Note to Sweet Mom…..Watch the second video ONLY.
It all started when I was suffering the web trying to find some fun stuff for Beer Can day on El Morno. I found a video on You Tube that demonstrated how you could cut a beer bottle in half using string, acetone nail polish remover, fire, and water. I showed it to Cole (my 16 year old son) and he wanted to try it immediately. We had twine, water, and fire, but we didn’t have nail polish remover, so one of us was going to have to trudge out into the below zero cold and buy some at Walgreens. The trudger ended up being me, because Cole still had math homework to complete before we launched into our bottle cutting project.
By now I should have learned that these kinds of projects are never as easy as they look, nothing works like magic, and most of the time key information is left out of the instructions. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m going to show the before and after video. And provide you with a full set of directions and disclaimers.
First you practice…..click on the doohicky flower thingy if you want to enlarge the video.
Bottle: beer bottle seems to work best for beginners
Acetone nail polish remover: Nail polish remover is sold with or without acetone–make sure you buy the polish remover with acetone,
Fire: long lighter, matches, or cooking torch
Choose a spot to work that is fire resistant.
Prepare a large bowl or bucket of very cold water. If the water is not cold enough, this experiment won’t work. We used a stainless bowl filled with ice water and then added table salt to make it even colder.
Wrap the cotton string around the bottle at the point where you want the bottle to break. (The thinnest area of the bottle is best. If the glass is too thick, the bottle won’t break.) Wrap the string around the bottle six or seven times. Cole tried using wire, but it didn’t work (as you can see in the first video).
Pour the Acetone nail polish remover on the string, soaking it. Squeeze the string a bit so it soaks up as much fluid as possible.
Set the bottle on the counter or concrete, Hold the bottom of the bottle with one hand, and light the string on fire with the other hand. Turn the bottle on its side a bit and rotate it. We used a butane cooking torch (originally bought for crème burlee), but a lighter or long matches will also work.
Let the string burn until it goes out, then immediately drop the bottle into the cold water. If it doesn’t break on its own, quickly grab the bottle and apply pressure to the heated area to break the bottle.
The bottle should snap, but if it doesn’t, you may want to try again. It may take more than one try to break the bottle. Some bottles are easier to break than others. As we demonstrate in the video this hack takes time to master.
We were not as casual as it looks like in the video: A working fire extinguisher is on top of the fridge; we were working on a fire resistant surface; my teen has been setting desserts (Plum pudding, Baked Alaska, and Cherries Jubilee) on fire for years (Thank you Richard) observing how alcohol interacts with fire, he also works with hot pottery and metal kilns (ovens) at school.
Have FUN, but remember be mindful when you are working with fire, alcohol and sharp edges.