How to Make an Herb Garden from Recycled Plastic Bottles

Herb Garden made from Recycled Plastic Bottles

Herb Garden made from Recycled Plastic Bottles

I’ve been tossing around ideas in my head lately about how to reuse, recycle and remake. Lately I’ve been drinking SoBe Lifewater 0 Calorie after my workouts.  It comes in these really cool spiral shaped bottles. The bottles are really sturdy and I’ve been trying to figure out what (other than recycling) I could do with them.  I thought the first thing I’d try was an herb garden.

I live in a townhouse, and I don’t have a lot of yard.  What I do have is really really shady, so I can’t get much to grow back there.  I do love using fresh herbs, so this was a good solution for me.

Note: If you’re not sure whether the bottles you have on hand are food-safe, you may want to plant flowers or something non-edible. Some think it’s never a good idea to use plastic for anything food-related. You could always turn this project into a flower garden instead of an herb garden.

What you’ll need:

Supplies for this project

Supplies for this project

Instructions:

Step 1:  Cut the bottles

Step 1: Cutting the bottles

Step 1: Cutting the bottles

The most important thing I can say here is BE CAREFUL.  Ok, actually the most important thing would be empty the bottles first.  But if you’re a kid or a clutz, find a steady-handed adult to help you.  The plastic on the bottles I used was pretty thick.  I started with a saw and the bottles wedged into a mitre box.  I managed to cut myself.  Not badly, but a nick.  So after that I switched to starting the cut with the saw and then using scissors to do the rest.

The second most important thing I can say here is DO NOT USE YOUR GOOD SCISSORS.  Cutting plastic will dull your scissors.   I don’t know how many times as a kid I heard my mother say “You’re not using my sewing scissors for that, are you?”  and I am repeating that here.  Don’t use your mother’s sewing scissors!

The third most important thing to remember is to measure the height if you are making multiples to make sure you get them all the same size.  I eyeballed the first and then used it to measure and mark the rest.

Don’t worry if your edge is rough.  We’ll take care of that later.

Step 2:  Wash the bottles

Yep, that’s right.  It’s easier with the tops cut off, but be careful not to cut your hands on the rough cut edge.

Step 3:  Measure and cut the bias tape

Wrap a piece of bias tape around the cut edge to see how long you need to make it.  Cut it so that it will cover all the way around and overlap by about an inch.  I cut mine on an angle.  If you’re making multiples, use this first piece as a template for the others.

Step 4:  Gluing on the bias tape

Step 4: Gluing the bias tape

Step 4: Gluing the bias tape

Step 4: Tops On

Step 4: Tops On



Lay the bias tape with the folded side up (see picture). Lay a strip of glue down each side. I used regular old craft glue. Then glue the bias tape to the bottle, with one half of the folded tape on each side of the plastic.

Step 5: Foil the tops

Step 5: Foil the top

Step 5: Foil the top

After the glue on the bias tape has dried, wrap some foil over it. This seems kind of stupid, but it’s going to protect your pretty bias tape from getting all dirty when you pot your herbs. If you don’t want to use foil you could probably use some newspaper, foil just holds in place nicely. I re-used the same small strip of foil for all 4 bottles.

Step 6: Plant your herbs

Chocolate Mint, Purple Basil, Cilantro, and Thyme

Chocolate Mint, Purple Basil, Cilantro, and Thyme

I chose to plant Chocolate Mint, Purple Basil, Cilantro, and Thyme. I didn’t even know that Purple Basil existed! I’m excited to use that and the Chocolate Mint, and D will be happy when I make pico de gallo with the Cilantro and chicken ravioli with the Thyme.

After you plant them, you could embellish them with some nice labels. I chose to keep mine plain. Aside from cutting the bottles, this was really simple. In fact, it took me longer to write this how-to than it did to make my herb garden! I think I may make more with flowers for my desk at the office :)

If you follow my project guide and make these, let me know – I’d love to see them!

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