How to Build With 2-Liter Bottles


Building with 2-liter bottles is a way to teach a lesson to schoolchildren about repurposing plastics. The Pacific gyre is a natural whirlpool in the ocean formed from tons of plastic bottles and the materials used to make bottles, along with plastic bags and other waste, according to The Smithsonian Institution. This garbage kills animals and fish and is primarily blown out to sea from land. Repurposing, recycling and reusing plastics reduces the waste in landfills and the sea. You can build a greenhouse with plastic bottles to serve the dual purpose of recycling bottles and providing a place to grow vegetables and flowers. Enlist help for cleaning and preparing the 1,500 bottles required for the project.

Things You'll Need

  • 2-liter bottles, 1,500
  • Scissors
  • 4-by-4-inch posts, 8-foot-long, four
  • Cement
  • Staples
  • Sand
  • Gravel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel
  • Measuring tape
  • 2-by-2-inch lumber
  • 2-inch screws
  • Drill with Phillips-head bit
  • Miter saw
  • Gardening canes, approximately 140
  • Construction stapler
  • 2 hinges
  • Hook-and-eye door latch
  • Remove the labels from the bottle by soaking them in soapy water. Cut off the bottle bottoms with the scissors.

  • Locate the four corners of your greenhouse. Dig a 2-foot deep, 8-inch-square hole with the shovel at each corner.

  • Mix concrete in a 1:2:3 ratio of cement, sand and gravel in a wheelbarrow. Add water until the mix is a thick paste.

  • Place the 8-foot-long 4-by-4-inch posts in the holes; brace them vertically with bricks. Pour the concrete in the hole on all four sides evenly. Repeat for all the posts.

  • Build the frame for the greenhouse with the 2-by-2-inch lumber. Miter-cut each end of the lumber to a 45-degree angle. Form a square by screwing four 2-by-2s together. Frame a doorway in one wall by adding a 2-by-2 upright in the center. Cut and screw together a frame for the door from the 2-by-2s. Make a frame for the flat roof.

  • Slide a 2-liter bottle on a garden cane. Continue sliding 2-liter bottles on the cane until it is completely covered. Reverse the bottom bottle and tuck the ends inside the next-to-last bottle. Repeat until you have enough bottle-covered canes to build all the walls, the door and the roof. Lay the bottle-covered canes next to each other on the wooden frames.

  • Staple the canes on the frame with fencing staples. Repeat for all four walls and the roof. Screw the wall and roof frames on the 4-by-4 posts. This step will require at least two people for each wall and possibly three people for the roof.

  • Screw the hinges on the door and hang the door on the greenhouse. Screw a 3-inch hook on the door 2 inches from the edge on the opposite side from the hinges. Slip the eye over the end of the hook and locate the position to screw in the eye on the frame.

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  • Photo Credit water bottle image by Radu Razvan from
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