Introduction: Glass Jar Greenhouse

Picture of Glass Jar Greenhouse

1. Build a wooden frame - I used 10x10cm fence posts.

2. Collect a lot of glass jars - I asked my office canteen to save their empty jars for me.

3. Stack the jars with the open end inwards inside the wooden frame.

4. Fill the gaps between the jars with moss - depending on where you live you may want to spray the moss with water.

5. (optional) I tiled the floor with the lids from my jars.

6. (optional) big jars make great seedling starters (mini greenhouses)

7. (optional) collect rain water in a jar and siphon it into plants. (see photo)

8. Roof - I am still looking for a really good solution, first i just had a sheet of plastic stapled on. My second attempt was with some termo plastic sheeting - this looks better than tarpaulin and it insulates better but not easy to find as a recyclable material... I think perhaps a "green roof" (grass/living roof) would be optimal. then perhaps use some jars or bottles as skylights... but I dont have a good solution for actually building such a construction (yet)

Step 1: 1. the Wooden Frame

Picture of 1. the Wooden Frame

I used 10cm x 10cm "fence" posts ... which worked out quite nicely with the average height of my glass jars.

My greenhouse is "free standing" but I guess it would be best to have some sort of foundation if building on grass - the final structure is quite heavy.

It is important not to make the spaces between the posts - too large, stacking the glasses can be tricky - and if they are high up can be dangerous.

Step 2: 2. Glasses

Picture of 2. Glasses

My greenhouse is roughly 2M square - and when its finished will probably have used about 1000 jam jars. (and i have only filled 3 out of 4 walls). I asked all my neighbours and colleagues to bring me their jars. The canteen at work was also great for getting over sized jars - the big jars can have multiple uses.

Step 3: Rain Collection

Picture of Rain Collection

I 3D printed this adapter to collect rain water. The files are available from thingiverse.

I am working on an updated system ... coming soon !

Step 4: Floor Tiles

Picture of Floor Tiles

I mixed some fine gravel and a bag of cement (no water) - I spread the mixture on the floor about 1cm deep.

I then pressed in the lids, trying not to think about the order and colours. (I like the random look)

After a few days the gravel/cement mixture had absorbed moisture from the air and had set.

tip - I was amazed at how many lids were required to tile the floor. You might want to make sure you have enough lids before you start setting them in cement.

Step 5: One Year Later

Picture of One Year Later

I made some wooden gutters (2 planks glued together),.


parisusa (author)2016-03-11

Art + Gardening. Love it

dklafe (author)parisusa2016-07-02

:) thanks

tinettecooper (author)2016-05-02

Wax or paraffin to hold the bottles tight. But I guess heat would be an issue.

Mirime (author)2015-07-13

This is a great idea! It reminds me of the cordwood building popular in parts of the US. If I can suggest for the roof, use the plastic signs politicians use for their campaigns. Just shingle them on and voila a cheep and nice roof. My father saw one farmer that used them to roof his chicken barns with them, he would go the losing candidates and get the signs for free. However I have one concern about the heat retention of the walls. With the gaps between the jars filled in with just moss how warm would it stay in the winter?

Olmez47 (author)2015-07-12

Great job, absolutely love it

Tarun Upadhyaya (author)2015-07-04

Amazing!!! Congrats on making to finals :)

dklafe (author)Tarun Upadhyaya2015-07-07

Thank you.
Which finals ? :) I am new here and have not fully understood exactly what I have enrolled in.

Lars Felding

Tarun Upadhyaya (author)dklafe2015-07-07

For being a finalist in the Reuse Contest. Usually you get notified via email if you are a finalist in a contest but lately those notifications are not coming often.

Ronyon (author)2015-06-30

I love what you did here.

I would like to try it myself , maybe utilizing this:

Mindmapper1 (author)2015-06-19

This is so cool! Great idea.

dklafe (author)Mindmapper12015-06-19

:) thanks

amber.w.wendy (author)2015-06-16

For the roof, I've seen recycled cans converted into shingles. It isn't as fun as a green roof, but it also is not as heavy.

dklafe (author)amber.w.wendy2015-06-18

I think this is a good idea :) I had the same idea :)

do you remember where you saw it ?

The problem is that here is Denmark we return our drinks bottles and tin cans and get money back - used cans have a financial value ! a while back I started picking up cans which had been flattened by traffic on the roads (the barcodes are usually unreadable and thus they loose their monetary value)

I have been planning a "tin-can-test-roof" over my hammock - but collecting hundreds perhaps a thousand squashed cans will take me forever ! and getting friends and family to pick up dirty cans off the street is not feasible for me - so for now it remains as a good idea. I would however like to see a finished roof !

Blaise_Gauba (author)2015-06-07

Pretty cool project. But I would be concerned about the metal lids eventually rusting through and becoming sharp and therefore a hazard to people's and pet's feet. Maybe pour a layer of 60 minute epoxy resin over the entire floor to seal it which will protect it from the elements and protect feet at the same time. Still...I really like you green house. Very cool.

lynmiller (author)2015-06-07

That's beautiful!

KickAss2k1 (author)2015-06-07

Just an idea, but what if the jars were left filled with water and capped? Would that act like an insulator - keeping temps from dropping too low at night, and cooler during the day - much more of a consistent temp inside? Anyone tried it?

breumer (author)2015-06-07

cool idea but I would have made it with plastic bottles

123hiwire (author)2015-06-07

The walls are ok but using the metal caps for the floor may not be a good idea. These metal caps will rust and becomes dangerous with potential to get tetanus when barefooted. This is especially so when they are on the floor and gets wet easily.

csprinkle (author)2015-06-06

Here in Mazatlan, Mexico, there are people who have built homes out of plastic soda bottles and cement...really cool

Questor (author)2015-06-04

How about bubble wrap for roofing???

Vyger (author)Questor2015-06-05

The UV light would eat up bubble wrap and make it crumble.

dklafe (author)Questor2015-06-05

I tried that :) but it blew away in the first storm ! The plastic is too thin - in another construction it might work... If you happen to find lots of bubble wrap.

ashleyjlong (author)2015-06-05

Great project. I'd like to build a mini wall of jars as a place to start seedlings.

spark master (author)2015-06-04

Nice job! In an old "Mother Earth News", (magazine), there were people building structures out of many things we toss out. If you put a proper footing you could use cement/mortar to make the walls very permanent. Your glass bottles would be awesome in a wall. People did domes from Stack Wood, (woodpile sized pieces), into domes and walls. A whole building was made with cement and as the blocks cans/bottles/tires were used (if I remember right). It was an adobe like house in the American west, very cool looking. Both structures were stucco finished and the exteriors I believe, were sealed for water.

using a footing and cement would also make it less likely to eventually fall over, crushing any who might be inside.

bravo, bellissimo

BlackSheep1 (author)spark master2015-06-04

@ spark master: you're thinking of Earthships. There are several in the Taos, New Mexico area.

spark master (author)BlackSheep12015-06-05

yep, here is one article

here is an article on geo/stackwood dome:


But I was thinking of a light wall for this. To make a light wall you use bottles as bricks/logs, this has been done probably for a very long time, but it became reinvented back in 1979. If I can find the originating article I will post the url. The gent built a rotating swinging armature (same as you would use (kinda) when building a pizza oven. Stack walls are less demanding, and worthy of a look-see. Give it a whirl do repost if you find other cool stuff of my youth.

I may even resubscribe to it after reading these articles!

plantprof (author)2015-06-05

Clever! Nicely done! How much of an outside/inside temperature difference is there in full sun and on a cold night? How fast does the temperature drop at night and how long does it take to warm back up in the daytime?

piratecupcake (author)2015-06-05

This sounds cool! I've been wanting to do a greenhouse in the space between the side of my house and the fence, this would be perfect! Thank you for this tutorial.

lounzer (author)2015-06-05

Roof suggestion below:

lounzer (author)2015-06-05

gospelsinter97 (author)2015-06-05

This is a wonderful way to re-cycle glass jars! Let me know when you update your plans. Thanks. /s/ gospelsinger97

wquoyle (author)2015-06-05

Very nice work.

I like your sketches in the first step too, really cool style you have there.

daddio-1 (author)2015-06-04

Wouldn't you think that keeping the lids on the jars would make for better insulation? The dead air in the jar would make a layer between the outdoor and indoor temperatures. I do like your ideas for using the bigger jars as starters for seedlings, collectors for rain water, etc, but I really think the jars with the lids would help considerably with insulation.

dklafe (author)daddio-12015-06-05

I did consider that but the lids block the light. And stacking them vertically meant sorting the jars in sizes ... Not an option for me. Filling with water as a heat sink was also considered but freezing winters crack the glass. :)

Hannahhoo (author)2015-06-05

This is a neat idea! Looks great and seems to work as a greenhouse! I'll be sure to mention it to a few friends so we can try this out. :D

knutknackebröd (author)2015-06-05

awesome idea! you could also plant light hungry plants in the bottom row of each section to create a "wall" of plants, and plant more shade loving plants in the center.

richard westerfield (author)2015-06-04

could you have not sealed the gaps with form sealer bet that would be better.?

thank you

Richard Westerfield

I tried that, using silicon sealer...but its not a very nice material to work with... But good for the higher jars so they are safe

how about expanding form that might work i am talking about installation form ?

thank you

Richard Westerfield

Are you actually meaning Foam spray in insulation?

drewgrey (author)2015-06-04

This is great. I've thought of doing this for a window but a hole greenhouse!Nice..There is a old wall in England made of bottles and that seems fun too. Sliding glass doors are frequently surplus and the glass is tempered. That's what I used

rocketsurgery (author)2015-06-04

Groovy - voted :)

Lindseyval (author)2015-06-04


Lost Moai (author)2015-06-04 Excellent repurposing of the lids while keeping with the theme. For your roof - have you heard of bottle lights? It's a sunlight/light bulb made from a bottle. Here's a story via NPR:

jig10 (author)2015-06-04

You could build an edged, lattice-style roof frame from wood, pent or apex,to hold upturned jars in place, or cut the bottoms off jars or bottles. Clear tarp or some such membrane for between the roof frame and jars, to prevent leakage into the greenhouse. Rainwater could be collected in guttering made from plastic bottles cut in half length-ways, with a pipe (made from plastic bottles) leading to a water butt.

Your design is brilliant, well done, you!

DIY KING 00 (author)2015-06-04

It gives a good amount of space in the walls to store different parts,like most of the time you need in a working place.

I8mAll (author)2015-06-04

That greenhouse makes me smile. It's elegant in a lot of ways. If you fill upright jars with water and cap them, they could act as heat reservoirs reducing peaks and troughs of temperature during the day. The metal tops as a floor is very clever. Well done old chap.

I was thinking a little earth could be compacted between the jars during construction. Oh and finally have you any ideas for a roof?

jcommisso (author)2015-06-03

Good job! It must look good with lights inside!

dklafe (author)jcommisso2015-06-04

Small candles in the jars look great

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