Upcycled Crafts: Pop Bottle Planters

Help the planet, make a craft!

This summer we’re offering two take-home craft activities for adults featuring Upcycling! Upcycling is the process of transforming something that would normally be considered trash into something useful and/or decorative.

If you registered for a take-home package your library will call you when its ready for pickup. Otherwise scrounge up these materials yourself and give it a try!

For our first upcycled craft activity we are going to be making plastic bottle planters! These will be perfect for planting herbs or other small plants/flowers, and they have the added benefit of built in drainage to ward off overwatering.

Materials Needed:

  • An empty plastic bottle (1.5-2L in size)
  • Newspaper strips (for paper mache)
  • Glue (for paper mache)
  • White paint (tempura recommended)
  • Paper napkin strips (or thick tissue paper)
  • Mod Podge decoupage glue
  • Foam brush
  • Water
  • Scissors
  • Bowl for mixing paper mache paste

1. The first step is to cut the plastic bottle into 3 roughly equal pieces. This can be done using either a knife or a pair of scissors; exercise caution!

2. Next, we’re going to discard the middle piece of the bottle; it won’t be necessary to construct the planter. Then, take the top piece of the bottle (with the spout), and place it upside down inside the bottom piece (this is going to form the drainage hole for excess water).

3. Now it is time to paper mache the outside of the planters.  To make the paste, combine the included glue with ½ as much water and mix. Coat each newspaper strip in the glue/water mixture, then place on the exterior of the planter. Continue with each newspaper strip until the planter is covered in 2 layers of paper mache, folding the top of the strip over the edge of the top slightly to form a lip (see picture). Allow to dry before proceeding to step 4.

4. Once the paper mache has dried, paint the exterior of the planters white using the provided paint. Allow to dry before proceeding to step 5.

5. Next, cover the exterior of the planter in a layer of Mod Podge. Without letting it dry, add the strips of cut-up napkin included in the kit in whatever arrangement you like. The napkin can be quite delicate and may tear because of the stickiness of the Mod Podge, so be cautious while applying it.  Keep adding napkin pieces until the entire planter is covered.

6. Once you’ve covered the whole planter and the Mod Podge has dried, apply another layer of Mod Podge over top of the napkins to act as a protective coating. Be sure to cover the newspaper & napkin pieces that make up the inner lip of the planter.  It will look “milky” at first, but not to worry, it will dry clear!

7. After everything has dried, you will have completed your upcycled planter! Fill it with whatever plant you like, and enjoy! Thank you for participating! 

Craft Blog Pic 7

Images/instructions by Claire Armstrong, https://bit.ly/36AHx5T, accessed June 14th, 2021. 

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