North Texas Daily

Alumni turn trash into handcrafted treasure

Alumni turn trash into handcrafted treasure

Alumni turn trash into handcrafted treasure
September 29
12:00 2022

To the ordinary person, an empty plastic water bottle might look like a piece of trash — BottlesCape Art’s mission is to change people’s perspectives.

Chloe Trent paints a mushroom design on a bottle in Deken Taylor’s apartment on Sept. 23, 2022. By Jesse Sanders

Deken Taylor and Chloe Trent, university alumni and co-founders of BottlesCape Art, met their freshman year of college. They both played mellophone for the Green Brigade and remained friends throughout their school careers. After graduation, Trent noticed how many plastic water bottles were being wasted by those around her.

“I grew up always reusing things like glass jars, [pasta sauce] containers, and turning them into things for around the house — like pencil holders,” Trent said. “By the end of my graduation, I started collecting bottles and I was like, ‘I need to figure out something to do with this.'”

Trent, who earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, looked for a way to use her creativity while repurposing empty bottles she collected.

“I talked to Deken about it and I was like, ‘Hey, I’ve got this idea: Let’s turn [the bottles] into art,” Trent said.

Soon after, BottlesCape Art was born. Trent cleaned the bottles she had collected, placed weights inside them, glued a base on the bottom of the bottles and painted them.

Taylor, who studied public relations, works full-time for a PR firm and runs business social media accounts, started advertising BottlesCape on LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.

One of BottlesCape’s hand-painted water bottles sits as Chloe Trent paints with recycled materials on Sept. 23, 2022. Photo by Sarah Hogan

Each bottle takes between 30 minutes and 3 hours to create, depending on its design.

Shortly after Trent started making bottle art, Taylor suggested they make reusable tumblers. The tumblers support their repurposing idea since people can drink out of them instead of single-use water bottles, Trent said. She prints her artwork onto waterproof inserts and places them inside each tumbler.

BottlesCape’s latest addition to its product lineup is glass jars and bottles that can be repurposed as vases for flowers or plants. Like BottlesCape’s plastic bottles, these should not be used for drinking purposes.

Trent and Taylor make most BottlesCape products in Taylor’s second apartment bedroom-turned-office. The space showcases their available products on a large shelf, along with Taylor’s diplomas and a painting made by Trent. On their own small shelf sits the very first BottlesCape bottles. Taylor’s apartment office is also where the collected bottles are stored.

“I would say we have 100 to 200 bottles saved up right now — and we did that in one month,” Taylor said.

Trent and Taylor said it is much easier to collect bottles than one would think. They collect most of their bottles by asking friends and family to give them the ones they use instead of throwing them away. Eventually, the pair hopes to go around to local businesses and ask them to donate their used plastic and glass bottles.

John Sanchez, BottlesCape customer and former university student, purchased a tumbler after finding the product on his Instagram explore page.

“I had already been looking to get a tumbler for work, so when I found out that they were based locally and that the art was nice, I decided to give [BottlesCape] a try,” Sanchez said.

Chloe Trent, co-founder of BottlesCape, paints a mushroom pattern on a recycled water bottle on Sept. 23, 2022. Photo by Sarah Hogan

This November, BottlesCape will appear as a festival vendor for the first time at Pancakes and Booze in Deep Ellum. In preparation, Trent has been creating a supply of products to match the festival’s whimsical atmosphere.

“We have a wide variety of art,” Taylor said. “We have lots of anime bottles because we’re both anime fans, mushroom-themed ones dedicated to Pancakes and Booze and astrology bottles.”

An online store is in the works for BottlesCape. Currently, patrons can utilize the Google Form linked in their Instagram bio to buy products.

For now, the two expect most of their sales to come from conventions, festivals and other events since their product is so niche, Taylor said.

“The goal of [BottlesCape] is really just to change people’s mindsets on how they view things,” Trent said. “Our tagline is ‘saving the world, one bottle at a time,’ but this can’t just be done with one person. We’re not asking people to go into bottle art but start viewing things that you consider trash and transform it into something that can stay with you forever.”

Featured Image: Chloe Trent and Deken Taylor, co-founders of BottlesCape, pose in front of their hand-made creations on Sept. 23, 2022. Photo by Sarah Hogan

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Kaitlynn Hutchins

Kaitlynn Hutchins

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