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Plastic Bottle Recycling Project: DIY Self Watering Planters

plastic bottle recycling

There are so many creative ways for plastic bottle recycling. Our possibilities are almost endless with tons of great craft and DIY projects using plastic, like these self-watering planters.

This is a great way to not only help the environment but also a great use of quality family time! Something you may not realize however is that this is also the number one most eco-friendly option for dealing with wastes.

More than 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills and incinerators every day – a total of about 22 billion last year.

Recycling is a great and highly recommended duty, but not necessarily eco-friendly… As of 2015, only 20% of plastic is recycled. An improvement from the 9% recycled between the 1950s and 2015.

Although it takes less energy to recycle plastic bottles vs. making them from raw petroleum, it still requires energy production, and with that comes pollution. With this fact, it makes sense that any plastic bottles we can reuse for other purposes are the best option.

Here, we’re going to show you how to make easy DIY self-watering planters for your home from plastic bottles! You can use a self-watering planter for almost any kind of indoor plant, even vegetables such as tomato plants or herbs!

Reusing can actually be quite fun!

Making your Self Watering Planter

Starting out you’ll need some basic materials:

  • Plastic water bottles (either your own or some you found on your recent clean-up!)
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Yarn
  • Hammer/ Nail or a Drill (for punching a hole through the bottle cap)
  • Soil and plants/ seeds
  • Water
  • Needle
  • Painter’s tape

Step 1

self watering planter

Remove labels from the bottle and wash/ dry. Then, using your scissors, carefully cut your bottle about 5″ up from the base.

Step 2 (Optional)

For decoration purposes, wrap a piece of painter’s tape around the top part of the bottle and paint a solid color. Let dry.

self watering planter diy

Step 3

Using either a hammer/nail or a drill, carefully punch a hole through the center of the bottle cap.

This is a key component of the watering system.

self watering bottle

Step 4

Cut yourself a piece of yarn (or some other type of thick absorbent cord) about 10 inches long and feed it through the drill hole in the cap.

If this is difficult, you can use a needle to pull the yarn through the cap. Make a knot on the inside to keep it in place (as shown).

The yarn will be used to suck water up from the water reservoir in the bottom of the planter.

Plastic Bottle crafts

Step 5

Attach the cap to the top half of the bottle.

upcycling plastic bottles

Step 6

Fill the bottom of the planter with water, and then place the top portion upside down into it.

Now, add some potting mix and seeds (or cuttings) to the upside-down section.

Plastic Bottle planters

IMPORTANT: You should always water the plant yourself at first as the potting soil needs to start out damp. After that, it should pull water up the string into the soil on its own.

Make sure the bottle does not dry out of water. When you notice it’s getting a little low, you can carefully lift up the top portion and refill the bottom.

You want the piece of yarn to always have water to pull up to the plant.


Additional sources:

Adam Heck
Adam Heck

Hey, I'm Adam - TGL author and founder. Since 2016, I've produced and sold non-toxic kitchenware throughout the US. Today, I'm using my background in sustainable product manufacturing to help families avoid unsafe reusable foodware. When I'm not writing, you'll find me throughout Appalachia camping, hiking, or both!

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