A Saratoga Water Memo Board Collage

I’ve been bantering around this idea for a while, and I finally came up with something solid.

A few years ago, I created an art project which combined a Saratoga Vichy water crate, nine empty bottles of vintage Saratoga Vichy, and electroluminescent wire.  The artwork was entered at the Saratoga Springs Trask Art Auction (it didn’t win, but it got some looky-loos) and at the New York State Fair (second place in the recycled art category).

Now I want to try something new.  I want to pay homage to the various bottled mineral waters that were produced and sold from Saratoga County.


First things first.  I need the labels removed from these bottles.

These bottles have two labels – a neck label and a front face label.  And I want both of them.  Intact, if at all possible.  😀

Now I could try to take a razor blade and try to scrape the labels off the bottles.  That’s not going to work.  I’ll end up with a bunch of paper shavings and cut fingers.

Instead, I have a better idea.  It involves Oxi Clean.

A quick trip to the local coin-op laundromat, and I purchased two packets of Oxi Clean from the vending machine.  Wow, the vending machine charges $1 per box now?  It used to be 50 cents per box … no matter, two packets of Oxi Clean should be enough.

Ain’t that right, Billy Mays?

I filled a bucket with a mixture of warm water and Oxi Clean.  I soaked each bottle for a few minutes, then used the edge from a plastic credit card to slowly slide each label off the bottle.

I then placed the wet labels, face down, on a flat book cover.  You need to place them face down, so that the glues don’t re-adhere to anything.

In order to acquire some vintage Saratoga Vichy bottles, I made the decision to disassemble my original Saratoga Vichy Crate Art Project.  As much as I didn’t want to take apart one of my artworks, I know that the original project earned its stripes – a second place ribbon at the New York State Fair is nothing to sneeze at – and it’s time to try something new.


One of the subsets of this project involves the three bottled waters that were overseen by the State of New York – Saratoga Geyser, Saratoga Hathorn and Saratoga Coesa.

According to advertisements and promotional materials of the time, Saratoga Geyser was marketed as alkaline water, while Saratoga Hathorn was a cathartic water, and Coesa was sold as a laxative water.  So if you’re bound up, need to be bound up, or need a beverage after being bound up or not bound up, the State-bottled waters were the beverages of choice.

I can get vintage bottles of Hathorn and Geyser rather easily, but Saratoga Coesa bottles are almost as rare as hen’s teeth.  One etsy store has an empty bottle of Saratoga Coesa, which I would have to buy with bottles of Hathorn and Geyser – at a cost of over $300.  Trust me, I’m not that thirsty.

In February 2020, I did find an empty bottle of Coesa on eBay for $14.  $14 I can spend.

And I have to tell you … a dunk in the Oxi Clean water and these labels came off like Florida Man’s inhibitions.  😀

I also found some other Saratoga water bottles for this project – a brand called White Cap, another one called Hide’s (from Ballston Spa), and a Saratoga-based brand called Quevic.  The labels are sweet and they look awesome in the collage.


Now for application.  I don’t know where I acquired a 16×20 piece of plywood, it may have been used a shipping materials from a previous delivery.  Waste not, want not.  So this will be the substrate for the memo board.

Most of the bottles have a cigar-band label on the bottle’s neck; those will be used around the perimeter of the board.

I laid the labels on the board, and took a reference photo.  Then I applied a coating of Mod Podge on the board, applied the labels, then sealed the labels with a second coating of Mod Podge.

And boom.

I know that some of the labels overlap the board, but that’s okay, they’ll be trimmed off once I put the board in the frame.


A collage is a collage, and this one looks pretty awesome.

But I want to take this “awesome” up to the level of “freakin’ awesome.”

I punched some staples into the wood frame … then I used twine to weave a criss-cross pattern across the front.

Well, it started off as a criss-cross pattern, but it turned more into an approximation of a cat’s cradle.  I allowed for plenty of slack, because when I put the board back into the wood frame, the twine would tighten up against the board.

And you know what?  I could have had this thing finished a month ago – had I not made the mistake of ordering an industrial staple gun through Amazon … just before COVID-19 hit.  Nor did I realize that the bargain on the staple gun was because it was coming from a reseller in Spain.  Just my luck.

But once it arrived, I got to work on the project.


And … scope this.

I can use this to put various important papers in the criss-cross weaves – things like bills, business cards, postcards, greeting cards, all of the above.

There we go – another finished art project.  And it’s functional as a decorative workplace tool, as well.  🙂