Wine-y Butler Wine Box

I am a huge fan of handmade Halloween and darkly designed DIY’s which is why I’m a huge fan of Alexandra Walden from the website, Me and Annabel Lee.  While I love and respect (almost) all my fellow spooky bloggers, there’s just something so perfect about Alexandra’s aesthetic that I often find myself browsing her site and discovering treasure after treasure of hers that I’m head over heels for!

Seriously, this girl is amazing.

Which is why, when I stumbled across this battered and bruised wooden box from the thrift store that was just dying for some sort of makeover, I turned to Alexandra’s page for inspiration.

A few months ago, she posted this sleek and sexy DIY for a holiday box wine dispenser:

I knew when I found the right box, I’d have to make my own version for two reasons:

  1. Her original idea was brilliant and I love fun DIYs like this.
  2. Disguising my box wine with a beautiful container like this elevates it to a classiness level that allows me to pretend I’m sophisticated while also hiding the label of the wine so my guests don’t know it’s not really a 2003 Lafite-Rothschild Bordeaux Blend but actually a $3.15 box of Franzia.  Shh…don’t tell.

Now in Alexandra’s version, she cleverly re-purposes a goblet she broke, using it to elevate her box up to the height of a wine glass. Knowing my true nature and how clumsy I am, balancing a box full of alcohol on one single column is just an invitation for disaster, so I opted for four solid wooden feet which I picked up at the local hardware store.

I also wanted to give mine a bit more of a creepy touch (Alexandra’s tastes run decidedly more sophisticated than mine do in some areas) so I opted to create my own resin skull I molded and poured from this bottle cap opener I had laying around my space.

Now to assemble all this into a boozy box of awesomeness. 

If you’re planning on following along, you will need the following supplies:

  • 1 wooden or heavy-duty cardboard box large enough to hold a bag of boxed wine
  • 4 wooden 6” legs
  • Heavy-duty wood glue
  • E6000 glue
  • Screwdriver
  • Cast iron skull wall mount bottle opener
  • Two-part silicone molding putty
  • Two-part resin
  • Plastic cups to mix resin in
  • Popsicle sticks to mix resin with
  • Dremel with cutting blade attached
  • Dremel barrel sander attachment
  • Sand paper
  • Pencil
  • Exacto Knife
  • Black spray paint
  • Clear gloss sealer paint
  • Several scraps of wood
  • Circular drill
  • Black craft foam
  • Spray glue
  • Hot glue gun and sticks
  • Screwdriver
  • Empty wine bag
  • Plastic bats for additional decoration
  • Black twisted decorative rope trim
  • Pewter Rub and Buff wax
  • Old paintbrush
  • Soft rag
  • Felt round furniture pads in black

The first thing I did was make my resin skull.  Following the directions, I mixed together the two parts of my putty and pressed them all around my bottle opener. 

Ten minutes later, after the putty had cured, I had a perfect cast.

I removed the iron bottle opener and mixed up my resin and poured it into the mold, creating the top and bottom half of my skull.

Once the resin turned white and cured, I removed the skull and began prepping it. 

I knew I wanted it to appear as though the spout was coming out of my skull’s mouth, which meant I had to cut the lower jaw off.  I also used my Dremel to sand off the rounded “ears” on either side of my skull that were originally used for screws.

Remember to wear a mask and goggles when doing this sort of work…it’s messy!

I then used my sandpaper to make sure the back of my skull was as flat as possible.

While that was all going on, I took the opportunity to attach the wooden legs to the bottom of my box.  Because the bottom of my box was so thin, I first removed the heavy threaded screws that came pre-installed in my wooden legs. I glued the legs onto the bottom of my box, one in each corner, using Gorilla Glue wood glue.  I weighted them down using a wooden coffin box and my 4-year old niece’s watering can full of water to add extra weight.

Once the legs were dry, I used my screwdriver to remove the front latching hardware, setting it aside for later.

Using my resin skull and an empty bag of wine, I figured out where on the front of my box that I wanted my wine spigot to come out. 

I used a circular drill bit and carefully drilled out the hole, making sure it was just slightly larger than the size of my spigot.

Time to attach my skull! I positioned it on the front of the box where I wanted it and traced around it using my pencil. 

The way the box was made, there was a bit of decorative trim I had to remove carefully with my Dremel and Exacto knife in order to get the skull to sit flush.

A little E-6000 later and the top half of my skull was attached, and I repeated the process with the jaw portion of my skull.

I repeated the process I used for attaching my skull to attach two decorative plastic bats, one in each corner of the box just above the skull.  I carefully cut away the decorative trim using my Dremel and Exacto knife and then glued them in place using E-6000 glue.  To help keep them in place while they dried, I used a few clamps to press them flat.

To help ensure that the wine I eventually placed in the box flowed freely, I sloped the interior of the box using two pieces of scrap wood, ensuring that the bag always sat at an angle of about 45 degrees.

Now when I bought this box, it had been marked way down due to the damage on the front which included what looked like deep claw and chew marks and a section where the trim had been ripped off.  My theory is someone’s puppy thought this box was a chew toy and decided to get in a little gnaw time. 

While I could have either sanded down these chew marks or filled them in with wood filler, I decided to leave them for added character.  I did decide, however, to replace the missing strip of trim on the top of the box by gluing down a piece of black twisted rope trim using my hot glue gun. 

I then painted the entire thing black with two coats of spray paint and then a third layer of high gloss sealer. 

Time to do a test run and see how it all works together! I filled my empty wine bag with some water and pulled the spout through the hole and went to fill my first glass.  Unfortunately, I discovered that while having the lower jaw of my skull on the box looked cool, it got in the way of the glass and caused wine to go everywhere but where I wanted it to go. 

I carefully removed the bottom jaw, replaced the strip of trim I had removed earlier, and then gently sanded the section to hide where I’d screwed up.

Once the glue I used to restore the section was dry, I gave the wine box another test run and this time it worked beautifully.

Once it was dry, I reattached the front latching hardware.

To help keep the nozzle of my wine bag in place, and to help hide the interior of the box and the wine bag that was in there (you could just barely see it through the hole) I cut out a square of craft foam that was large enough to completely cover the entire spigot hole by about ¾ of an inch on all sides. 

I pressed it into the wine box over the hole and used my pencil to trace the exact size of the spigot hole.  Then, using my Exacto knife, I cut this pattern into the foam:

When you’re done trimming the foam, you should have a piece that looks like this:

Having the foam cut this way will help hold the spigot in place.

Put a generous amount of E-6000 glue on your foam spigot cover making sure you stay outside of the circle you traced for the spigot hole and place inside your wine box, pressing it to adhere tightly.  Allow to dry fully before re-testing the fit of your wine bag spigot to help prevent slipping.

While that’s drying, you can finish up the exterior of your box.  Using a dry brush, gently brush on a very light coating of your Rub and Buff pewter wax onto any raised edges or corners as well as on your bats and the skull on the front.  I also used it on the creepy cherubs that were on the top of the box because, well, creepy.

Creepy cupids
Even painted black with pewter Rub and Buff highlights…these damn cupids are still creepy

Go over your rub and buff with your dry cloth to wipe up any excess.

Finally, attach your felt pads to the bottom of your wooden legs to protect any surfaces you put this wine box on…and that’s it!  Your box is done!

So why the name Wine-y Butler?  Well, once I put the skull onto the box and got it all finished but before I put the wine bag in and pushed the spigot through the hole, I realized it looked a bit like someone with their mouth wide open yelling…so we named the box Baxter, the Wine-y Butler who always has a glass for you but will complain about the quality of wine you select no matter what vintage you choose.

Ahh, Baxter.  You complete me.

To use Baxter, simply open the top, drop in the bagged wine of your choice (you may have to drink a glass or two first to get it to fit if it’s a larger bag – this is where it’s okay to take one for the team) and thread the spigot through the hole, making sure it’s facing the right way.

Grab a glass, pull your spigot, and enjoy!

Once you’ve had your first glass or so, fire up your laptop and mosey on over to Me and Annabel Lee and check out all the other amazingly awesome DIY projects, recipes and darkly decadent treats she has on her page!

And if you want more Dark Arts and Crafts from us here at the Nom that involves upcycling old thrift store treasures, why not check out these fun DIY projects?

Gothic Footstool

Dead and Breakfast Lap Desk

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