Our bottle swaps have been a great success in the past, having a lot of mini bottles leftover, I got the urge to alter some more, as you do. My choice of theme was Steampunk come Shabbychic. I went for 4 bottles all with variations on the same theme, to look like a collection.
Heres what I did. Naturally you can substitute materials for what you have.
Small bottles of varying shapes (I used mini liqueur ones) wash and remove labels. Remove any screw top lower bits.
Printed /patterned tissue, suitable for your choice of theme/ colour scheme. ( I used the tea stained antique writing tissue that comes with a purchase from All Saints. (Strange but true)
Some printed/patternd/decorated papers in co-ordinating colours
Small vintage images
Swarovski vintage glass stones in settings (bought on ebay years ago)
Small pearls/ broken string pearls and other found objects like watch faces, pen nibs, brass heart charm, china roses, polymer clay roses/anything (can be painted with metallic paint) vintage buttons,
brass moon etc
Bits of dyed lace and embellishment
fancy ribbons, braids, dyed silk ribbons
Glue. pva, Hot Glue gun
For bottle top
Glass nugget  (3/4in approx from garden center, used to put round pots or something)
1/2 inch copper tape (that which is used for soldering.) this already has a self adhesive on back
Copper wire
Small section of ball chain with connector
Metal Effects Green Patina, (changes copper to verdigris) Metal Effects /black patina aging solution for distressing

To Start
Look discerningly at your collection of papers, tissues and play about with them to get an idea of how they can work together. This for me is the most important part and totally controls what the outcome will be. I chose the neutral colour tissue to cover the bottles alongside touches of pink and green shabby chic papers (left over from
covering the journals) and embellishments..
1. Tear up and glue tissue around bottle. Leave a distressed look if you want. Glue on some decorative patterned paper, if part of your design
2. Bottle top.
I used a glass nugget for the top. Glue right sized image underneath nugget and glue to top.  Alternatively I stuck on a vintage button same size as the top with a  hot glue gun. Wrap (and peel backing) of copper tape around bottom of nugget down to bottom of top. (sounds mad, but basically cover all). You could solder over the copper tape for the silver look, as I did for the
bottle swap
I distressed the copper with Metal Effects Green Patina which changes it to an antique verdigris. Leave some bits of copper showing through. Some copper tops I washed over with the Metal Effects black patina to give a dark grungy colour. Wrap copper wire (I distressed this black with black patina) around (casually) You can make some decorative statements, like wrapping the wire around a thick needle many times to create a spring effect. I add a ball chain around the neck (also distressed with black patina. Takes about a minute in a dish, wash after). You can dangle whatever from this chain. I used interesting crystal beads, nib, couple of charms left over from the
charm swap. (you can get more handmade charm ideas here
3. Collaging your bottle.
Stick your paper elements on I used some printed out letters (a la
Sally Jean) and vintage images. I glued some mica pieces over one of the images
Hot glue your embellishments on. Dont overdo this. Placing in clusters is a good idea. Pick out the colours of your theme for continuation and subtlety (Although this does depend on your theme and colour scheme). Fancy ribbon can be incorporated in various ways
Its really up to you to play about and experiment with what you have. The hot glue gun will stick pretty much anything on. I find creating a series gives more room to maneuver and allows for more creativity. Study different movements in art to be able to get a general ambience for your design ideas. Other genres ie: Victoriana, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Roaring Twenties, 50's, Pop Art etc
Any further help you can find me in the
art-e-zine Café
Gillian Allen 10 03 2010

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