A while back I saw a DIY project which turns a wine bottle into a self-watering planter using
- Yarn (cotton or wool is best).
- Nail polish remover
- A candle
- a basin of cold water.
To do it you:
- Take the label off of the bottle and clean it (you can clean the adhesive off using steel wool and some of the nail polish remover)
- Wrap the yarn around the empty wine bottle about 4-5 times close together where you want the bottle to break (it will break just above the yarn, most likely, so keep that in mind; also bear in mind that the top has to be deep enough to plant in but the bottom still has to be deep enough for the neck to not reach the bottom when you put it in upside-down when finished.)
- Take the yarn off and soak it in the nail polish remover for about 10-20 seconds.
- Fill a basin or sink with icy water (just deep enough for the bottle to be submerged on its side.)
- Then put the soaked yarn back on the bottle where you want it to break.
- Wipe off all excess nail polish remover that might’ve gotten onto the bottle while putting the yarn back. Also clean all the remover off of your hands (you don’t want to catch fire!).
- Then, carefully, hold the bottle over a lit candle so that the yarn catches fire. (Safety gloves and glasses wouldn’t be remiss)
- Slowly turn the bottle so that the yarn burns evenly. Let it burn for a while.
- Right before it’s about to go out, dunk it into the ice water quickly and it should snap in half due to the sudden temperature change.
- This whole process might take a few attempts because the yarn really needs to heat up a lot. If you’re having a lot of trouble, make the water colder and maybe even re-ignite the yarn before it goes out to let it burn a bit longer.
- Sand the edges to make them less sharp and dangerous.
- Then, turn the top upside-down and put into the bottom basin. Get some string ( candle wick works well) and run it from the top basin, through the neck, and into the bottom basin. Get a bit of cloth with a hole to block the neck of the bottle so that the dirt doesn’t fall through and run the string through.
- Then just plant!
As you see above, sometimes it doesn’t work out perfectly. I’ve done it twice and once was perfect. The second time (seen above) it broke into 3 pieces instead of 2 (a bottom, a top, and a belt of glass where the yarn was). This made it so that the basin was too shallow for the neck of the bottle. However, if something like that happens, it’s not the end of the world! I just got some wine corks, cut slits in the bottoms using a razor, and made a lift for the top part of the bottle.
I also used liquid gold leaf (I bought it at a craft store for about $6) to paint the edges and make them look nice, but that’s optional.
Secondly, the self-watering part might not kick in right away. The plants’ roots need to settle well into the dirt before that, so just water a bit at first. After a bit, it will be settled enough and putting water in the bottom will allow the plants to soak water through the string when they need it.