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These wonderful little air pillows have been around for a while now, slowly replacing Styrofoam and packing peanuts as the conventional packing material. Some air pillows are biodegradable but I wonder if the rest might not end up choking a dolphin or seal. 

In this Instructable we'll upcycle those air pillows to make a vertical garden which can be draped or wall mounted; we will use the draped version as our example.

This instructable is about as easy as breathing and costs about as much so let's gather our materials and get started:

Step 1: Tool & Materials

For this instant hanging garden you will need:
  • A knife or scissors
  • A column of air pillows consisting of 3 or more pockets
  • Some small plants or dirt and seeds
  • A small handful of rocks/gravel/pebbles to line the bottom of each pocket
  • Clear packing tape

Step 2: Tape & Air Pillows

Start by rolling out your clear packing tape so that the sticky side is facing up; you want a length equal to or longer than your column of air pillows. Place the column of air pillows so that the edge of the plastic meets the center of the packing tape, as demonstrated in the picture. Cut the tape nicely at the end of the air pillows so that it is not visible or a few inches/10cm from the end of the column so that you can use the tap-tab as a hanging device. For a draped vertical garden you don't need to cut the center air pillow.

*You can use other wide tapes but I think clear packing tape is the best choice.
** This is not absolutely necessary depending on how many air pillows you have in the column but it won't hurt...a falling bag of rocks and dirt could hurt.
***After you're done using the packing tape, make a courtesy-tab on the end of the roll so that the next person doesn't have to struggle trying to get a piece.

Step 3: Knife

Use your knife or scissors to cut the edge that is going to be open towards the sky in your instant hanging garden.

The version I made for this instructable drapes over objects so all of the cuts were on the edges which were pointing towards the center of the air pillow column.

Step 4: Gravel

Hang your garden as you want it to be forever. Fill the air pillows with just a bit of gravel/small rocks/pebbles so that water has a place to drain.

In the example hanging garden the fourth air pillow, being the center of seven, is empty. 

*You may want to clip it to the center of the garden to surface you're attaching it to, temporarily until after the next step. I used a bulldog-clip as you can see in the picture.

Step 5: Plants & Dirt

Now just put some dirt with plants or seeds into each air pillow (except the center one) and you can hang your garden anywhere...

Step 6: Hang a Garden on It:

  1. Hang your garden on a chair and pretend it's person.
  2. Hang it on a railing and look at it while you walk up stairs...
  3. OR on a different railing and watch it as you walk down stairs...
  4. Drape it over a fence (your fence, a public fence or barbed wire maybe)...
  5. Hang it over the branch of a tree, on your best friend, on a clothesline, in your window, maybe you could use it as a scarf, make a draped garden which hangs like a wall OR think of your own places to put your new hanging garden.

To get updates on related and unrelated projects: https://www.facebook.com/JustinTylerTate
<p>Nice idea!. I have seen some newer air pillows that are perforated between sections to make it easier to custom the packing, though. So be sure to check yours before hanging; don't want a catastrophic fail!</p>
<p>ah smart reuse! very cool</p>
<p>Would this work for planting herbs? Which plants have you tried and were the most successful ones?</p>
<p>I think it would work especially well for planting herbs. Actually I had always imagined planting herbs in it but then I found/used these plants instead. </p>
<p>This is a great idea and a great use of those air pockets!</p>
<p>Good idea, well documented. Thank you for sharing :-)</p>
Like the recycled hanging gardens of Babylon!
A little early for April fools?

About This Instructable

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Bio: Justin Tyler Tate is an artist, designer, animator, teacher, jeweler and maker/hacker who produces with thoughts of culture, science and interactivity.
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