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QR Code made of wine corks


update: after hearing that the qr code didn’t scan properly on all phones, I made a black and white version that should be easier to scan!  second update: most people are reporting that it works with certain QR code readers (presumably those with better error correction)

I made a QR code out of wine corks.  I painstakingly placed the 25×25 grid (and then added a frame) so that the QR code uses over 625 corks.  Each of them placed by hand wine side up or wine side down to represent the black or white of the QR code.  Yes, pruning is so boring that I’d rather sit in and play an overly complicated game of wine cork dominos.  :)

What is this?  Why did I make a qr code out of wine corks?

A QR Code is like a two dimensional bar code.  Most smartphones have applications that can scan these and interpret the data.  Frequently, as in the case of this QR code, it will be a link to a website.  In this case, it links you to the website where iPhone users can download an app called Wine Demon.

Normally QR codes look sort of boring.  This is the original QR code that I decided to replicate:  Scan Me

I’ve been working on doing artistic designs and patterns with corks for a while and this seemed like a perfect application for it.

Why link to Wine Demon?

I thought about making a QR code that linked to this very website or my other blog, Love That Languedoc, but on a whim I decided to link to Wine Demon.  Actually, I’ve been meaning to announce some big news on the blog.  I’m taking a sabbatical from O’Vineyards to continue my wine education  and hunt out new business opportunities in California.  This is a surprising move and a lot of people are harrassing me for details, but I cannot say yet.  However, this QR code is a small hint.

That said, even if I had second thoughts about what to link to… it took me two hours to line up the 600+ corks and I don’t feel like redoing it any time soon. :)

Attribution – Creative Commons – Share alike

Please please please share this image and this idea with all of your friends.  But please also mention me.  If you use this particular QR code or if you decide to make your own QR code out of wine corks, I would greatly appreciate a small attribution for the concept.  Just link to and you will make my day. :)

Making the wine cork QR code

Basically, this QR code is a 25×25 grid where each square is either white or black.  I drew out the grid on paper and then used a single cork for each square in the grid.

It turns out that the squares in the corners are the most important part.  When a smart phone scans those corners successfully, it knows it’s looking at a QR code and then it can make a lot of assumptions to correct for errors.  But if it doesn’t get those corner squares, then it won’t know to run the error-correcting calculations.  So make sure the squares are perfect.  Also, I ended up putting a frame of white corks around the whole thing, mostly to make the squares stand out more for the phone reader.  This made a big difference and I recommend it to anybody trying to replicate this project.

Here are some photos of the process.


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  1. Robert McIntosh (@thirstforwine) Says:

    Really cool idea, shame my phone doesn’t recognise it as valid :(

  2. Warren Edwardes Says:

    My QR reader could not decipher the QR’s code. Maybe there were some with TCA?

  3. ryan Says:

    doesn’t work for me! :(

  4. mroconnell Says:

    oh noes. My phone is reading it okay with “quick qr reader” It looks like I’ll have to refine the design.

  5. gilbert Says:

    doesn’t work for me either. scans it but no valid link.

  6. Brett Says:

    Well done – it’s great and gives me the idea for a corkboard here. However, I notice the QR code you copied was for Wine Demon so was a bit surprised to get a link to the Satanic Verses when I ‘read’ your corks…

  7. Rob Ferrer Says:

    Works well for me on my Android barcode scanner, but unfortunately Wine Demon haven’t made an Android app yet (despite teasing with requests for beta testers).

  8. mroconnell Says:

    So now I’ve seen it work on iPhone, Android and Bada phones. But apparently it still needs some tweaking. Thanks for all the feedback. And sorry that the app only exists for iPhone (FOR NOW!)

    Also, I apologize for anybody who is sent to a page for Audi or for Satanic Verses. Actually no the latter is pretty awesome. Apology retracted.

  9. Cork QR Code update | O'Vineyards Carcassonne Wine Blog Says:

    [...] lot of people had trouble scanning the QR code I made out of wine corks so I made some modifications to help it become more [...]

  10. Gilbert Says:

    Scans but no valid link. Even in black.

  11. Gilbert Says:

    And I tried with 3 different QR scanners on an iPhone 4.

  12. Gilbert Says:

    Still very cool bro… :D

  13. Colin Smith Says:

    I admire your patience Ryan – its a very clever piece of creative thinking.

    And good luck with the sabbatical. Now I wonder if its anything to do with Rowan’s recent “announcement” on Pearly Gates…….

  14. Lizzy Says:

    Cool idea! I pin it! :)

  15. Scott Wilson Says:

    Great Job, Ryan. Some may think you have too much time on your hands, but true art is seldom appreciated by the masses. It offers hope (and ideas) for those of us who have too many corks clogging our kitchen drawers.

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