I made this project as a gift for my mom this past Christmas. She loves wine and has the perfect place in her bathroom for a new bath mat. And I had so much fun making it! However, this can take quite a bit of time, so be sure to leave plenty of time for making this craft! (aka, this is not a “Christmas is tomorrow, what will I get my mom?” kind of gift)
- 175 wine corks (estimate)
- Hot glue gun (and lots of glue sticks!)
- Non-adhesive shelf liner
- Utility knife
- Cutting board
Buying and Picking You Wine Corks
I bought 150 corks from Etsy for about $25. I had around 30 wine corks already at home, so I figured that would be enough for this project. I ended up using 153 corks to make a 31” x 16 ½” size mat, but cut about 170 because not all of the wine corks are the same size. The best corks are definitely the medium or average sized corks. They’ll fit in most places in your mat. But you’ll also need a few short corks, skinny corks, long corks, and wide corks. Just make sure the majority of your them are average size.
Cutting Wine Corks
The most important thing to cutting wine corks is using a SHARP knife. I used a utility knife, and it worked way better than any of my kitchen knives (which I started out using with not so great results). Besides the knife, you’ll also of course need a cutting board. I suggest using one you don’t mind getting cut up a bit, since you’re using a very sharp knife.
I boiled my wine corks in a pot of water before cutting them. At first, I thought this really helped. However, I eventually realized that using a sharp knife was just as good as boiling the corks. So it’s completely up to you if you boil them (steaming them is another option). Fair warning, wine corks don’t smell all that great when boiled!
I scored a line in the cork lengthwise where I wanted to cut, before actually cutting. I found that this helped me cut a straighter line. I cut lengthwise first, and then flip it so it’s standing up and cut each end in half. Usually this would end up cutting the cork in half perfectly. I found this to work better than just cutting on one side, as that tended to make the cork break unevenly.
Making the Bath Mat
Great! You have all your corks cut, so now it’s time to get to the fun part! I set out a big workspace to lay out the shelf liner and put newspaper under it just in case some hot glue went awry. Then I started gluing!
When researching how to do this project, I saw a lot of people set up all the corks on the mat first, and then glued. But I wanted to go one row at a time. You can see from the picture below my process started out in the bottom right corner and moved to the left corner.
I found it to be really fun to find the right place for each cork. It was like putting together a really satisfying puzzle! I put glue down in a rectangle shape with a little dot in the middle for each cork. Make sure the corks on the edge of the mat are about 1/8 of an inch over the edge so you don’t see any of the mat underneath.
When I got to the end of the first row, I cut my bath mat to the right length before gluing the last couple corks. This way I knew exactly how big the bath mat should be based on the size of the corks (I thought this would be easier than cutting the mat and making the corks fit that size). And then I just worked row by row from there, until it was done!
And below is the final product in the bathroom!
I hope you have as much fun making your bath mat as I did!