Mix the mortar according to the package instructions and add a ¼ cup of Ivory dish detergent and 1 cup of lime to the mix. The texture of the mortar should be about the same as organic peanut butter.
Tack a level string up between the posts at the height of a bottle on it’s side plus ½”.
There will be a ½ “ gap between the bottles. So you need to figure out the spacing of the bottles, so that the bottles end up centered between the posts. If you have large gaps on the ends you can make the gap between the bottles a little bit wider. The gaps on the edges can be up to 2” wide if needed (but, smaller is better).
The first layer of mortar should be about ¾ “ thick . Slather some mortar on the side of a bottle place the bottle in the mortar and press bottle down firmly. Use the trowel to form a curve for the next bottle. (see the sketchbook image)
The mortar should not go past the shoulder of the bottles. It will block out light. It also increases the cost of building significantly. The mortar on these buildings ended up at about 4 ½ -5” from the base of the bottle. The small building was started first as a test project and the mortar was 6” this was major overkill and wasted a lot of mortar.(see the sketchbook image)
After you have a couple of rows of bottles, stop and clean up your work use sponges and clear water to wipe down the bottle bottoms and leave a smooth surface on the mortar. It is easiest to do this with lots of sponges just use one for the initial wipe down then switch to a fresh clean sponge and wipe it down again, repeat until the bottles are clean. Clean off the tops of the bottles the same way. When you think the bottles are clean, wipe them down again. Seriously, do it or you will end up with mortar streaks on the glass. Be sure to wear rubber gloves while you clean the bottles.
Don’t lay more than four rows of bottles at a time. GIve the mortar some time to set between layers so that it does not sag.
Laying the bottles is actually very easy to do, we had people aged 5 to 80+ laying bottles in our buildings.
Keep going until you get to the beams. You are Done!