Metro Modern Self Watering Planters from Soda Bottles
These very unique planters are not only upcycles, they are self watering therefor are much more hands off than many plants. You busy folks will appreciate that! They are made from soda bottles and the gold spray paint really gives them a metro modern feel. If you enjoy these check, out our Touch of Gold DIY Planters that are perfect for herbs and come with free herb markers! And if you enjoy upcycling plastic bottles, when your done here take a peek at our Geometric & Confetti Plastic Bag Holder & Dispenser!
Self Watering Planters Supplies
- 2 slim tall plastic soda or water bottles. We used LIFEWTR bottles. They had nice flat ends which looked great!
- Xacto Knife
- Dry Erase Marker (for marking plastic bottles)
- Hair band or rubberband to help mark
- Gold Spray Paint (We used Rust-Oleum 2X Bright Gold)
- Small Filler stones or pebbles. We found some at the Dollar store.
- Masking tape
- Drill for hole in lid
- 100% white cotton yarn
- Paper towels
- Clear Waterproof Silicon Glue
- Iron (for rounding edges of horizontal planter cups)
- Four small round clear beads (optional to glue on four corners o base to act as feet)
Instructions #1 HORIZONTAL PLANTER
Begin by placing the rubber band around the top of the bottle, about 1 1/2 – 2 inches from the base of the bottle neck. Trace around the rubber band with the dry erase marker, creating your cut line. Repeat on the second soda bottle as well. (For this project we used tall water bottles with a flat base. We used the Life WTR bottles, but a few other brands make similar bottles.)
Remove the rubber band and use the X-acto knife to cut along the dry erase line. Remember to cut as straight as possible as we will be using both pieces of the bottle.
Once the two bottles are cut, draw a 1 inch triangle on one of the bottle edges. Cut out the triangle. This will allow the bottle to insert easily into the second bottle.
Insert the bottle base with the triangle cutout into the second bottle base. There will be a small gap between the two. Don’t worry! This will be filled shortly.
Heat the iron to high/cotton. Take the two bottle tops and gently press them onto the iron, being sure to apply equal pressure to all edges.
This gives the bottle tops a smooth and slightly rounded edge that not only looks more finished, but ensure you won’t get scraped or cut when tending to your plants.
Watch this short video on how to round the edge of a plastic bottle.
Take your combined bottle bases and turn so that the gap is facing the bottom. Push the bottles together until you have the desired length of your planter.
Using a soda bottle top, place the mouth of the bottle at the desired location along the top of the combined bottle bases. Trace inside the bottle opening with a dry erase marker. Repeat on the opposite side of the TOP of the bottle bases, making sure that both circles are at least 3 inches in from the edges. We recommend using a ruler to ensure that the openings are directly across from one another.
Remove the bottle tops and trace an outline around the existing circle. This should be about 1/4 inch around the circle you just created. This will allow for the soda bottles to be inserted into the bottle bases without being too large that they wobble around.
Using the X-acto knife, cut along the outside line you just drew. Then simply wipe away any remaining dry erase marks.
To ensure they fit, pop the bottle tops, neck down, into the holes along the top of your bottle bases. This should be a somewhat snug fit, allowing you to squeeze the widest ring on the mouth of the bottle into the hole. When turned upside down, the bottle tops should not fall out.
The finished product thus far should look like this. Notice that the bottle tops are aligned directly across the top and the gap on the combined bottle bases is facing directly down on the table surface.
Using a drill bit, drill a hole through the center of each of the bottle caps.
This will allow for self watering.
Now to handle the gap at the bottom of our combined bottle bases. Use a clear, silicone, water-proof caulk in order to ensure that the planter doesn’t leak but still appears clear.Begin by turning your combined bottle bases upside down to access the gap. Pull the bottles apart about half an inch from your desired length. Using the silicone, fill the gap with a substantial amount of silicone.
Once filled, place a line of silicone along the edge where the bottles connect.
Next, push the bottles back together about 1/2 an inch or so to ensure that the silicone is pressed in between the two bottles. There will still be a substantial amount of silicone on the exterior. Using your finger, begin wiping away the excess silicone.
Complete this around the bottle until there is a smooth, clear coat along the seam. Don’t be afraid to add extra silicone to the gap if needed. Keep in mind that the gap will be on the bottom of the bottle and does not need to be as ‘pretty’ as the smoothed seam. Let dry 30 minutes, or the amount of time recommended on your brand of silicone.
Once dry, prepare for painting by wrapping masking tape around each edge of the bottle, roughly 3 inches in. Cover the center portion of the bottle with a paper towel to protect it from over spray. (TIP: Wipe off the soda bottle ends thoroughly prior to spray painting. Unseen finger prints or residue will cause the spray paint to pool or not cover evenly.)To create the self-watering system, use a highly absorbent string or yarn. We’ve found that 100% cotton works wonderfully!
Cut 4 pieces of yarn, approximately 6 inches long.
Take the bottle lids and feed 2 pieces of yarn through each of the drilled holes. Once inserted, tie a knot to prevent the yarn from pulling back through the lid. The knot should be tied about 2/3 of the way up the string. This allows the longer portion to absorb water, but still plenty of length on top to feed the plants in the 2 inch bottle tops.
Once the knots are tied, place the bottle lids back onto the two tops.
NOTE: FYI: The pebbles or stones in the bottom should keep it from rolling but you can also hot glue on four clear beads to each corner to act as “feet” to help balance it! Sorry we don’t have a picture of that. If was an afterthought. To add weight and style, pour pebbles, rocks or stones, in the color of your choice into the combined bottle bases.
Shake them to evenly disperse along the base. This will also cover our silicone filled gap at the bottom. Be sure to rinse your pebbles or stones thoroughly prior to placing them in the container!
Using the same pebbles, pour a tablespoon full into each of the bottle tops. Pull the strings up through the pebbles to ensure that they are drawing water up and into the soil.
Add potting soil on top of the pebbles in each bottle top.
Insert the desired plants into each bottle top to create a unique and eye catching planter, suitable for any room or decor! Be sure to add a little water to the soil at first, to moisten the strands of yarn so that the self-watering process kicks in. Need to refill the water in the base? Simply lift out one of the bottle tops, pour in additional water, and reinsert your plant.
Instructions #2 VERTICAL PLANTER
Wrap the rubber band around the 2 liter bottle. Using tape, hold the rubber band in place so that the front is about 3 inches lower than the back.
Once secure, use the dry erase marker to trace around the rubber band.
Remove the rubber band. Using the X-acto knife, cut along the dry erase line. Be sure to cut as cleanly as possible since we will be using both pieces of the bottle.
When complete, your bottles should look like this. Clean up the rough or uneven spots with scissors.
Insert the top of the soda bottle into the bottom to make sure that your edges are parallel.
Be sure that the mouth of the bottle is facing directly down to the center of the bottle base.
Spray paint the top portion of the bottle only. Being that the bottle cap will be setting in water, it is not necessary to paint the cap.
Using a drill bit, drill a hole in the center of the bottle cap.
Be sure that the hole allows for 3 pieces of yarn to fit snugly through it.
Use a highly absorbent string or yarn to create the self-watering feature. We recommend 100% cotton.
Cut 3 pieces of yarn, roughly 10-12 inches in length.
Insert the 3 pieces through the bottle cap. Leave about 2/3 of the string hanging out of the top of the cap. Tie a knot to prevent the string from pulling through the hole.
Place the bottle cap onto the painted portion of the bottle and tighten.
Spread out the 3 strands inside the bottle.
Add pebbles or rocks to keep the strands upright. This also provides drainage for your plant, ensuring that the soil is not over-watered.
Fill the base of the bottle about 1/3 full with water. Gently insert the top portion of the bottle into the base.
The longer strands of yarn should puddle into a loop at the bottom of the water.
Next, add potting soil and insert your plant. Don’t forget to add water to the soil on the first day. This will moisten the tops of the strings and allow the self-watering action to kick in. Need to refill the water? Simply lift top portion of the bottle out, refill the base with water, and reinsert. Now you have a stylish, low-maintenance self-watering planter that will look amazing in any room.