Recycle a juice bottle into a watering can
This tutorial will show you how to do turn an empty plastic juice bottle into a watering can. The idea came to me during a very hot and humid day planting seeds on my landing.
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You Will Need
First, you will need an empty, rinsed out plastic bottle, such as a juice bottle.
Using a drill and small drill bit, drill a few holes into the lid of the bottle.
Tips: Work on a surface that you do not mind getting drill marks on, like an old phone book or scrap wood. (For illustrative purposes, I have the cap on a concrete surface, but I do not recommend doing this because you risk damaging your bit.)
Your lid should look something like this. The number and size of your holes will determine how much flow you will get from your bottle. But also keep in mind that a great benefit of using a plastic bottle is that you can squeeze it, and this will also control the flow and pressure of your water.
I don’t recommend holes that are too bit (will drown your plants) or too small (too much effort to get the water out).
I used a 3/32″ sized bit.
VOILA! Watering can.
If you use liquid fertilizer solutions, these bottles are great for mixing up your fertilizer and having it on hand to use because they have lids. Make sure you label any chemical solutions so you and anyone else knows what is inside.
Do you ever want to keep up your garden, but you’re in a pinch and can’t get ahold of or afford a proper watering can? Never fear, you can easily make one at home with just a few recycled house goods and some scraps laying around. This project can be easily completed in less than one hour.
Step 1: Assemble Your Materials and Tools
Lay out your plastic container or milk jug, smaller water bottle, cutting tool, rope, and some glue or other sealing agent.
Step 2: Use Cutting Utensil to Cut Smaller Plastic Bottle in Half
This will be your “spout”. The length is up to you, and the sturdier the bottle the better.
Step 3: Use a Marker or Pencil to Mark on Your Large Container the Size of the Bottle Half
This will be the hole for your “spout”. You can then cut this hole out. Make it as accurate as possible.
Step 4: Place the Bottle in the Hole You Have Created, Then Seal It With Glue/adhesive
Place the “spout” into the hole. If the hole is precise, super glue will work. If not, hot glue or other sealant may be required.
Step 5: Cut Two Holes Near Top of Container for Handle
See pictures above. Remember, anything above the bottom hole will leak water, so don’t make it too low to the bottom of the container.
Step 6: String Rope Through Holes
Tie knots on the other side of the whole so the rope cant come loose. Feel free to seal up the knots with more super glue for an extra strength fix.
Step 7: Wait for Glue/adhesive to Dry
Wait until everything is dry, depending on your items of choice.
Step 8: Enjoy!
You can fill with water and water your plants or garden now! You can feel extra good about it too, because your watering can is both recycled and will help you grow your own produce, a double win!
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Homemade Watering Can
A Homemade Watering Can is a breeze to make with things you already have at home.
For mine, I used an old laundry detergent bottle. You can use a milk jug and it will work well, too*.
To make a Homemade Watering Can
2. Drill a larger air hole on the side by the handle so the water will flow freely. See the hole on the top of the handle?
3. Drill several small holes in the top.
Fill with water and you are set to go! –a watering can for just pennies!
*When Astra at A journey to a dream made a hers out of a milk jug she just used a needle, heated it up and stuck it through the top.
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12 comments to Homemade Watering Can
So adorable!! I have asked my teenage son to make one for each of his grandmothers.
They would love it because they are lightweight!
It reminds me of the bottles grandma used to sprinkle clothes.
Great idea! I hadn’t thought of that. Mom used to use one all the time.
My mother had a cork with a spray head on it to put into glass Coke bottles for sprinkling the clothes to iron. I think this will actually work better because you won’t need to shake it so much since it has the side hole to let air in.
Yeah, I think your right Sandi!
Love this. I always try to re-use everything I can. Whay a great idea.
This is a cute idea, but I just use a jug without a spray head and pour the water directly onto the soil in a planter. Is it better for the plants to get water sprinkled on them?
Also – we keep our recyclables in the garage, which is quite a distance from the house. When I have a large enough container to take down I fill it with water for the planter near the garage and dump the water in the planter, then dump the container in the recycling box. I think laziness (as well as frugality) is the mother of invention!
It’s not always better for the plant leaves to have water on usually it’s best not to get them but for seedlings I like to get everything sprinkled. In the picture I didn’t have any seedlings so my johnny jump ups had to do. :-0
Simple, cute and such a good recycle project! If you can cut out a 1 quart yoghurt lid into a flower, perhaps you can put that on the bottle before you screw on the top? I don’t know if it would work, but it sounds cute to me!
This article made me smile! My hubby bought a plastic watering can at Lowe’s and was so proud because he thought it didn’t dribble (It always dribbled on me). Anyway, today the sprinkler end got caught in the garage door and is now, hmmmmm, a bit, deformed shall we say! Think I will make him a free one! lol
Introduction: Recycled Laundry Detergent Watering Can
Sometimes the best Instructables are the simplest ones. I saw this tip on Popular Mechanics list of their top tips and decided to turn it into an instructable. This is a really simple project to make and will save you some money buying watering cans, plus if you have already built a rain barrel from one of the excellent rain barrel Instructables, you will already have a good way to easily fill your homemade watering can.
Tools needed for this Instructable:
1 empty laundry detergent bottle.
1 drill and drill bit.
Step 1: Rinse the Bottle
Rinse out your empty laundry detergent bottle thoroughly.
Step 2: Drill Some Holes in the Bottle
Drill a bunch of holes near the top of the laundry detergent bottle. For a gentler stream of water drill smaller/less holes.
Step 3: Fill Up the Bottle With Water.
Fill your bottle with water or rain water. If you can it would be really cool to find an adapter to the top of the laundry detergent bottle that could help you attach a hose.
Step 4: Water Your Plants!
Water your thirsty plants!
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I made one today! My bottle is a bit different but it’ll work. I took off the label from the white bottle, and since it has a blue cap, I used a blue permanent marker with a gold fine-tipped one to decorate it in a Moroccan theme, so I can leave it out and it doesn’t look too bad. I also sprayed a fixant on t it so the marker doesn’t rub off in time. I’ll get a pic up asap 🙂 Thanks for the idea! It was fun adn now will be useful <3
Reply 9 years ago on Introduction
Awesome! I am really looking forward to seeing yours, it sounds like it looks really good with the Moroccan theme. I keep mine hidden away in the shed but if I can make it look nice maybe I would consider leaving it out.
Sure, you can buy a pretty water spike or wick for your plants. But you can also save yourself a few bucks and make your own self watering spikes using materials you likely already own. They’re simple to make, and soon enough, you can insert the spikes into the soil and forget about watering your plants — that is, until you have to refill the bottles.
Plant Watering Spikes
A water spike slowly emits water in a way similar to a drip irrigation system, so the process is more efficient compared to overhead watering. Evaporation is kept to a minimum and overspraying is not an issue. It also keeps the soil consistently moist, a must for plants that are heavy drinkers and during the hot summer. For the lazy or traveling gardener, water spikes prevent the plants from drying out and possibly dying due to negligence.
Self watering spikes can sometimes hinder root development. If the spike, for example, is used to water a shrub and is always placed on the right side of the plant, root development will flourish on the one side but not the other. Also, the spike’s hole can become clogged, stopping the flow of water. Because it’s underground, you might not notice the problem until your plant’s leaves begin to shrivel.
Making a Homemade Water Spike
Clean a bottle with a tapered neck and its cap with a 10 percent bleach and water solution. Rinse well with water. A small soda-size bottle works well for houseplants, while a larger, 2-liter bottle works better for shrubs and larger plants. Use a large bottle also if you are unable to refill a smaller bottle in a timely manner.
Using an electric drill with a small bit, drill a small, nail-size hole, such as 1/16 to 1/8 inch in diameter, in the center of the cap. If you do not have a drill, Millcreek Gardens suggests using a nail to carefully poke a hole in the cap. Fill the bottle with water and screw on the cap.
Alternately, screw and push-on plastic and terracotta funnel-shaped spikes are readily available from home improvement centers and online. Just put it on the water-filled plastic or glass bottle.
Installing Garden Watering Spikes
Cover the hole with your finger and turn the bottle upside down. Insert the bottle about 1 or 2 inches into the soil next to the plant, about halfway between the drip line and the main stem. For potted plants, sink the neck about 1 or 2 inches from the rim. For large indoor or outdoor plants, Good Housekeeping recommends using two bottles or more bottles, one on each side, to ensure that the plant receives sufficient water. Refill the bottles as needed to keep the flow of water consistent.
Water Spike Tips
Thoroughly moisten the soil before inserting the spike so the water in the bottle is not depleted too quickly. To help prevent clogging, cut a piece of wire mesh, cheesecloth or another screenlike material. Cover the neck of the bottle before putting on the lid. CNet suggests using colored wine bottles, which you might consider more attractive than plastic soda bottles.
How to make a milk bottle watering can
Pre-school children just love making these and totally love using them to help out in the garden. You can make these using any size of plastic milk bottle you like – although the 1 pint bottles work best for younger children as they’re not as heavy to hold.
What you need to make a milk bottle watering can
- empty plastic milk bottle with a screw on lid.
- stickers if you’re decorating – older kids might prefer to use washi tape
- sharp skewer/pen knife
How to make a milk bottle watering can
- We gave the bottle a wash and removed the label.
- Decorated the bottle with stickers. It’s best if you use the plastic stickers rather than paper then they stay waterproof.
- Made little water holes in the milk bottle lid with a pen knife.
- Filled with water.
- Then went off into the garden to water everything in the world!
More gardening activities for kids for you to try
- Juice bottle planters
- Mini herb garden
- Natural bird feeder
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If you are like most of us, sometime this summer you might want to leave town for a few days. Really inconvenient from the point of view of your container plants, but hey, we’re human! No need to hire the next door neighbors kid to creep into your back yard for thirty seconds each day to wet the soil surface and then run off to the mall. Here are some great DIY self watering ideas for your planters, your garden, or your house plants, so no matter how much fun you have on vacation, you don’t come back to a plant funeral. We’ll start off with the DIY wine bottle plant waterer!
Self Watering Trick Number 1:
My personal favorite – the wine bottle DIY self watering planter system. I have personally tested this one out folks. (I knew my love of red wine was good for something other than, well, my love of red wine!)
Rinse an empty wine bottle, (or other glass bottle with a narrow neck) and fill with water. Drill a hole in the cork or screw cap. Experiment with size of hole depending on the flow that you need. Standing next to your planter, turn over the bottle and push the neck down into the soil near the center of the planter. Make sure the neck is at least several inches underground. The water in the bottle will seep into the soil over several days, keeping the soil evenly moist. It works! How long the water lasts depends on many factors. Experiment!
Number 2: Soda Bottle Watering Planter Trick
This one is better for a larger container or planter, or even a delicate plant in ground that needs a more constant water supply. Rinse an empty two liter soda bottle. Cut the neck off so that the top opening can be easily filled with a hose. Or cut off the bottom and place the bottle upside down. The cut open bottom now becomes the “neck”. Punch or cut small holes randomly through the body of the bottle, as shown in the photo. Dig a hole big enough to bury the bottle in either the center of the planter, or right next to the root system of a plant that is in ground. Pack soil up to the open neck of the bottle. Fill the bottle with water from the top. With this DIY self watering system, water will seep slowly through the holes in the bottle, into the soil. Being buried in the soil will help prevent too much evaporation. This method also promotes a deep root system.
Self Watering Trick Number 3:
Create a self watering system using a commercially bought “helper”… You can either purchase ‘DIY Plant Watering Globes’, We love these Globes from Amazon, or you can use the wine bottle technique above by getting yourselves Plant Nanny Stakes to insert the neck into. These give the bottle the strength and shape to be pushed deep into the soil and also controls water flow well.
DIY Plant Watering Globes
We love these DIY Watering Globes that you can buy on Amazon! They work well and add a pop of color as well!
Plant Nanny Stakes
Use these Plant Nanny Stakes for turning wine bottles into a vacation self watering system for your plants.
So go ahead, get outta town! These DIY self watering ideas for your planters will keep it all green and happy for your return! We think you will also love our post on 10 No Fail Drought Resistant Plants! Also, check out ‘Stunning Planter Box Ideas‘ on our sister site OhMeOhMy!
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Gardening moms and dads are sure to love this decorative watering can made from just an old liquid laundry soap bottle, colored wire, and markers. Better than store-bought, this handcrafted can—filled with pretty faux or real flowers—is extra special because it gets decorated by your kid. Guide him through this fun project that makes gift-giving simple and demonstrates the value of recycled materials.
What You Need:
- Liquid laundry detergent bottles
- Sharp scissors or utility knife (adult only)
- Non-toxic permanent markers
- Hole punch
What You Do:
- Before beginning, cut off the top portion of the detergent bottle, along the top ridge and just above the handle. Save cut-off tops for funnels to use in sand and water play. This bottle will be used to make the watering can.
- Have your child soak the bottle in warm water to remove the labels. Use scrub brushes to remove residue left on the bottle from labels. If he wants, he can do this outside in a tub of water.
- Encourage him to decorate the outside of the watering can with non-toxic permanent markers. He can create a colorful picture, or come up with a pretty pattern.
- For a variation, help him roll up pieces of tape and use them to attach flat plastic stencil shapes to the outside of the watering can. He can apply non-toxic permanent marker in a zigzag motion around the edge of the stencils. Remove the stencils and add detail to the shape outlines.
- Fill the watering can with homemade flowers, or fill the container with dirt and seeds. If he wants to make a decorative can filled with faux flowers, he can use scraps of fabric, tissue paper, or construction paper, and pipe cleaners. Check out these beautiful bouquets made from tissue paper for ideas!
Voila! Your child has a simple, environmentally-friendly watering can that’s sure to put a smile on any gardener’s face.