How to Build With Reused Plastic Bottles

How to Build With Reused Plastic Bottles

How to Build With Reused Plastic Bottles

Reusing plastic bottles to build things is a great way to recycle materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. Here is an in-depth guide on how to build with reused plastic bottles:

Selecting Bottles to Use

The first step is gathering used plastic bottles to build with. Plastic water, soda, and juice bottles are all great options.

  • Look for bottles that are made from PET or PETE plastic, which is recyclable (you can check the bottom of the bottle for a #1 recycling symbol).
  • Avoid bottles made from PP or PVC plastic as these are more difficult to work with.
  • Collect bottles in various sizes – larger bottles are good for walls and smaller ones can be used for details.
  • Make sure bottles are thoroughly cleaned before using them.

Tools and Supplies Needed

To build structures from plastic bottles you will need:

  • A hot glue gun and glue sticks for connecting bottles.
  • Scissors or box cutters to cut bottles if needed.
  • Sandpaper to smooth cut bottle edges.
  • Wood boards and screws to build the frame.
  • Nails, zip ties, or duct tape to attach bottles to the frame.
  • Staple gun and staples can also attach bottles.
  • Acrylic paint and brushes for painting bottles.
  • Polyurethane to seal and protect finished structures.

Planning the Structure

Before starting construction, plan out what you want to build and how bottles will be arranged:

  • Sketch designs and bottle placement.
  • Measure dimensions to determine how many bottles are needed.
  • Pick a level spot with space to work.
  • Decide on a frame shape – simple squares or rectangles are easiest.
  • Will the structure be freestanding or attached to a wall?

Building the Frame

The frame provides an anchor for attaching the plastic bottles. Use sturdy wood boards screwed together to build a frame:

  • Cut boards to the desired length for the frame shape.
  • Predrill holes for screws to prevent splitting wood.
  • Screw boards together using corner braces for extra support if needed.
  • Make sure the frame is level and square.
  • Leave a small gap between boards – bottles will protrude slightly.
  • Attach the frame securely to a wall stud if not freestanding.

Attaching Bottles to the Frame

Now the plastic bottle “bricks” can be attached to the frame:

  • Work in rows, starting at the bottom attaching bottles next to each other.
  • Alternate bottle sizes and colors in rows for visual interest.
  • Use hot glue, zip ties, or duct tape to attach bottles – nails or staples can also be used.
  • Fill in gaps between bottles with pieces of cut bottles.
  • Add each row on top of the last, overlapping seams for stability.
  • Construct multiple connected frames for larger structures.
  • Leave spaces for windows and doors if desired.

Finishing Touches

To complete your plastic bottle structure:

  • Paint bottles with acrylic paints if desired.
  • Seal the finished structure with polyurethane for weather protection.
  • Add decorations – mirrors, lights, mosaics made from bottle caps or pieces.
  • Make furniture like benches, tables, or shelves to accompany the structure.

With a little planning and effort, you can build all kinds of creative structures by upcycling used plastic bottles – walls, playhouses, greenhouses, privacy fences, and more. It’s a fun project for DIY enthusiasts while also keeping plastic waste out of landfills.