Cork isn’t just for plugging wine bottles and pinning up your shopping list anymore. It floats, it’s impermeable, it has a bouncy elasticity, and it’s fire resistant; cork’s versatility makes it great for a variety of products. It’s taken from cork oak trees exclusively found in parts of Europe and Africa. Best of all: it’s all-natural and can be sustainably grown and harvested because the trees aren’t completely cut down. The bark is stripped while the tree lives on. The material can be recycled, but you can’t yet throw it into your blue boxes (a Google search for ‘recycling cork’ will bring up a variety of charities to send your old wine stoppers to).
Cork flooring has been growing in popularity for several years now, but you don’t often hear about it. Though you’ve possibly walked on it without knowing because it can look just like wood or tile. It’s great for floors because it has that softer give, but it’s durable enough to be a completely dent-free flooring material. It’s quiet and warm to the touch; on those early mornings when you’re puttering around the house, you won’t wake anyone up or freeze your feet. Music lovers and binge-TV-watchers will also appreciate that it absorbs sound.
Speaking of home décor, cork is a versatile material for homemade crafts and DIY projects because of its practical properties and earthy-look. Beyond your enthusiastic vision board, cork can be used to make creative:
- planters and tiny, little, adorable, baby planters
- wall art
- decorative wine stoppers with unique tops
- electronics protectors
- backings for arts and crafts to prevent scratches
A special DIY cork project is building an entire boat out of wine corks! John Pollack put his nautical dreams into action by initially collecting corks from his own bottles and then moved onto restaurants and bars. He eventually quit his job and dedicated his time to hand-crafting the Cork Boat. He and his friend built hexagonal units and then bound them into logs. A group of volunteers joined in, and after a couple of years, Cork Boat set sail on Columbus Day back in 2001. (Notably, Pollack was a speechwriter for President Clinton and won the World Pun Championship in 1995. Now that’s corking.)
Cork is green, sustainable, soft but durable, fire resistant, water impermeable, and, apparently, has real boat potential. With all of these fabulous qualities, we’re sure to see lots of unique projects and products sailing our way in the future.