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What Are Bottles of Hope?

Bottles of Hope are polymer clay-covered bottles that are given to cancer patients to share hope. The Bottles of Hope (BOH) program was started in 1999 by cancer survivor Diane Gregoire. She covered empty medicine bottles from her treatment and took them to other patients, telling them to write a wish and put it inside. The program grew, and now polymer clay artists worldwide create the bottles to give to cancer patients.

Removing the Lid & Stopper

You can cover any kind of bottle, or even other "vessels" like PVC pipe. But if you're using a medicine bottle with a rubber stopper and metal top, here are some tips for removing the lid:
  • Use pliers to pry the lid off from the bottom edge. You may need to go around and pry a few spots for this to work.
  • The metal is fairly thin, so it cuts or tears fairly easily. Try needle-nose pliers or metal snips to make cuts in the metal, then pry it off.

You can keep the rubber stopper and use it as part of your lid design, but keep in mind that you don't want to bake your bottle with the rubber stopper in place. Trapping hot air inside the bottle during baking could be dangerous!

Cleaning & Preparing

* Soaking: You can soak the bottles overnight in soapy water, then rinse them out. This may also be helpful for removing paper labels.
* Boiling: You can also boil the bottles (as long as you remove the lids first). This has the added advantage of eliminating any contamination concerns.
* Removing Labels: The plastic labels remove easily, either before or after soaking. Just use fingernails or tweezers to lift an edge, after which it should peel right off. Paper-based labels are easier to remove after soaking.

Helpful Websites

General Info

* Bottles of Hope: The official site for the Bottles of Hope program. Includes history, gallery, printable brochure & tags, and more.
* Glass Attic: Bottles of Hope: Glass Attic's Bottles of Hope page covers a wide range of information and includes links to lots of other sites.
* Dephi Forums: Bottles of Hope: The Delphi Bottles of Hope forum includes sections on resources, getting started, and more.
* SCPCG Bottles Of Hope: The Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild, where BOH originated, has a nice summary of the bottles' history.


* Bottles of Hope Video Tutorial: My video gives the history of Bottles of Hope, then provides instructions for finding, preparing and covering bottles.
* March 2004 PcPolyzine Making Bottles of Hope: PCPolyzine's tutorial covers the basics of bottle-covering. Page 2 includes a chart of colors that represent specific types of cancer.
* Covering glass vials with Polymer Clay: Basic bottle-covering tutorial.


* American Science & Surplus Bottlemania: If you don't have access to used bottles, this site offers unused ones for a reasonable price.


* SCPCG BOH Gallery: A gallery of BOH from Clay Connection 2000
* Small Bottles: Glass Attic BOH Gallery. Also includes a few how-to photos.
* Amaco Bottles of Hope First Auction: Amaco's Top 25 BOH from their Winter 2007 Designer Challenge
* Amaco Bottles of Hope Designer Challenge: Top 25 BOH from the Summer 2007 Amaco Designer Challenge
* Flickr: Search Flickr for "bottles of hope" to find BOH others have shared.

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CraftyGoat's Notes is all about sharing polymer clay tips & tricks that have worked for me. (And even a few that haven't!)

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