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5 Important Tips for Working with Cork

Do you like working with cork in your crafts? I love the natural look of this unique material. Here are my top five tips for being successful.

5 Important Tips for Working with Cork

Cork is one of those creative surfaces that I don’t give enough attention to – but when I work with it, I love it! I appreciate natural materials, so I like the look of cork in general – and I also like the texture it adds to a project just because of the pattern of the material.

It’s durable and you can use it for so many things from jewelry to home décor . . . and it’s lightweight. However, there are some tricks for using it successfully. Please read on for tips!

Tips for Working with Cork

1. Pick the right thickness for your project. Cork comes in a variety of thicknesses – from very thin to as thick as wine corks. Make sure you carefully select the thickness that is right for you.

Thinner cork is harder to cut without tearing, and thicker cork requires a tougher blade (maybe even a mini saw).I typically choose cork that I can cut with a craft knife, and layer it up if I need to stick pins into it.

2. Let it air out and flatten. I’ve noticed that sometimes the (natural) smell of cork can be a little overwhelming, so I typically take my cork out of the package and let it air before working with it.

I especially do this if I purchased it on a roll, so that I can allow it to flatten as well – it’s harder to work with when it’s curling.

Do you like working with cork in your crafts? I love the natural look of this unique material. Here are my top five tips for being successful.

3. Pick the right cutting tool for the job. As I mentioned before, thicker cork requires a tougher tool – like a mini saw. I find that thin (delicate) to medium cork is easiest to cut with a craft knife or scissors. Cut slowly because cork tears easily. I recommend practicing before doing your final project.

4. Clean it properly. Clean and wash wine corks (and let dry), and dust older cork with a damp washcloth. Make sure all particles are off of the surface before crafting with it.

5. Don’t let it sit in the sun. Cork is relatively dry already, but you don’t want it to get more dry and brittle by sitting in the sun. The project you spent so much time on will eventually break in half! Instead, keep it in a shadier part of your home with lower temps.

I’d love to know your experiences working with cork, and have you share some of your projects with me in the comments! For some cork project inspiration, visit some of these ideas below:

I absolutely love modern cork crafts! These leaf trivets are very simple to make - a budget friendly idea with great results. So perfect for fall!

Modern leaf trivets

Use your stash of wine corks to make your own DIYi cork board! This cute craft can be put on the wall, doorknob, or fridge (with magnets).

Mini cork board

Instead of purchasing stamps at the store, saved a couple of bucks and make your own from wine corks. This is a fun project to make with kids!

Make wine cork stamps

Tamar Yagil

Monday 1st of November 2021

what kind of marking pen/pencil to use. i am making wallets and need a marking tool that does not leave noticable marks

Adele

Sunday 14th of March 2021

I started working with cork this past Christmas. It was a lot of trial and error. I was very happy with my results. I use an exacto knife for cutting and a glue gun. I like your stamp idea and will give that a try.

Suzy

Wednesday 24th of April 2019

I’ve read that before cutting corks boil them for a few minutes. Haven’t tried it yet but I am going to

Ginger

Wednesday 10th of February 2021

@Suzy, boil or steam. Works great. Just a few minutes. Don’t have the exact time.

larry

Friday 25th of December 2020

Place corks in colander & steam in a covered pot 10 min or so.

Gerry Lynne

Friday 24th of May 2019

Yes, boiling corks and cutting them while they are still wet keeps the corks from cracking apart and lets you more easily cut a straight edge. The corks don't have to be dripping, but wet all the way through. If you let them completely dry out, you have the problem with cutting them easily. When you boil the corks you will have to weight them down with something. I use a heavy plate placed directly on top of the corks in the pot of water.

Amy

Wednesday 24th of April 2019

Suzy - sounds like a great tip! I need to try it too!

Samantha Johnson

Thursday 28th of March 2019

My Mom saves me their wine bottles and the corks. How do i know if I have 'Real or 'fake corks? I just assumed corks from wine bottles were the same.

Georgia Douglas

Saturday 26th of January 2019

Nice. What do you think is the best/easiest way to make the holes through wine corks for a string curtain? Regards, Georgia

Amy

Sunday 27th of January 2019

Honestly I'd use a metal BBQ skewer - or something long and metal (so that it doesn't bend) and thin so that I can twist and push it through. A drill would work if you could get a long enough bit but I wouldn't want to mess with that. That's what my husband would do though.