Introduction: „Hot Air Balloon” Automatic Drip Watering System for Indoor Plants
None of us are safe from the situation when we need to leave our house for a certain period, and there can be no one to look after our indoor plants. This is especially true in the light of the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic, because we may need the help of doctors in hospital at any time. Therefore, an automatic watering device for indoor plants is very relevant. In this instructable, I show you how to make an Automatic Drip Watering System for Indoor Plants using a simple medical dropper. It looks like a hot air balloon and consists of a paper balloon and a round basket, woven from paper tubes. A water tank is hidden in the paper balloon. It is not only a watering device for your indoor plants, but also an interesting decoration. You can also use the basket separately as a pot holder for your indoor plant, or even put a container with water and fresh flowers in this basket.
P.S. I'm tired of fighting with sites that steal my instructables regardless of the license (which is indicated in the upper left corner). Sorry but I decided to add attribution to my photos. I know it looks a little annoying, but it annoys me even more to see my works under someone else's authorship or for sale.
Step 1: Gathering the Necessary Material
a medical dropper,
PVA glue (white glue),
a piece of cardboard,
a 6 l or 1.6 gal plastic bottle,
sheets of A4 paper with a density of about 45 g/m2,
a knitting needle 2.5 mm thick,
stain (I used the color of the oak),
white and yellow acrylic paints (I used yellow dye),
varnish (better in spray can),
clothespins (20 pcs),
a container for weaving the basket, with a volume equal the one of the planned basket (I used an empty flowerpot larger than my indoor flower's volume),
a crochet hook,
a piece of rubber or sealant.
Step 2: Making the Paper Balloon
Inflate the balloon and tie it with a thread (the size should be as close as possible to the width of your plastic bottle).
Fold the craft paper several times and cut it into small pieces.
Glue the pieces of kraft paper over the entire surface of the balloon in two layers, using PVA glue and a brush.
Leave it to dry well.
Step 3: Preparing the Water Tank
Cut the bottom of your plastic bottle in such a way that this turned upside down bottle completely fits into the paper balloon made in the previous step (put the plastic bottle upside down next to the ball; using a felt-tip pen to mark the part of the bottle that is longer than the paper balloon; cut it out).
Using the awl, make a hole equal to the diameter of the needle in the screw cap of the plastic bottle (to make sure that water will not leak around the needle, glue a piece of rubber or use sealant).
Make two holes on the opposite sides of the plastic bottle (near the cut bottom) so that you can later attach a piece of fishing line to them and hang the plastic bottle filled with water upside down.
Step 4: Assembling the Balloon of Automatic Drip Watering System
Untie the balloon (it stays inside for now).
Mark the top center point of the paper balloon: put the finger of one hand on the hole at the bottom of the paper balloon (where the balloon was connected), and the index finger of the other hand on the opposite side of the paper balloon; twist the paper balloon, holding it between the fingers and moving the index finger at the top to find balance.
Using pencil and rope/yarn, draw a line from the top center point of the paper balloon to the hole on the opposite side.
Draw a circle around the top center point of the paper balloon (you can draw over the screw cap of the plastic bottle).
Cut out the circle on the top and cut the line you drawn earlier. Remove the balloon.
To protect the inner surface of the paper balloon from moisture, varnish it and let it dry well.
Using the awl, make two holes in the paper balloon near the cut circle (on opposite sides).
Tie a piece of fishing line to one of the holes at the plastic bottle and pass it through one hole at the paper balloon located on the opposite side of the cut side of the paper balloon. Tie the opposite end of the piece of fishing line to the second hole of the plastic bottle.
Carefully insert the plastic bottle into the ball through the slotted side (with screw cup). Pull the fishing line and place the plastic bottle inside the paper balloon so that the other end of the fishing line comes out of the cut side of the paper balloon.
Using hot glue, fix the cut edges of the paper balloon (cut off the excess with a knife - you should have a flat surface at the end).
Glue pieces of kraft paper on the joint using PVA glue (two layers).
Let it dry well.
Paint the paper balloon white. Hang it over the fishing line and wait for the paint to dry.
Then paint the paper balloon yellow and let it dry well. If you use dye, prepare a little more to still have enough to paint the basket’s paper tubes.
To better protect the paper balloon, varnish it.
Step 5: Making Paper Tubes for the Basket
To weave a basket, you need to have two types of paper tubes: stronger for the uprights (vertical tubes around which you will weave) and more flexible paper tubes for weaving.
Making paper uprights-tubes:
Fold the sheet of A4 paper 3 times along and cut it into 3 strips.
Put the end of the knitting needle on the corner of the strip of paper at an angle of about 30 degrees and wrap the paper tightly around the knitting needle. If your needle is not long enough, then gradually push it inside the tube until you wrap the entire strip of paper to the tube. Put a little white glue on the last corner of the strip of paper and glue it to the tube - this will fix paper. Take out the knitting needle.
Then you need to lengthen the tubes. Each paper tube has one narrow end (you started to roll paper from it), and the other end is slightly wider. To connect the tubes, add a little PVA glue to the narrow end of one tube and insert it into the wide end of the other tube. Make sure that the tubes do not separate during weaving.
Make 10 long uprights-tubes.
Making paper flexible tubes:
Fold a sheet of A4 paper 4 times along and cut it into 4 strips. Next, make tubes in the same way as the uprights-tubes (written above).
Next you need to color the tubes. Since I used two colors when weaving the basket, i painted uprights-tubes and a part of the flexible tubes with a stain and the other part of the flexible tubes with the yellow paint (save a little paint to correct the basket later).
Allow the tubes to dry, but not to dry completely.
Step 6: Weaving the Base of the Basket
Before you start weaving, make sure that the tubes are not completely dry (if necessary, moisten them with steam, but do not wet them, otherwise they will fall apart).
Put three uprights-tubes. Add a little hot glue in the middle and put three more uprights-tubes on top perpendicularly, gluing them in the middle. Then, glue 2 more uprights-tubes from above (at an angle of 45 degrees), and then 2 more uprights-tubes. As a result, you will get 20 paper uprights-tubes sticking out of the center (3 + 2 + 3 + 2 + 3 + 2 + 3 + 2).
Glue the first flexible tube to the center with hot glue and round it around the uprights-tubes: first around two uprights-tubes, then around three uprights-tubes, etc.
Make 3 rows using the same method.
When the tube ends during weaving, glue the second one to it (as described in the previous step). Gently continue weaving, making sure that the tubules do not separate.
Next, glue another flexible tube using hot glue, disconnect the uprights-tubes and continue weaving around each uprights-tube, working with two flexible tubes (crossing them together).
Place the size container in the center fo the weaving, bend the uprights-tubes around it, distributing them evenly and fixing each using clothespins.
Continue weaving: unfix the clothespin from the uprights-tube, weave around it two flexible tubes, fix the uprights-tube again, unfix the next uprights-tube, etc.
Form the bottom of the basket in this way (it should be equal to the size of the container for weaving the basket). I got 5 such rows for a bottom diameter of 13 cm.
Step 7: Weaving the Side of the Basket
Continue weaving. Since I decided to use two colors, I first weaved a basket with brown tubules - 14 rows, then I weaved 2 rows with brown and yellow tubes (I replaced the color of one of the two tubes with yellow, gluing yellow instead of brown tubes), then 5 rows with only yellow tubes.
Having made the last row, cut the tubes and hide them inside the basket, gluing.
Step 8: Finish Weaving
Bend the uprights-tube and cut it at an acute angle at such a distance that the end of the tube is between the next two uprights-tubes.
Using the knitting needle, insert the end of the rack near the next uprights-tube. Do this with all of the following uprights-tubes.
Add some PVA glue in the places of insertion of the ends of the uprights-tubes.
Turn the basket over and place a few books on top to press.
Let the glue dry well.
If you find translucent white paper at the junction of the tubes, then color them with the remaining yellow paint.
To get the effect of amber, you can apply a little more stain to the bottom of the already finished basket.
To protect the basket from external influences, coat it with varnish on all sides. Let it dry well.
The basket is ready. I got a round basket 12.5 cm high, with a diameter of 13 cm at the bottom and 15.5 cm at the top.
Step 9: Weaving Threads Around the Balloon of the Automatic Drip Watering System
Cut 14 pieces of long threads (about 80 cm).
Make a thread ring a little larger than the hole on top of the paper balloon.
Fold the pieces of thread in half and connect in the middle with the ring.
Put the thread ring on top of the paper balloon and glue it using hot glue.
Tie the threads together so a net forms around the paper balloon. To have the same cells everywhere, insert a piece of cardboard between the threads.
Step 10: Assembling the Automatic Drip Watering System and Enjoying the Work Done
Insert the pot with plant into the basket. Do not forget to put a plate on the bottom to drain excess water.
Shorten the tubes on the medical dropper according to the height of your flower: cut and re-insert onto the droplet tips. Remove the needle from the lower tube of the dropper (so you don’t injure the roots of the flower).
Insert the needle of the upper dropper tube into the hole of the screw cup of the plastic bottle and fix it using hot glue. Hang the paper balloon.
Tie the ends of the threads from the balloon to the basket using the crochet hook.
Close the medical dropper (completely shut off the speed regulator - scroll the wheel all the way down). Pour clean water into the plastic bottle inside the paper balloon through the hole on top.
Gradually open the water flow rate regulator to get drops (if necessary, open for a few seconds air access to the droplet former). First let the water into the glass until you get drops slowly. Observe the amount of water entering the pot with plant for a while.
Always use clean water using this Automatic Drip Watering System. If the water contains salt, then the filter in the dropper may clog over time, and the dropper will stop working. In this case, you can break the filter using a wire or remove the droplet generator altogether and regulate the water supply only with the speed controller.
Your „Hot Air Balloon” Automatic Drip Watering System for Indoor Plants is ready. If necessary, you can make the paper balloon bigger, use several droppers, use several balls.
Take care of yourself and your indoor plants.
Participated in the
Indoor Plants Challenge