Upcycle bottles into planters Easy solution to reducing your carbon footprint

You can make custom planters from 2-liter bottles. These planters are great for house plants like flowers, herbs, or vegetables. They are also easy to make -- easy project for those who don't consider themselves handy or crafty.

This project was inspired by my grandma Pagels who was a farmer in Nebraska during the Dust Bowl Period when many farms and farmers failed.
She didn't fail.
Historic photos from the Dust Bowl Period in America, ca 1930s

My grandma was the original up-cycler and re-cycler and if she was still alive I would make several of these for her.

All you will need are a few simple supplies.
  • 2-liter plastic soda bottle with label removed
  • Ruler
  • White twine (no colored twine if for edible plants)
  • Scissors
  • Drill or hammer
  • Screw or nail
  • Spray paint for plastic (optional)
  • Sharpie
  • Soil
  • Seeds for your choice of plants

The spray paint is an optional step. If you want indoor planters you might want them to look more dressy, thus the spray paint. It's completely up to you and your desired outcome. One nice thing about NOT painting the bottles is that you can more easily see how much water is left in the bottle (see end of directions) and how wet/dry your soil is.

If you do choose to paint your bottle(s), wait at least a day before completing the rest of the instructions to make sure the paint is



I spray paint the bottle first after I fill it full of water. The water will help make sure the bottle won't tip over during the painting process. I don't want paint to be on the inside of the bottle either which is another reason I paint at this point.

Measure up ~4.5 inches from the bottom of the bottle.

Make a mark with the sharpie.

Make several measured marks around the bottle.

Cut along the marks you made with the sharpie until the bottle is in two pieces.

If your cut is a little rough like the one pictured here, you can clean it up with the scissors
Keep both halves

Either drill or hammer a hole in the center of the bottle cap.

Cut a length of twine to be ~12 inches long

Tie a knot in the twine ~ 4.5 inches from one end

Feed the twine down through the hole in the cap with the knot on the inside of the cap

You want it on the inside of the cap so it doesn't fall out into the bottom half

Put ~2 inches of water in the bottom half of the bottle.

Water in bottom half of bottle

Screw the cap onto the bottle and fill the top part of the bottle with soil. Make sure the twine is not pooled at the bottom of the soil, but extends up through the soil.

The twine will work like a wick, wicking the water up to the soil as it dries
The twine serves as a wick. When the soil gets dry, water wicks up the twine, watering the soil and plant. Therefore, it is important to make sure the twine extends long enough to reach water in the bottom portion of the bottle.

Put the top half of the bottle with the soil into the bottom half with the water and place in a sunny area.

Now plant your seeds. Make sure you don't over plant for each bottle planter. You might need to thin the seedlings when they sprout.

too many seedlings in one planter
I have made several of these planters. Some will be for herbs to stay inside and some will be to start my garden like for tomatoes and cucumbers.
If you plan on making several bottle planters, I would suggest putting a label on each of the bottles.
Thank you
Created By
Andrea Genovesi


Created with images by JeepersMedia - "Pepsi" • PunkToad - "Dust Bowl Migrants" • skeeze - "dust cloud vintage retro" • USDAgov - "Dust Bowl" • WikiImages - "buried devastated devastation" • USDAgov - "Dust Bowl" • Travelwyse - "Mother and sons in the Dust Bowl" • HomeSpot HQ - "Cordless Drill" • Thomas Rousing Photography - "Screw" • HomeSpot HQ - "Hammer" • ShortSword - "nails hammer carpentry" • Hans - "wheelbarrow garden gardening"

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