Instructables
Picture of HomeMade Modern DIY Herb Garden

 
Our DIY hanging herb garden can be constructed for less than $30 in a single afternoon. It would work equally well both inside and outside and can be implemented at a variety of different scales.
 
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Step 1: Supplies + Tools

Picture of Supplies + Tools
Copper Tubing
Purchase at Home Depot
¼” copper tubing is available at Home Depot in a several different lengths. 20 foot long coil is more than enough and can usually be purchased for less than $25. This tubing is soft, flexible, and can be cut with wire cutters or a small pipe cutter. Aluminum tubing is also an option that is silver in appearance. Aluminum tubing can be a little harder to find at your local home improvement retailer but is always available at mcmaster.com.

Glass Cutter
Purchase at Home Depot or Online
A simple $4 glass cutter from Home Depot will do the trick if you construct a simple guide to make sure that the score line around the bottle is straight. A few scraps of wood and a couple of screws will do the trick. A quick Google-ing of 'bottle cutter' will reveal a variety of devices that make this task a little easier. The Generation Green (g2) Bottle Cutter worked really well for me and only cost about $20.

Glass Bottle
Recycle
Not all glass bottles are created equally. Different shapes and types of glass all behave differently. In general I had the best success with wine and liquor bottles. Make sure you have extra bottles since many will break when you try to cut them. At first I broke about 50% of the bottles that I tried to cut. After I while I was able to improve to about a 70% success rate.

Goo Gone
Purchase at Home Depot
Goo Gone will help remove the adhesive used on the labels.

Wire Cutters or Pliers
Can be used to cut and bend the copper tubing. A small pipe cutter will also do the trick.

RYOBI Cordless Drill with a ¼” Diameter Bit
For drilling drainage holes in the corks.

Sandpaper
To smooth out the edges of the cut glass.

Safety Glasses + Gloves
Should be worn at all times.

Step 2: Clean the bottles

Picture of Clean the bottles
You will need extra bottles since many will break along the way. Just scrape off the majority of the labels with a knife and then generously apply Goo Gone to the fragments of glue and paper that are left. Let it soak for about 5 minutes and then scrub off the rest of the label with a rag.

Step 3: Score the glass

Picture of Score the glass
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A glass cutter is designed to make a score (scratch) mark on glass. We want to make a nice even score line all the way around the bottle. Don’t push too hard and try not to cut the bottle; we just need a consistent scratch.

The Cheap Way:
A $4 glass cutter will work fine if you construct a jig to hold the cutter still with 1 hand while you use the other hand to rotate the bottle. I made a jig by screwing a few pieces of pine to a scrap piece of plywood.

The Easy Way:
For about $20 you can buy a bottle cutter online. This tool serves as a guide that makes it easy to create an even line all the way around the bottle.

Step 4: Separate the bottle

Picture of Separate the bottle
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All you are trying to do with this step is heat and cool the bottle rapidly to cause the glass to expand and contract thus fracturing neatly and cleanly along the scratch mark. I tried a bunch of different ways:

Method 1: Candle and bucket
This was the slowest and least effective method I tried. Constantly rotating the bottle over the candle was tedious. A dunk method in the cool water should be done vertically so as not to put gravity on the end that is going to break off.

Method 2: Tea kettle and cold tap water
Pour hot water along the score line to heat the bottle. This method works quite well especially if you let the bottles rest on the bottom of the sink. Make sure to rotate the bottles to evenly heat all the way around the bottle.

Pro Tip:
Let the bottle rest flat on its side when heating and cooling it in the sink. Holding it by the neck puts stress in the bottle which can cause un even splitting.

Step 5: Sand the edges

Picture of Sand the edges
The freshly cut edges can be a bit sharp. Use 80, 100, or 120 grit sandpaper to sand down the edges.

Step 6: Drill holes in the corks

Picture of Drill holes in the corks
Use vice lock pliers or a clamp to hold the corks while drilling the drainage holes. You may need to whittle down the corks a bit to make them fit back into the bottles. A pocket knife or box cutter will work just fine.

Step 7: Test the assembly

Picture of Test the assembly
Make sure you have a nice water-tight fit before you put the glass bottles in place.

Step 8: Attach the planter

Picture of Attach the planter
You can bend the copper into a variety of different shapes. I plan on hanging this garden so I made a simple loop.

Step 9: Bend the copper around the glass planters

Picture of Bend the copper around the glass planters
The cut glass planters are somewhat fragile so I recommend using an uncut bottle to bend the copper. Wrap the copper around bottle to make a spiral basket to support the glass planter.

Step 10: Insert and adjust the glass planters

Picture of Insert and adjust the glass planters
Once you have put the glass planters in place you probably need to make some minor adjustments to make them level.

Step 11: Insert corks and drainage tubes

Cut and bend the drainage tubes so that each planter drains into the next. I use an empty bottle at the bottom to catch the leftover water from the lowest planter.

Step 12: Finished!

Picture of Finished!
Good luck making your own hanging garden, and please email or tweet photos to @benuyeda or ben@homemade-modern.com. For more detailed instructions, dimensioned drawings and different variations of the project, check out our soon-to-be-released book.
djohan-15 months ago

I want to make this into a hydroponics system.

stunami made it!6 months ago

I did a little tighter wrap, with a skinnier bottle. I have a larger bottle I cut successfully that I am going to make and gift to someone.

Something I learned though is that I did some pretty deep scoring with the glass cutter in my jig, and did a couple tries dunking after heating, but it didn't separate. It did separate though after a couple thermal cycles and just dropped.

Vase 1.jpg
i wonder if the same copper tubing could be used with wine bottles to make tiki torches?
Probably not sturdy enough to use the copper tubing as a rod for the tiki torch. If you note the copper tubing hangs. It's too weak and malleable to stand up straight. It would bend, in other words. You could try putting a rod inside the tubing, but that might prove difficult.
tacamaral1 year ago
Great instructable!
I'm making another one on a "machine" I built to cut bottles - I've cut lots and lots of bottles, with more than 90% success rate. : )
Anyway, I'd just like to add a tip - if you soak the bottle in a water bucket, most labels will come right off. Those that don't (that is, those that use a different kind of glue), will have to be scraped - but common vinegar usually removes the glue very well.
Very nice !!…
Obviously copper is still cheap in United States…

Thanks for posting !…
Very nicely done! The one thing I do know from doing stained glass work is that you should never score over another score mark, so stop when you go all of the way around and meet the starting score. Also dipping your cutter in oil will help keep the cutter working longer. Wipe the cutter with a paper towel to clean off the oil and shards of glass.
The video was very well done!
You can also spray the copper with Miracle Gro plant food. That will discolor the copper, and instantly age it.

Learned that from Trucks! on SpikeTV.
Zclip1 year ago
Not only does this rock, but you can certainly use the other end of the bottles for drink tumblers!! I would suggest also getting some T couplings and re-routing the last drain into your holding tube, more of an aesthetic than to really save on the copper.
ma3str01 year ago
This is awesome and genius. I'll try this next weekend!
philclowes1 year ago
another addition you might like to think about is to provide a return route from the bottom bottle to the top. either another copper tube or somehow mix in a plastic one, plus a cheap aquarium airpump and the system can cycle constantly
rageflower1 year ago
Gorgeous, fun, and certainly easy to find the materials around this house (huzzah for wine bottles!). You may have solved my "living in an apartment without windowsills, how will I have fresh herbs NOW?" dilemma!
Not only is this a cool DYI, it's also very well presented. 5 stars for the video!
Great project, love your tips, you made me want to do this !
A tip for removing sticky goo from bottles all kinds of things, lighter fluid also works great.
Najwahamid1 year ago
My son Bahaeldeen likes this very much ..! So I liked it too..!!!
onrust1 year ago
Very cool. May I suggest using used copper for a rustic look. A scrap yard will sell back recycled copper.
spylock1 year ago
I like it,and I now have plants coming out good from seed,well the lavender aint doing so hot. I was gonna have my herb garden totally outside,I cant do that now,your herb chain will look too good in the kitchen of my old shack.By the way,Pam cooking spray is bitchin at removing hard to get off label left overs,anywho,good job dude,or dudette.
It's beautiful and unique!