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. Click For More Pics
  •     2 Slim tall Plastic Soda or other bottles. (We used LIFEWTR water bottles which were perfect)
  •     Xacto Knife
  •     Dry Erase Marker (for marking plastic bottles)
  •     Hair band or rubber band 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)
Cut off about 1 to 2" off the top of both bottles. If you put a rubber band around it then mark it with a dry erase marker you get a nice straight line to cut on! Save the two ends as you will be using them.
Cut a small triangle out of one of the bottles. This allows the bottles to be pushed into each other as shown.
OPTIONAL: Take the two ends you cut off and press them a few seconds against a high heat iron. This is very safe and gives them a nice rounded edge. Nothing gets on the iron.
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 and 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.
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 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 a ‘pretty’ as the smoothed seam.  Let dry 30 minutes, or the amount of time recommended on your brand of silicone. (MORE PHOTOS ON OUR SITE)
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.)
Drill a hole in the center of the two lids. To create the self-watering system, use a highly absorbent string or yarn.  We’ve found that 100% cotton works wonderfully! 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.
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 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.
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!
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 8 questions
  • Pat
    on Mar 29, 2017

    How wud it work w really large established plants, trees?

    • Wendy Cochran
      on Mar 30, 2017

      A 5 gallon pail with a rag that touches the ground to the bottom of the pail filled will work like this. my mom use to water the cucumbers like this using a coffee can with a rag in it.

  • Catherine
    on Mar 30, 2017

    Looks like you used succulents. How would they survive as their soil needs to dry out between waterings?

    • In all honestly we used them because they were a great fit for that planter. If they need dry soil a better plant should be used unless you just dont add much water. Ü

  • Lynn Brantman
    on Apr 12, 2017

    Fabulous results! Have you tried this with larger soda bottles? Also wondering if there is concern of using plastic with edible plants.
    • I would think any size bottle would work fine. I assume edible plants would be as ok as the soda that is in the bottle. But it's not like the food nor plastics industry has our health in mind is it?

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