will enjoy looking at it like kids doing baseball cards (or perhaps Magic the Gathering cards).
Cork Boards – This has been my go-to idea to move excess corks out of my collection, as my family can attest. There are some great kits with a frame and a plywood back (which you can make if you are a carpenter). Just lay the corks in a decorative pattern and glue them in place. From personal experience, don’t spare the glue – more is better here. They look great hung on the wall and make a useful cork board for notes.
Cork Wall – It is easy enough to extend the cork board idea to a cork wall. If you have an area where you store your wine with a bit of wall space, a decorative arrangement of corks can elegantly set the tone. Just be sure you aren’t moving anytime soon.
Bath Mat – Corks can make a great bath mat when strung together with a decent thickness of string to create an array of corks. Decide on your target size and lay them out. Drill through the corks lengthwise and then string them together. Cheap, fun and water resistant (and it feels pretty good on your feet too).
Key Chain – While this doesn’t consume too many corks, it’s a great way to let people know your hobby. Screw an eyelet into the end of the cork and slip on the key you want. This is a great approach for a spare key. If you don’t load it up too much, it will float too!
Place Holders – A great use for corks is placeholders for name cards at a wine dinner. Sand down one long side a bit to get a flat surface and use a saw to make a slit along the length for the card. I like to put mine at a little angle to the flat surface so the card is more visible. Just make your friends take them home after the meal to get them out of your home.
Trivet – Cork has great temperature resistance and makes a great trivet. Lay out a piece of fabric to size. Take your corks and slice smaller discs off, all at the same length – perhaps ½ an inch. Use hot glue to attached the corks to the fabric in a nice pattern. Then cut the fabric to size with scissors and an knife. Makes a great gift.
Cork Wreath – A great craft is a cork wreath, announcing a fun time for all who enter your home. Get a wreath form and attach the corks by the end with hot glue. The good news is this one uses a bunch of corks. It makes a fun spray, is visually appealing and each one is unique – and makes a great gift if you are trying to trim your collection.