Alexe Helmke repurposes wine bottles in home decor project

Molly Emmett

Senior physics-astronomy major Alexe Helmke does not describe herself as crafty, but when it comes to reusing, she gets creative. Her favorite project for which she reuses materials is her wine bottle candle holders.

“I’ve always thought that wine bottles look very elegant and beautiful on their own. I also am kind of a candle freak. So, at some point, I thought, ‘Why not put the two together?'” said Helmke.

Using wine bottles that she cleans and saves and cheap taper candles that she purchases from stores like Wal-Mart, Helmke creates her inexpensive decorations. First, she must melt the bottom of the candle with a match so that it will form to the neck of the bottle. Then she places the candle in the top of the bottle and lights it.

“After that, it’s pretty simple. You mostly just let the candle do its thing and melt,” Helmke said.

As the candle melts, the wax drips down onto the bottle and creates a patterned result which she enjoys.

Besides wine bottles, Helmke also uses colorful jars and other household containers from time to time. These work best for tea candles or votives, and add to her eclectic candle assortment.

Regarding her reasons for reusing, Helmke does not necessarily credit the Whitman atmosphere, though she does recognize that many other students reuse materials. Rather, she is motivated by personal ethics.

“I guess I try to reuse things just because it makes sense. Why buy something new when something you have will do the job, you know?” she said.