Introduction: Ten Green Modular Shelving: Shelving and Tables Using Glass Bottles

Picture of Ten Green Modular Shelving: Shelving and Tables Using Glass Bottles

Ten Green is a modular shelving system, constructed simply from local recyclates.

This prototype was built with the Coach House Trust in Glasgow, using bottles from their recycling centre, and wood from the maintenance of their own sites. You can use any found timber, and adapt the dimensions to suit the wood you are working with.

Some examples are for sale at our shop here.

Design is released under a share alike/attribution CC license by Zero-waste Design.

Step 1: Get Your Bits N Bobs.

Picture of Get Your Bits N Bobs.

For one module you will need:

Four bottles. All the same brand/height/shape preferable. Wash them thoroughly in hot soapy water.

Two hook and eye strainers / turnbuckles as they are sometimes called. I used the smallest I could find, which are 14mm OD at the buckle and 5mm OD at the threads. Such as these from Screwfix.

Two planks of wood, prepared as shown in the .pdf template - careful! there are two different hole diameters, and if you are leaving one rough edge as I did here, make sure you take your measurements from the straight datum edge.

*REVISION* I would now NOT drill the holes in the lower shelf (the 30mm ones) all the way through, but drill them from below to half depth, using a flat bit. They will then rest on the tops of the bottles of the module below, rather than allowing the necks to pass striaght through as was the case in this prototype. (See discussion in comments)

Screw in the cup hooks halfway between the holes on either side, as shown. Depending on the height of your bottles, you may need some ess hooks too to help the strainer reach between the upper and lower hooks.

Step 2: Place the Bottles and Top Shelf

Picture of Place the Bottles and Top Shelf

Place the bottles concentrically over the holes of the lower shelf. Then carefully lower on top the upper shelf, allowing the necks of the bottles to pass through the 46mm holes in the upper shelf. Allow the shelf to rest on the necks of the bottles. Then by hand adjust the bottoms of the bottles so that they sit flush with the lower shelf.

Step 3: Tense Up!

Picture of Tense Up!

Attach the hook and eye strainers and ess hooks if needed, between the opposing hooks. Tighten up thoroughly.

Step 4: Assemble Into a Larger Unit

Picture of Assemble Into a Larger Unit

Make as many modules as you need, of whatever sizes you require. As long as the bottles are of the same height, and your holes are drilled precisely, you can stack the modules on top of each other

Step 5: Experiment!

Picture of Experiment!

This is an epilogue to suggest some other Ten Green-type furniture that I have worked on since: A kitchen shelving unit, which is more of a kit really, and two coffee tables which were made to commission/to suit specific bits of wood!

The tables are just the same as the shelving modules but flipped upside down, and without holes in the shelf at the base of the bottles (the table top).

More info at

I would be up for trialling the new 'Collaborate' feature of instructables with someone on this project. Message me if you're interested.


lcall (author)2017-10-30

What are the "Two hook and eye strainers / turnbuckles" for?

lcall (author)lcall2017-10-30

Nevermind. I found the answer in the other comments.

crazyjaesi made it! (author)2017-03-13

Well my step dad made it for me and i picked out the bottles. the sides are strung together and tightened with wires and spindles. I have it hung over the bar and attached a cheap wire glass rack. This shelf is now over 8 years old ans survived the move to my new place much better then my ikea furniture.

Levitationist7 (author)2012-07-09

The bottles I plan to use have product info painted on them, and I can't seem to get the writing off. The writing can't be scratched off using a pocket knife, and I tried nail polish remover that contains watered down acetone. I plan to try some stronger paint removers in the near future, but I would be open to Plan B's, if anyone has any ideas. Note: I do not want to damage the bottles if possible. Thanks for any ideas in advance!

rjet (author)Levitationist72015-12-30

Soak the labels and scrape off as much as you can, then take off the glue with Goo Gone or my favorite - wig adhesive remover (ProTouch Adhesive Remover comes in a spray bottle). Dry the glue with a paper towel so the remover stays in place, let it dissolve the glue a bit, then scratch off. it will be sticky, so wash it off with dish detergent. Try to NOT let the goo ball go down the drain.

If it is baked on enamel, scrape it off with a knife or razor blade. then you can scrape off what you don't want to keep.

Broom (author)Levitationist72012-07-11

I'm guessing the paint is baked-on enamel, and a heat gun might work. Worth a try. Wear gloves & safety glasses - you are unlikely to break them, but whenever heat & glass mix, it's possible.

will308oliveira (author)2014-07-09

I make some changes, this way a have two modular pieces. Than I conect like Lego.

Very nice! What diameter of holes did you make for the necks of the bottles? Do you think it would work with any design of bottle, or just those Brahmas?

22mm. Work on almost bottle, not only Brahmas.

carljones (author)2013-06-12

Nice idea, simple and effective. This is the way to many other things. May be it's time to think and get to work.

zmckeeve (author)2013-02-20

I had been thinking of doing this project for a while and am glad someone else has done one. I was actually thinking of countersinking the bottom shelf so the bottle can sit into the board. Then drilling holes in the top shelf and putting a peg of the correct diameter into the board. That peg would then sit flush on the top of the top shelf and then would stick through the bottom of the top shelf and into mouth of the bottle. I figured this may look cleaner and be more stable.
Does that sound like a good idea?
Also I am assuming the eye hooks are to prevent sway from side to side as well?

zmckeeve (author)zmckeeve2013-02-20

I mean "blind" holes not countersunk. it's to early haha

royshearer (author)zmckeeve2013-02-20

That sounds like a great idea to me. Yes the eyes/hooks and tensioners make the whole system rigid, stopping it wobbling side to side as well as keeping the bottles in place. They work on the principal of the bottom of the bottle biting into the wood slightly, and/or the boards bending very slightly.

CBS Powertools (author)2013-02-08

This is amazing i am going to get to work on this with my Milwaukee Power Tools i'll post the picture up after!

plasticpopcorn4 (author)2012-10-22

so just starting to make these. Didnt drill the holes all the way. Seems to create a slight problem because when the neck of the bottle goes through the holes it kind of holds them in place. when you only drill partial holes they seem to slip a little more.

any ways around this?

Broom (author)2012-06-27

When you suggest stacking them, are you assuming that the tops are only half-drilled (blind holes), so the bottle tops don't stick out into the next layer?

royshearer (author)Broom2012-07-18

Yes, that is correct! Sorry that I have not updated this, I have a better instructable in draft form, will get it up asap.

Loopstyle (author)2012-03-13

I love Green Design! Please share some of your ideas at :)


anghellix (author)2012-03-03

Great idea!

DIYDragon (author)2007-12-05

Cool! Some lights inside the bottles would be nice looking.. *ponders ideas for own projects*..

doo da do (author)DIYDragon2012-03-03

You would have to drill holes in the side, but would spruce it up. Good idea some times you have to think outside the box. Doodado

mr_kronk (author)DIYDragon2011-02-08

lol i was gonna mention that myself but then i saw you beat me to it good idea though, could also turn all the bottles into lava lamps too.

cfischer505 (author)DIYDragon2008-02-01

I'm going to use a shortened set of xmas lights in mine, even in an amber color bottle they will look great.

SinAmos (author)2012-03-03

Thank you. You don't know how ingenious this for my current situation.

Pyrotect (author)2012-03-03

Very Clean and green design. I love the idea and am starting my own . thanks for the idea.

TXTCLA55 (author)2012-03-03

Great Idea! Personally I would have used a dark accent wood instead of pine. Just to add a bit more "modern" look.

JasonTX (author)2012-03-03

I'm thinking if you used a hole saw of nearly the same diameter as the mouth of the bottle, you could make a circular groove which would let you leave on the labels. This would work for the person who posted the beer bottle shelf. The only trick would be matching the size and controlling the depth. You might need to use two sizes of holesaw and chisel out the scrap.

johnywsmith (author)2012-03-03

great idea!

jdrolte (author)2011-07-17

For those worrying about the weight placed on these bottles remember that glass has excellent properties for compression strength. I've seen a grown man stand on one wine glass before without it breaking: Start the episode at around 34:55 to see what I'm talking about. 

Shanball (author)jdrolte2012-01-16

awesome video link. kudos for sharing. he stands on ONE glass! yea, the shelves with bottles will be fiiiine.

i used to work in a winery, and would walk on wine bottles all the time. never tried a glass, but the bottles never flinched. you could stack a lot of weight on a bottle.

zxcpimp (author)2012-01-08

Great stuff.. Thanks for sharing this idea..
scrabble cheat scrabble word cheat

LuzminasCorner (author)2011-05-24

Love that idea!, is just amazing!!

paralyzedcitizen (author)2011-01-23

Fantastic project! Thanks for the inspiration :) Here's mine below. I didn't want to loose any height because I wanted to use bottles of my favourite ale so I haven't drilled through the shelves.

Hi, great stuff! The 30mm holes are primarily for making assembly easier, and help if the shelving is ever subjected to a significant sideways knock, but are not essential as you show. That is a fine selection of ales indeed.

royshearer (author)2010-10-26

Rogier Martens' version using straps and plywood:

Makes a nice clean display system.

INTHERMA (author)2010-08-15

Great idea! Thanks

dbbd (author)2010-08-08

I'm absolutely going to try this with nice scotch bottles. I never liked to throw these away, and now I can put them to good use.

FencingSmoker (author)2010-06-02

I used liquor bottles for the supports and an old, falling apart dining room table for the wood. Thanks for this great Instructable! 

juanoporras (author)2009-08-16

Oh man thanks, I needed some tables and shelves, was thinking on buying some, but this is a really cool idea, thanks for sharing. ;) maybe a tip to make then better; On the tables where the bottles are upside down touching the ground; if the place where is located is not soft like a carpet you have the risk of breaking the bottles, you can maybe add corks or plastic/rubber caps so the bottles wont break easily or maybe scratch the floor. thanks again!

Einarjon (author)juanoporras2009-12-27

Whatever the surface, popping in some champagne corks would be a good idea. It would be easier on the bottles and the ground.

Dr.Bill (author)Einarjon2010-01-17

Plastic corks for feet. Good idea.

svfox69 (author)juanoporras2009-09-14

You could make this for $1.00
Time to head over to my brothers for some wood.


trike road poet (author)2009-12-28

I intend to use some old wine bottles, (and I'm thinking of stacking some of those metal spice containers) to make the shelf spacers for a shelf in the pantry/kitchen area.  An easy and delightfully eye catching project.  Solid instructable and one to get the creative juices flowing.  This is a project where individual creativity can get a chance to blossom, this is one of the best instructables yet, a starting point that leads you into your own creations.


Einarjon (author)2009-12-27

Possible money saving tip: When doing many shelves, instead of using a hook and turnbuckle for each shelf; use a single turnbuckle on each side.
Just drill a tiny hole into all the middle shelves and lead a wire through them. Put hooks into the top and bottom ones and connect it to the turnbuckle with the wire.

crazyjaesi (author)2009-12-25

I used beer bottles and hung it on the wall

ademczuk (author)2009-10-01

Here's my attempt. 27 hours and $360 (AUD) later. Used a sand-paint finish and enlarged a drawing the person I made it for (from a6 to a3) with a photocopier then stencil spray painted it on top

red9er (author)2009-09-14

how much weight can it hold? great idea but if the bottom bottles can only support... oh, 25lbs, what good would it be?

royshearer (author)red9er2009-09-15

I would recommend anyone making this instructable to load up the bottom unit beyond what they expect it to have to hold as way of testing, before building the units up properly. I did this when prototyping, by standing on the bottom unit. The critical weights of course depend on the timber used, what you're going to put on the shelves, and the strength of the bottles, all of which might vary significantly from person to person. If anyone has any test results, do post them here.

For my part, I used 250mm high beer bottles here, with approx. 30mm thick timber, each unit weighing approx. 8 kilos. The lowest unit would need to take 16 kilos before loading, so I tested it to my weight, about 55 kilos (yes, I'm real skinny!). That way I knew I could put on at least 39kg of stuff.

Hooray for empiricaldata!

svfox69 (author)red9er2009-09-14

The weight would vary on the type of bottles used.
You would have to experiment to find out your bottles capability.


chenhong (author)2009-09-13


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