DIY Plastic Jug Watering Can

A watering can made from a plastic jug takes about one minute to complete, AND this DIY plastic jug watering can works better and holds more water than a lot of those cheap-o watering cans that look cute but cost real money.

A watering can made from a plastic jug takes about one minute to complete, AND this DIY plastic jug watering can works better and holds more water than a lot of those cheap-o watering cans that look cute but cost real money.

It’s a no-brainer!

To make this, you’ll need:

Plastic Jug Watering Can

a plastic jug of any type or size. You can use an old soda bottle or milk jug, but I like to upcycle a gallon-sized water jug, because I’m lazy and I don’t have to rinse it. We keep gallon water jugs in our cars as part of our emergency kits (you DO keep an emergency kit in your car, don’t you?), and every now and then we’ll get thirsty on the road and crack one open. When we get home, I replace the opened jug with a sealed one, bring the opened jug inside, and when it’s empty, a kid makes me a brand-new watering can.

If you have a choice, go for a jug that has a screw-on lid, rather than a snap-on one, as it will be more secure. The snap-on lids work fine, however, so don’t go tossing a perfectly good plastic jug in the recycling bin just because of that.

hammer, nail, and block of wood. An adult could probably push a sharp, thin nail or tack through the plastic lid by hand, but my kids always make these, and in my kids’ eyes, the more tools, the better!

They get that from their mother. Ahem.

1. Decorate your plastic jug. I mean, obviously. Otherwise, how will it be beautiful? Use permanent markers, or stickers that won’t peel off if they get wet.

Plastic Jug Watering Can2. Punch holes in the lid of your jug. My absolute favorite thing about this project is that it allows you to customize the pour of your watering can. I direct-sow a lot of seeds, and even a garden hose set on the gentlest spray can dislodge those delicate seedlings–a single-spout watering can is out of the question. If you make many teensy holes in the lid of this jug, however, then you’ll have the equivalent of a gentle fall of rain, the perfect way to water your littlest sprouts.

Switch that lid with one with larger holes, or one with a 1/4″ hole drilled into the middle perhaps, and you’ve got a perfectly customized watering solution for every garden.

Kids who can hammer a nail can definitely do this project independently, and kids who are too young to properly hammer a nail can often be taught how to wield a cordless drill independently. Either way, set the kid up on a sturdy, non-shaky work surface, with a block of wood on top, and the milk jug’s cap set upside-down on the block of wood. Demonstrate for the kid how to either hammer or drill through the cap into the block of wood, and then set her free and let her make you a bunch of very fine holes.

When she’s finished, fill the jug up, pop the lid on, and your watering can is ready to go!

Here are some tips for using this plastic jug watering can, especially with kids.

1. Personalize them. If each kid has her own watering can, they’re a *little* less likely to fight over them.

Plastic Jug Watering Can
See my DIY rain barrel? I love it!

2. Pre-fill them. Because these watering cans are closed, you don’t have to worry about mosquitoes contaminating them with their larvae if you pre-fill them. I sometimes do this if my rain barrel is getting full, or if I know that I want my kids to water that morning; that little boost of not having to fill the jug themselves makes them feel like they’re doing less work, and I can see at a glance if the job’s been completed or not.

3. Use them to measure water. Some plants, like blueberries, need a certain amount of water weekly; with these jugs, that contain a known amount, it’s easy to give them enough.

If you’ve got any extra tips, leave them for me in the Comments below!

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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