Introduction: Glowy Grass From Recycled Bottle

About: I like to build some cool stuf

it was a year and something ago when a king of random made a video about plastic bottle cutter

when I saw it I just made one and it works very well

so I turned few bottles into strings and I had this idea to make glowing grass out of fluorescent bottles from mountain dew (i don't know if these bottles are same in other countries) I using its fluorescence ability while it is backlight with ultraviolet LEDs which make glowing like effect

I made just little piece of grass and forgot about it...

but yesterday I was sorting my old stuff and I found a box with this project including long unused string so I decided to use it for a much bigger piece of glowing grass

I also planned to make more strings but my old DIY bottle cutter is lost somewhere in my junk boxes and one which I bought from eBay doesn't work very well (I don't recommend it)

Step 1: Tools and Materials

  • plastic bottle cutter DIY link, or one from eBay (I do not recommend wooden one) link
  • florescent bottle
  • plywood or something similar for base
  • drill and drill bits (I used 5mm for LEDs and 3mm to make holes for grass stems)
  • some small file for adjusting holes for grass stems (I used a scalpel)
  • UV LEDs some wires and soldering iron
  • plyers, scissors, glue, hand saw (for plywood), sandpaper, something for removing adhesive from bottle sticker I used zippo refiller (gasoline)........

Step 2: Preparing Bottles

remove sticker and adhesive using some solvent (I used gasoline lighter refiller)

if you bottle have some patterns you can remove them using stove flame or heat gun (lid must stay on the bottle to build pressure prevent deforming and shrinking of the bottle otherwise bottle will just deform to useless junk)

Step 3: Cutting

put your bottles in the cutter and pull :) if your cutter has adjustable size you can pick how wide string you want I used 1cm wide (0.4 inches)

then cut your string to some length mine are around 10cm (4 inches)

Step 4: Making Grass Stalks

I tried few variants but this was the best looking put stalks together in this order ← →← →,

secure them with some tape or glue and twist two middle stalks (if they are stuck as left one on the first picture)

and make a bunch of them you will need it :)

Step 5: Preparing Base Board

cut some length from plywood for base two rows of grass stalks are enough (more can ruin overall look so 25mm width is ok for base board

mark some random spots for stalks and drill two holes on ends which you can connect using a small file or scalpel pick some spots between holes where is enough free place and drill holes with 5mm bit for LEDs

Step 6: Adding Grass

add grass and LEDs and you can glue them on place if is needed

Step 7:

connect LEDs to a parallel connection (long legs to long (+), and short to short (-) )

add wires and connect a 3-3.3V power source

you can use normal UV LEDs or more expensive ones with wavelength 365nm which doesn't have that purple tint you can only see weak whiteish color but they are more dangerous because you can't see bright UV light

a little bit of warning

when you are done display your grass on some shelf in hight when you can't directly see LEDs (above your eye level) because your eyes can only see purple light but they can't see bright UV light which can cause some problems when your eyes are adjusted to darker environment when there is plenty of bright UV light which your eyes can't see (you can hurt in your eyes when you looking on it from above similar as if you looking directly into white LED but in this case it is different because your eyes can be adjusted if they can see visible bright light but for ultraviolet light your iris stays wide open)

Step 8: Make Some Box or Pot for It and You Are Done :)

Make it Glow Contest 2018

Participated in the
Make it Glow Contest 2018