Introduction: Berry Picker From Scrap

Picture of Berry Picker From Scrap

This Instructable was a totally spontaneous idea. There was no planning and no preparation behind it. It was made on the spot with hardly any material, just what we had around us. It turns out to be such an effective little device that I feel it's worse sharing the idea.

Last week-end, during a picnic with friends the kids spotted a blackberry bush and sure enough, as soon as they got our approval (we checked that it was really some blackberries!) they were all happy bunnies picking berries. Unfortunately, it’s late in the season so they were not the first one. People and birds had already picked the front rows, but there were a lot of big berries left in the middle, a bit out of reach and protected by the thorns. This is how the idea of making a berry picker can out. We took some empty bottles (ketchup, mineral water, etc) and fashioned some berry pickers. The end product is very effective and very compact. It’s now in my backpack for our next trip in the outdoor!

The idea was so simple that before posting this Instructable I searched to see if anybody had already done it. I found various designs but none as simple as this one. All the other designs require some special material (PCV pipe, heat gun, pliers, razor blades, etc) that you won’t necessarily find in your backpack when you are in the outdoor.

Step 1: Material

Picture of Material

For this Instructable all you need is a plastic bottle of some sort.

Tip 1: Choose preferably a bottle made of hard plastic like a ketchup bottle. It will give more strength to the picker. A bottle of mineral water will work as well but will be more fragile.

Tip 2: Choose a bottle with a large top so you can get the berries out by unscrewing the cap.

Tip 3: Choose a small bottle so it can get in and out of the bush easily.

You will need a small knife to carve the bottle. But I guess, if you are out in the outdoor you are most likely to have one.

Finally, you will need a strip of cord or string. Alternatively, some rubber bands or some duct tape to fix the berry picker to a wooden stick.

Note: Since this was a spontaneous idea, I didn’t think of taking some photos on the spot to show all the steps. So for the purpose of this Instructable, I rebuild entirely the berry picker using a similar bottle and did a proper set of photos. For the sake of clarity (and not making any preferential advertising) I also removed the label of the bottle.

Step 2: Building the Berry Picker

Picture of Building the Berry Picker

The concept is very simple. First, you need an opening in the bottle large enough to get a berry inside. Whether it’s a circle or a square it really doesn’t matter.

Then you need a small hook to help cut the berry of the branch. Think of a ‘W’ shape, like two small teeth. To illustrate that I draw some outlines on the bottle. Just cut the outline and you are done.

The plastic is surprisingly sharp so you don't need a fancy shape to cut the berry.

Step 3: Assemble the Berry Picker

Picture of Assemble the Berry Picker

Now all you need to do is to attach firmly the bottle to a stick. Just make sure it won’t slide of the stick when you pull, as it can get caught on some branches or some thorns.

Step 4: The End Product in Action

Picture of The End Product in Action

Your berry picker is ready. Now the next step is to find an instructable on blackberry pie!


Logan302 (author)2016-04-28

Very neat and effective. Thanks for sharing.

Curt1972 (author)2014-12-29

Just build one of these today and had my children picking oranges from a tree. Simple and fun for everyone! :)

BenCC (author)2014-12-22

I just made one from your design but I made just 1 single V in the front. Love the idea thanks for sharing and can't wait to try it!

eranox (author)2014-12-12

What a great idea! There are some blackberry bushes on the shore of the lake where I kayak. I'm going to build one of these and lash it to my paddle so I can snack without having to go ashore first!

JM1999 (author)2014-10-11

Is that a Victorinox handyman?

I really like the use of not much to get dessert!

YPF (author)JM19992014-10-11

No it's the Victorinox Explorer. It's a little bit smaller and fit better in my trousers pocket. I also didn't need the pliers as I already have a small leatherman. See the difference below:

JM1999 (author)YPF2014-10-11

Leatherman definitely did a better job on the pliers didn't they!?

I own a handyman and my brothers, sisters and dad all have leathermans, I think in total we have like 9 different types of leatherman!

YPF (author)JM19992014-10-12

Both brands are excelent and have their strong and weak point function of the use someone wants to make of it. Overall there is so much choice it's hard to resist not getting another one!

JM1999 (author)YPF2014-10-12

Yes, I personally prefer the leatherman for only two reasons:

Stronger pliers and one-handed opening knife, they are the only two things the swiss army lack IMO.

collimoo (author)2014-10-12

Ingenious - will try it next year when we harvest those hard to reach sloe berries temptingly out of reach, high up in a thorny tree behind a barricade of brambles :-)

ivver (author)2014-09-28

So genius :D love it! :D

YPF (author)ivver2014-09-30

Thank you for you nice comment! I'm happy that you like it. If you find a way to improve it, just post your version here like others have done.

ivver (author)YPF2014-09-30

You inspired me for rosehip picker, you can do very expensive oil from rosehip, one liter cost about $200, google it and I bet you'll find it interesting :)

YPF (author)ivver2014-10-11

You will need a strong plastic for that because as far as I remember rosehip are tough to pick. They don't come as easily as blackberries!

Thanks anyway for the tip on rosehip oil. I didn't know about it but found some interesting videos in Youtube.

RichM1 (author)2014-10-09

This is awesome!! The best berries are always the ones you can't reach for fear of becoming an extra in Snow White!

jemurray976 (author)2014-09-23

Mind blown! Freaking genius! As a kid growing up I followed the berry seasons and had my secret patches I would harvest. If I had one of these I would have been berry king of the neighborhood!

jemurray976 (author)jemurray9762014-09-23

.... Your Highness!

UncleEd (author)jemurray9762014-09-24

I was thinking of sainthood, myself.

YPF (author)UncleEd2014-09-30

So much for just a plastic bottle, I'm really appreciative!

My assistant as well!

YPF (author)jemurray9762014-09-24

Thanks for your nice comment. It's never too late to go back berry picking, but now you might find lots of people walking by with a plastic bottle cut up!

1994bm (author)2014-09-27

In my childhood we used to pick mangoes from trees of quite a height... around 15-20 feet atleast. We had poles with really sharp edges with a cloth bag underneath the blade. We first wrapped the mango in the bag and the blade then start the cutting action(like a saw) and the mango would ultimately fall in the bag. Although kudos to you for thinking of making this while on a trip from common trip materials !!!

YPF (author)1994bm2014-09-30

That's exactly what somebody describes in an instructable on fruit picker. Just run a search in this site and you'll see it. It's as you describe it. For a berry it's a lot easier so no need for a heavy duty tool. Although our basic idea worked well it's very nice to see comments below with some suggestions on how to improve it. Exactly what I like in this site!

omikeo (author)2014-09-25

YPF (author)omikeo2014-09-26

Thanks for taking the time to reply. It's a great idea. If now I replace the wooden stick by a PVC pipe a plug it strait into the picker as suggested by m3harri below, berries will drop strait into your bucket.

omikeo (author)YPF2014-09-26

yes there it is v 2.0 simply ! well done

jcushard (author)2014-09-25

Well a little late in the season, and I'm not sure I wouldn't miss raking my hands to the bone on thorns, but it is simple and does the job, one can ask no more of a tool. Well Done Sir, oh cute assistant have a few of them about

YPF (author)jcushard2014-09-26


m3harri (author)2014-09-24

Maybe you could improve productivity by using a +Berry Diameter pipe instead of a stick. Thread through the neck and have the berries run out the end into a bucket or bag

YPF (author)m3harri2014-09-26

Good idea. I will definitely try it.

The_Little_Doc (author)m3harri2014-09-25

I do have to say, that is a good idea! My friends and I have blackberries and black raspberries and can never get to the good ones. I'll consider that idea!


omikeo (author)2014-09-23

nice thanks, i made a berry bucket with an old milk jug and some wire to clip to your belt(or old underwear elastic for a shoulder strap) but we picked by hand

YPF (author)omikeo2014-09-24

This would be an interesting instructable. Have you made one? If so, you should post the link here.

omikeo (author)YPF2014-09-25

posted above, now for ver 2.0 we need to combine them

vladivastok (author)2014-09-24


YPF (author)vladivastok2014-09-24

Thank you it's very kind of you.

saperlipo (author)2014-09-24


A simple and effective idea.

YPF (author)saperlipo2014-09-24


naomiandtom (author)2014-09-24

I've been needing to figure out a way to get to the figs at the top of my fig tree. Maybe this is just the ticket, in a slightly larger model. Very cool idea!

Kudos to the cleverness of the berry picker and the berry picker's berry picker.

Scaling it up to reach figs made me wonder though. Since figs are a sturdier and, more to the point, heavier fruit, if you use a large-enough-in-diameter piece of tubing, you could attach a sack at the bottom end and just have the figs slide on down inside the tube. That way it won't get as unwieldy as maneuvering the weight on the end of a long lever. I have seen something like this, perhaps here, I just can't remember.

Suzanne in Orting, WA (First to go in the coming lahar)

YPF (author)Suzanne in Orting2014-09-24

Thanks for your comment. You are right, there are several design on this site but they are in the category fruit picker not berry picker. If you adjust the search you see them. As you describe, they have much longer reach and bigger catching capacity.

I did one last year that might work for figs.

YPF (author)naomiandtom2014-09-24

Thanks. I think on my model the plastic is strong and sharp enough to cut a fig, but the bottle is a bit small. Do a search for 'fruit picker' in instructable and you will find different concepts. Some have a net or a basket to catch the fruit.

jkimball (author)2014-09-23

I bet if you used a plastic bottle with more of a "cone" shape to it (like a soda bottle), it would be easier to guide it to where you want it to go.

YPF (author)jkimball2014-09-24

You are absolutely right. I didn't have a soda bottle so I used a ketchup bottle. The size might be misleading on he photos but It's actually a mini bottle so it's even smaller than a soda bottle. The other reason why I like it is because the cap is very wide so you can get the berries out easily.

jkimball (author)YPF2014-09-24

Ah, I assumed that you just dumped them out of the cut hole you made.
Do you think it would work better with a wider hole, or a smaller one?

YPF (author)jkimball2014-09-24

Only time will tell. The berry season is almost over here so we didn't much change to test different models. We'll be ready for next season and I'll update this instructable with new tips.

denewf (author)2014-09-24

The number and size of berry/fruit thorns appear to be in direct proportion to how tasty they are. Many thanks for a very effective, simple and super low cost solution.

YPF (author)denewf2014-09-24

Thank you for your nice comment. Much appreciated!

szymon58 (author)2014-09-24

wow its awesome instructable.

YPF (author)szymon582014-09-24

Thank you for your nice comment!

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