Plastic Bottle Trellis

Everyone has them -- empty water and soda bottles they don't know what to do with. Well, DIY knows.
monofilament used to tie strands over ladder

monofilament used to tie strands over ladder

Figure E

Instead of stuffing them in the recycling bin, recycle those plastic empties by making a funky outdoor trellis with an old ladder. Once you get the technique down, you'll find lots of ways to use bottles.

Materials and Tools:

empty plastic soda, water, or juice bottles
old ladder
heat gun
heavy gloves
large pair of pliers
acrylic or plastic paints
drill with 1/8" bit
safety glasses

1. Remove any labels from the bottles. Make sure they're rinsed out and dry before starting the project.

2. Secure the neck of a bottle in a vise and use a heat gun to soften the plastic.

3. Wearing leather gloves, grasp the bottle, twisting and scrunching it into the desired shape. Safety Alert: Wear leather gloves when handling the hot bottle to prevent burns.

4. Remove the bottle from the vise and let it cool. Repeat the heating and shaping process on the other bottles.

5. Dilute some acrylic or plastic paints slightly with water. Also add a little water to the bottle. For clear bottles, pour multiple colors of paint into the bottle, replace the cap and shake the bottle to swirl the paint. For colored bottles, apply plastic paint to the outside of the bottle so it won't be hidden by the bottle color.

6. If using the bottle caps in the piece, paint them as well.

7. Let the paint dry.

8. Wearing safety glasses, use a drill with a 1/8" bit to create a hole in the bottom of each bottle. If using caps on the bottles, drill a hole in each cap as well.

9. Use monofilament or fishing line to string the bottles together: Tie the end of the monofilament to a piece of wire about 8" long. Use this wire as a needle to pull the monofilament in through the bottom hole and out through the top hole of each bottle. Inserting the monofilament in the bottom of the bottle is much easier than trying to hit the hole when inserting from the top of the bottle.

10. At the bottom of the strand of bottles, attach a bead and tie it off with a knot.

11. Use the excess monofilament to tie the strands to the top and bottom rungs of the ladder. Create multiple strands to cover the ladder.

12. Place the new trellis in the garden with climbing vines and plants around the base. You also can hang these colorful bottles individually throughout the garden.

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