We have monthly glass collection now for our recycling and after a month it’s quite interesting to see how many glass bottles are collected, especially beer bottles! I really wanted to find a way to be able to reuse them. In NZ we can recycle glass but it’s still nice to reduce the amount and if I can reuse it why wouldn’t I? The planters I’m talking about today can totally be made with plastic bottles and infact it would be a lot easier to make too. We don’t use a lot of plastic bottles and I find the glass is nicer looking when displayed.
Today I’m going to show you how I make an ordinary beer bottle into a self-watering planter perfect for herbs or microgreens.
All you need is something to score the glass, a tile cutting drill bit works well if you have no diamond glass cutter, candle and some ice water.
Here are written instructions on what I did, or scroll to the bottom for a quick video. I didn’t worry too much about straight lines and edges in this video as I wasn’t making glasses to drink from. This is not a tutorial, as that would imply I’m an expert at this 😉. More of an inspirational video on cutting down on your recycling!
First, start with a beer bottle and remove the labels.
I used some sweet orange essential oil to remove the sticky residue from the labels (though any essentail oil works), then I scored lines where I wanted to cut the glass, with a glass or tile cutting drill bit. I wanted to cut about a 2 thirds of the bottom off, and a third off the top.
Once the lines were scored, I filled a sink with ice water, then lit a tealight candle. Then I put on some gloves, and rotated the bottle, alongside one of the scored lines, over the flame about 5 times.
Then I dunked it in the ice water and the bottle broke along the line I had scored. Then I let the top come to room temperature before doing the same thing over the second scored line.
Once my bottle was cut, I sanded back the rough sides with medium grit sandpaper.
Then I painted them. Whatever paint you use (if any!) is up to you but try go for a non toxic one, or if you can’t, don’t have the water or soil touch the paint so it doesn’t leach chemicals . For a wicking material (what will carry the moisture up and do the ‘self-watering’ I used unbleached organic cotton. The same stuff I use when making beeswax food wraps.)
I tied a knot in one end and threaded it through the neck of the bottle so the loose end was hanging out the top of the bottle.
Then I filled part of the bottom of the bottle with water and placed the the top of the bottle upside down inside it, so the loose bit of fabric was hanging in the water.
Then I filled it with soil and herbs, though you could put in seeds or seedlings of whatever small plants you like.