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Topic: Reducing the weight of a "full" bottle
Message: Posted by: VE Day (Apr 16, 2011 02:55PM)
Does anyone have any good ideas or solutions on reducing the weight of a wine bottle load so it can be hidden and revealed more comfortably?

I have heard ideas such as setting inflated condoms or balloons into claret jelly so that the bottle will look full despite having huge air bubbles in it. I can see that this will reduce the weight of the bottle while making it appear full but it sounds like an awkward job submerging inflated condoms into a bottle containing wine while I wait for the jelly to set. Does anyone have any alternative solutions please?

Thank you.
Message: Posted by: brody (Apr 16, 2011 10:16PM)
Ok, this might work...sure...it could work.

Get one of those bottle cutting kits. http://www.amazon.com/Armour-Products-Bottle-and-Cutter/dp/B0018N6RR8

Cut the bottom of the bottle off. Now, using glue a small plastic vial or tube to a piece of plastic that is the same size as the bottle bottom.

Glue the false bottom onto the bottle.

You've basically made a vanishing milk pitcher.

Pour in the jelly...the plastic tube will leave a huge air void.

Like I said...might work.
Message: Posted by: Darkwing (Apr 16, 2011 10:29PM)
If I recall correctly, Michael Baker had a Hocus Pocus Parade in one of the Linking Rings where he explained a "wine bottle" production that is ingenious. Michael is a top notch magical craftsman that in always on the Magic Café. Even though it is published in the Linking Rings I would not want to tip his creation so you might want to PM him.
Message: Posted by: John T. Sheets (Apr 16, 2011 11:49PM)
You may consider Acrylic bottles. They are lighter, won't break, and look great.

Look at these: http://www.envino.com/products.html

I hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Apr 17, 2011 01:13AM)
It would help to know more about the anticipated venues, and how the wine bottle production is to be perceived by the audience.

The idea that I put in the LR is really only suitable for a proscenium stage act. the angles are not great so not a good fit if the act must be able to play anywhere you get hired.

I read the OP as wanting to cut down on weight, while still maintaining the illusion of a full bottle... this could presumably mean from any angle.

Plastic bottles cut down a bit of the weight, but the liquid is still the majority of the weight, so the initial thinking is to eliminate as much of that as possible. The claret jelly/balloon/condom idea is interesting. However as mentioned, submerging inflated condoms into a wine bottle would not be fun. So let's take a lateral approach here.

I will assume for now since no distinction has been made, that the bottle will not need to be opened and poured.

First, see if it is possible to inflate the balloons/condoms AFTER they are put into the bottle.

Lets also look at a solid substitute for the liquid, as it is impossible to distinguise between the two unless the bottle is clear glass, and the airspace inside allowed to shift.

There are some reasonably good acrylic liquid substitutes that are used in a number of crafting and modeling applications. There are also tints available for them. They are mixed as a liquid and poured up where they then set, generally by chemical reaction. I've even bought one version of the stuff at Wal Mart.

Ok, now appraoching the inflation of the condom. Two approaches possible... before the liquid is added to the bottle, or after.

Personally, I would attempt to inflate and tie-off a balloon inside a bottle first, making sure that it lacked enough air so as not to press against the inside of the bottle. Then, with the use of a funnel and perhaps a rod to keep the balloon down (air will want to rise), slowly fill up the remaining space with the tinted resin, and wait for science to work.

The other possibility is to pour a pre-determined amount of the resin into the bottle, and before it has a chance to set, insert the balloon, and inflate it so that between it and the liquid inside, the bottle reaches full volume. I would use a simple balloon pump to do this so you could control the amount of air with some precision.

It this case, you would only need to pinch off the nozzle of the balloon until the resin has set. Once set it would hold it's shape, and the balloon could be deflated and removed.

The difficult part of any of these ideas would be to make sure the resin contacted the inside of the bottle in every possible place. It may be worth considering pouring in a small amount to first coat the walls. Let it set and then add the balloon and the additional amount to fill the bottle.

Be aware that tinted liquids look lighter when there is less volume to gaze through. Set up a milk pitcher using food coloring and water to see the difference between what is in the narrow walls compared to what is in the main body of the pitcher. However with a darker glass bottle, label, etc. You can get away with less perfection.

Ok, before abandoning the thought, consider an alteration to the securing of the load. The weight of a full bottle can pull awkwardly on clothing if the weight is not properly supported and distributed. Topits are horrible for holding full bottles, as the weight usually pulls on the coat, making it hang oddly.

Consider a sling that supports the weight. Naturally this would have to be designed to work with the chosen wardrobe for the show, but large objects including bowling balls are being managed this way now. All this does is redistributes the weight of the load

Personally, I loaded full bottles in my waistband, but had added a very short (maybe 3") pocket inside. This did not act so much to support the weight of the bottle, as it did prevent it from slipping down if I was to be "wearing" the bottle for an extended period of time and moving about. It gave me more freedom of movement and peace of mind, but it was mostly the tension of the waistband that kept the bottle secure. The weight was supported by increasing the lateral pressure.

Not sure what else I can add right now. :)
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Apr 17, 2011 01:18AM)
Sorry for all the typos... too tired to go back and fix them.
Message: Posted by: thegreatnippulini (Apr 17, 2011 07:13PM)
Michael, you didn't go into enough DETAIL.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Apr 17, 2011 07:40PM)
I've been told that I'm one of those types that if someone asks me the time, I'll tell them how a clock works. ;)
Message: Posted by: VE Day (May 5, 2011 04:04AM)
Just a quick update - I use a plastic 75cl PET Bottle that looks exactly like a normal wine bottle but is made of some sort of plastic PET substance. They are quite difficult to find in Britain at the moment but Sainsbury's inform me that they are planning to introduce a whole range of wines this summer that are bottled in the plastic PET Bottles to reduce weight. Not using a glass bottle certainly reduced a significant amount of weight. I'm glad I didn't have to muck around with the condoms in jelly idea in the end as it seems like an incredible mess and a lot of fuss, whereas simply using a plastic PET Bottle has the advantage that I can open the wine bottle and pour the wine out into a glass to show its genuine once its produced.

The plastic PET bottles look exactly like normal glass wine bottles from a short distance, you only notice the difference once you touch it and feel its weight.

I'm informed that the PET bottles are being used more and more in France at the moment so hopefully they will be easier to find in Britain in the near future.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (May 5, 2011 07:09AM)
Good for magicians, but somewhat disappointing for wine drinkers. I appreciate French wines, so the thought of a fine Medoc in a plastic bottle seems un-magical... :)
Message: Posted by: John Breeds (May 22, 2011 06:38PM)
Excellent post Michael - thank you.

Your thoughts sparked off the weirdo in me! :punkrocker:

How about using a plastic bottle with its bottom cut off, as already described. Now turn it upside-down and connect the neck end to a cake mixer or hi-speed drill.

Once spinning, pour in a small amount of colour paint. Centifugal force will do the rest.
A top tip:- Wear a mask during this operation or your face will end up looking like a Navy SEAL going to a fancy dress ball in alternate camouflage! :)

Aghh well, just thinking outside of the box. :worry:

Message: Posted by: Damian (May 22, 2011 06:53PM)
This probably wouldn't work for you, VE Day, but since we're talking about it--I produce an empty bottle. Makes things much easier. I get away with it because I produce a bottle of sparkling cider. It's a champagne bottle, but it's marketed to kids, and has a full wrap-around label that obscures the liquid. When I perform this for children, I produce it early on and place it aside, telling them they can sample it after the show. At the close, I switch it for a full one, as I'm packing my case.
Message: Posted by: patrick1515 (May 23, 2011 12:14PM)
Like Damian, I produce a sparkling cider bottle for the kids and a champagne bottle for adult shows. Both have a foil wrapped top which allows you to open and reseal the bottle. Carefully open the foil, remove the stopper, drain the bottle and dry out the inside with a hair dryer. Using an off the shelf can of green spray paint carefully spray the paint into the bottle.
Rotate the bottle as the spray begins to "settle", then let dry for 30 minutes. re coat until the desired coverage has been achieved. Replace the stopper (if using champagne the cork will not go back in, substitute the cheap plastic type) then carefully re-wrap the foil. A small bit of double sided tape may be necessary. Now you have a super light-weight bottle that from even a short distance appears full.