Published on June 30th, 2009 | by Becky Striepe


Crafty Reuse: Ten Projects for Plastic Bottles

We use billions of plastic bottles every year, at a huge environmental expense. Sure, you can recycle them and feel a bit better knowing that they’ll be turned into products like Ecospun felt, but recycling requires energy and raw materials and not all plastics can even be recycled.

Why not divert all that plastic from the waste stream entirely by turning those old bottles into something new? Here are ten plastic bottle craft ideas to get you going!

  1. Re-Nest’s Trend Watch highlights plastic bottle lighting ideas. There are a few that would be easy to do yourself. You can also try drilling small holes into the caps of small water or juice bottles and stringing them on Christmas lights. You can decorate the bottles with paint and sparkly things for some extra pizzazz!
  2. Want to make that sassy votive holder pictured to the right there? Just cut the top off of a two liter bottle, fill with sand, marbles, or rocks, and nestle your votive inside. You might also try gluing some ribbon around the perimeter, since that plastic can have sharp edges.
  3. Check out this awesome coin purse made from the bottoms of a couple of two-liters over at Dollar Store Crafts. All you need are two empty bottles, a zipper, and some strong glue.
  4. Check out one more great project from Denise Carbonell: a mobile made from plastic bottle pieces pictured right.
  5. If you’re looking for a kid-friendly project, try using a couple of empties as the handles for a jump rope.
  6. Family Corner shows you how to turn a bottle into a feeding station for birds.
  7. Here’s another idea for the garden: check out this “Ghetto Greenhouse” plastic bottle seed starter over at Instructables
  8. If you’re feeling ambitious (and have LOTS of bottles), you can forgo the Ghetto Greenhouse and build yourself a full-sized plastic bottle greenhouse.
  9. Eco Child’s Play shows us how to turn a water bottle into a lava lamp!
  10. For the knitters, Instructables has an easy peasy tutorial for turning an empty bottle into a yarn holder.

So I’m pretty confident that you guys have done some plastic bottle crafting of your own. What sorts of things have you made with your empties?

Image Credits:
So Much For Recycling. Creative Commons photo by mookies
Two Votives, Different Motifs. Creative Commons photo by Denise Carbonell
Green Aqua Mobile. Creative Commons photo by Denise Carbonell

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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .

18 Responses to Crafty Reuse: Ten Projects for Plastic Bottles

  1. Great ideas. Plastic bottles can be re-used for so many things. Watching The River Cottage ( last week I saw them turn a 2 litre plastic bottle into a strawberry planter – ingenious!

  2. That’s brilliant!

  3. Delilah Cohen says:

    When I was little my gandma showed me how to use a two liter plastic bottle as a yarn holder. I love the green plastic Mobile. I bet you could do it smaller scale and make jeawelry.

    But, unfortunitly, not many plastic bottle make it though my house intact. When my dog was a little puppy we let her chew up the plastic bottles and milk jugs. We still recycle them, but in peices. (She is so firce, she rips them up!)
    I have a big pet peve about people throwing away plastic bottles that can be recycled. I Always pick them out of the trash. OF course it is best to try and not buy as many plastic bottles anyway.

  4. KC says:

    I make flowers, beads, and cutouts for jewelry, and embellishments.

  5. Panya says:

    Just today I made a vase out of a plastic bottle. It was really easy.

    We also let our dog play with empty, clean bottles [monitoring him the entire time, of course], and recycle them afterward.

  6. Rebecca says:

    About no 3: I’ve made a couple of them and I don’t recommend glue unless your glue is very soft and flexible when dry. Strong sewing thread will hold just fine and I like that better than the smell of glue chemicals. 😉 I’m using mine as apple/fruit cases.

  7. Good one, Rebecca! Do you use a hammer and nail or a drill to put holes in the bottle or just get a super heavy duty needle?

  8. Rebecca says:

    I used a thick needle. A fine drill sounds like a good idea to me though! 🙂

  9. Thanks for sharing these tips. I think many people give plastics a bad rap, but if people use your tips and find good ways to use their leftover plastics, they can serve a great purpose.

  10. Pingback: Slideshow: Eight MORE Craft Projects for Plastic Bottles : Crafting a Green World

  11. Just stumbling onto this blog, but it’s right on time, especially with the overflow of recycling bins as a result of this sweltering heat! Makes a great toy for infants in the discovery stage. Just fill with colorful beans or buttons, secure the lid, and let them shake,rattle, and roll away! And if any of your readers are interested in animated novelty prints for other crafting projects with plastic bottles, check out

  12. Pingback: Slideshow: Eight MORE Craft Projects for Plastic Bottles

  13. Isobel says:

    Not Very Helpful

  14. Scorpiofortynine says:

    Does anyone know how to make a halloween ‘ghost’ out of a  liter bottle?  The one I saw had halloween fabric draped over it with styrofoam ball for the head and it looked like a little girl with a bag over her head that had a jack-o-lantern face – too cute!   am looking as to how to fasten the styrofoam ball on it and all the details!  Thanks!

  15. Pingback: Ways to Reuse Plastic Bottles |

  16. Pingback: Recycled Architecture | BeCause Water

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