Instructables

How to make a Bottle Building

FeaturedContest Winner
Picture of How to make a Bottle Building
bottle build3.jpg
bottle build 1.jpg
interior4.jpg
interior3.jpg
interior2.jpg

Hi Everyone this is my first instructable. Please be gentle.

I f you like it, please vote for me. Thanks.

 

 

 

 

We have built two bottle buildings.

 

 

One is a small storage building made with a variety of different bottles. The other is a larger building made primarily of wine bottles, with design accents made of old ashtrays, glass floats, candy dishes, glass blocks and Japanese floats, this building was originally built as a small concert space that will seat 50 people plus a small stage. We have also hosted art shows in the space.

This instructable will focus on the building of the walls of bottles. You will be able to incorporate bottles into your own structures or make garden walls with bottles. I will post other instructables that will take you through the building process from start to finish.

 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
Type_S_Mortar.jpg
masons hand tool set.jpg

 

 

 

Materials needed:

 

Bottles, lots of bottles, in assorted shapes and colors if you would like.

 

Optional: Heavy weight glass candy dishes and ashtrays, glass block, Japanese floats and other interesting found glass objects.

 

Type S mortar mix.

 

Ivory dish detergent

 

Wood posts, sizes vary depending on your project I used 6X 8 treated posts.

 

Roofing felt.

 

Bolts to connect the treated post size depends on the size of your posts.

 

Staples.

 

Rubber gloves

Lots of sponges

 

 

Tools needed:

 

A mixing bucket or wheelbarrow to mix mortar.

 

A hoe or shovel for mixing mortar

 

Medium sized trowels (one for each person laying bottles)

 

Staple gun.

 

A level (standard or a string level)

 

String

 

 

 

 

1-40 of 52Next »
Artifactor1 month ago

This is very inspiring!! I have also been looking at Earthship houses. I'm interested in creating an interior bottle wall between a small sunny room and a hallway that gets no natural light in an existing building. Wondering how to go about it, how to find out what's inside the wall, like wiring, etc. Also, if I cut the bottles in half and join 2 halves together with silicone and maybe some type of impermeable tape, will the seams be strong enough to support the wall? Any suggestions? Thanks for posting these instructions!!

rgwarren2 months ago

Hi! I'm trying to generate a wall section and create a presentation on glass bottle construction for my Architectural Detailing course. I was wondering what size posts you used in your framing and what the R-value of your walls happened to be. This is an amazing application of recyclable materials and I am excited to share this with the rest of my class!

kbearvulcan3 months ago

Artlife I have some other building questions can you email me at kbearkreation@gmail.com

kbearvulcan3 months ago

What would be a good way to make a wall that I can hang things up with on a bottle wall?

artlife (author)  kbearvulcan3 months ago
Another option would be to make a grid or some other design within your basic frame before laying the bottles. This gives you more wood to hang things on and it may also give you more interesting design opportunities.
artlife (author)  kbearvulcan3 months ago
What do you want to hang on the wall?

I typically hang items from the beam at the top of the wall or on the posts.

It is easy to use a concrete bit and insert a plastic anchor or check out this page for some other options.
http://www.familyhandyman.com/masonry/pouring-concrete/how-to-choose-and-use-concrete-fasteners/view-all

If you are simply looking for a way to hang your coat, you can make a permanent coat hook by turning a bottle with the neck in. That is best done with stronger bottles like wine bottles or soda bottles, liquor bottles may be too susceptible to accidental damage.
artlife (author) 3 months ago

This type of building would definitely stand up to the cold weather. I know of at least two in Canada, one in upstate New York, and one in Norway that have worked out just fine.

I can not find my other photos of the build, but, I am going to visit a friend that had copies of all the photos, so hopefully I will be able to post more info on the finer details and the slab.

The first step for you is to check your local building codes. If you are making a small storage building a slab may not be required. We got the state and local building codes and then exceeded them.

As far as power to the building was concerned. We had some issues because the previous owner of the property built a two story shop/garage from scrap and did not get it approved. The power had to come off the box in that building but because of local rules that beautiful 50+ year old building would have to be pulled down to approve a permanent power system in the bottle building. So we had to resort to a "temporary power system".

kbearvulcan3 months ago

I would like to know how well this would hold up to cold weather. I live in Montana and would like to build one of these as an art room/craft shed. I am not sure how to make the foundation. I also wanted to make one for a storage building for my gardening equipment. In the bigger building did you put in power if so how? I have all kinds of questions but right now these are my main ones so that I could try to get started. I would really appreciate any feed back you could give me. kbearkreation@mail.com

vsharp13 months ago
awesome.
agabbur5 months ago

How it will provide strength??

How it will protect from natural calamities like earthquake,floods and other things??

artlife (author)  agabbur5 months ago
This building has been up over ten years and it has been exposed to many small earth quakes along with some flooding,snow wind and ice.

The only problem encountered was when the large mulberry tree that is right next to the building was hit by lightning and a large branch came crashing down on the building. I expected a lot of damage to bottles as well as the supports. It didn't happen. The roof caved in on one of the pie pieces. It was an easy fix, other than lifting the heavy wood of the building. Surprisingly, not one bottle broke.

I have seen bottle buildings that have been standing for over a century. These things are not as delicate as they look. That is not to say that they are all sturdy, it depends on how they were built. The methods I used, came about by examining problems in older structures.
VirginiaLEE8 months ago
Thanks for the great post! This answered my questions! Now to convince the husband that we should build one!
VirginiaLEE8 months ago
I am curious about the roof! Are those old CDs and Christmas lights? Pretty neat looking. :)
JustNate111 months ago
Thanks so much for sharing this! Just wanted to double check - what's the ratio of mortar mix to that 1/4 cup of Ivory and 1 cup of lime? Or do you just mix up some mortar per the package instructions and add enough to the 1/4 c Ivory and 1 cup lime to get the peanut butter consistency? Thanks again!
artlife (author)  JustNate111 months ago
You mix an 80 pound sack of mortar according to package directions and throw in the 1/4 cup of ivory soap and the cup of lime and mix it in completely, then you are good to go.
Good luck and I would love to see photos.
JJ43761 year ago
You have that many bottles?
artlife (author)  JJ43761 year ago
No, we don't drink we got the bottles from wineries after they had open houses. Also, after we started building we received lots of gifts of wine. Including many left in the middle of the night by unknown givers.
artlife (author) 1 year ago
We don't get many hard freezes in this area. But we do have some. I have seen a couple of bottle buildings in British Columbia, one north of Spokane where they have lot's of snow and cold. In fact the road to the bottle building is closed in the winter. Brrrrrr. I would recommend wine bottles or at the minimum soda or beer bottles that are thicker than typical liquor bottles. I wouldn't use formaldehyde bottles : see here, http://www.michaelkluckner.com/bciw4glasshouse.html You may want to use the glass beads seen below , depending on your weather. Good luck. Please feel free to ask for advice anytime.
I love your building!! I have planning to build one in my yard as a pool bar. We live in Southern Ontario and I am worried how well it will hold up in our cold winters. Do you have any advice on this?
Thanks again for sharing your instructions.
Fabulous
sunshiine1 year ago
The Pacific Northwest is an awesome place! this is truly a great idea! I am sure it will be a winner! Thanks for sharing and do have a summer!
sunshiine
artlife (author)  sunshiine1 year ago
I am currently visiting Mexico. I am definitely having a summer!
Thanks,
Artlife
Awesome! This would be a great project in Mexico!
Alex881 year ago
This is an awesome idea! I just have one question, do the bottles on the wall tend to hold water? We have a mosquito problem where I live and I would hate to give those little blood suckers another place to breed.
artlife (author)  Alex881 year ago
Glass drops can be added to the bottles to keep stuff out. Just dip a bead in silicone and place it on the bottle opening. I would leave a tiny gap to allow for expansion/contraction. It would be easiest to apply the glass bead before the wall is built. the gap should face down when it is placed in the wall. This will also improve the insulation factor of the bottles.
bottle top4.jpgbottle top5.jpgbottle top1.jpg
artlife (author)  Alex881 year ago
These are in the pacific Northwest and despite all of our rain the bottles are dry inside. I think it is mainly because of the overhang. I am currently scouting a location for several bottle buildings in Mexico. Here It is very dry, but Dengue fever is rampant and we can not have mosquito condos. Also, the bottles also seem like a perfect place for scorpions to hide.

My plan for this climate is to glue glass pieces to the bottles. We were considering it on these buildings to increase the insulation factor of the bottles.

I will post a photo of the glass on the bottles later this weekend.
What part of the Pacific Northwest is it in?
artlife (author)  foobear1 year ago
Midway between Portland and Olympia.
That looks really hard to make.....WOW nice job though
artlife (author)  natalia lamp1 year ago
Thanks. It looks hard, but it is truly super easy to build, it is not heavy labor and it can be worked on in short easy time blocks, even as little as thirty minutes at a time.
Drakekay1 year ago
Oh wow, Would love to see an Impact video where a wall of this is struck with various objects. Slow motion captures would be awesome!!!
artlife (author)  Drakekay1 year ago
That sounds great! I think you should do it. Just build at least one wall for your video. ;-))


I am way too emotionally attached to these particular buildings to throw anything at them.
Badetise1 year ago
huh. interesting.. * casually adds to bucket list*
artlife (author)  Badetise1 year ago
GREAT! I think of a bucket list as a do it today list, there are no guarantees. ;-))
do you have any idea why the glass bottles are so strong? just thinking about it it amazes me
artlife (author)  Jessica316 1 year ago
Sorry, I thought I posted a response on the 8th. The wine bottles are strong because the glass is thick. There strength is rated in the same range as glass blocks that are more traditionally used for construction. The liquor bottles are thinner and more fragile, but they are holding up.
7rory768 1 year ago
I wish I could build this, it is truly amazing I voted for you to win and I hope you do win goodluck
artlife (author)  7rory768 1 year ago
You can build one. I think one of the most amazing things about bottle buildings is the fact the fact that the vast majority were built by elderly women. Elderly women with no background in construction.

This may seem strange but, bottles are much easier to work with than most traditional materials. They are lighter weight and less cumbersome. Also it is much less expensive.

If you don't have property ask around, you might find someone that would love to put up a cool garden wall or storage shed.

If you (or anyone else) would like to build even a small wall, I would be happy to encourage you and answer any questions you might have
ella8681 year ago
This is super impressive
artlife (author)  ella8681 year ago
Thank you. We had lots of help building it.
lmnopeas1 year ago
Your user name says it all! This is truly an amazing project! Can't wait to see your future Instructables! Please post soon!
1-40 of 52Next »
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!