Introduction: Self Watering Pot Plate

About: I'm an IT guy, maker, hobbyist, really like to make different things with kids and play/test with them in a spare time.


Sometimes we can travel or be absent at home for a long time. If we have an indoor plant we have to find someone to water our plants until we far away. Market solutions give us such possibility, but that requires changing the whole pot, because of the built-in irrigation system.

This project is a remix of the idea for the self-watering solutions, many examples could be found on the web, here are some of them:


In this instructable, I'll share with you an idea, how to create a self-watering pot plate that could be used with any existing pot plants or trays. It doesn't require changing the soil or something else. All that needs to be done is to connect any empty bottle with some tubes to the plate, put the potted plant into the pot plate and that's it! Please check the main attached video. It requires no electronics, relays valves, or other mechanical parts.


  • 25 cm silicone tube Ø 8mm
  • 35 cm silicone tube Ø 3mm
  • empty PET bottle, e.g. from water or milk
  • 3D printer
  • Fusion 360 (optional)

Step 1: Some Theory

Before we start we have to understand, why 2 tubes being used and how to make it work.

Because of the surface tension of the water, it will not flow through one thin tube, because of air bubbles, that will block flow inside the tube with ≈10mm in diameter. That is why, this project using 2 silicone tubes, one inside the other, to separate flows and let water flows without obstacles. This step contains a schema of the flows.

The bottom ( pot's plat) end of the tube should be lower for ≈3 mm than the slotted hole in the plastic pipe. In this situation, water will be flowing lower than air will be sucked back to the bottle.

The top (bottle) end of the tube should be higher than the outer one, to reduce the chance of sucking air inside the tube with water.

The main rule here is that fitting from the bottle end has to be above the fitting from the pot ≈1-2cm

Step 2: Models

If you have a pot with a bottom diameter ≤ 85 mm them could be grabbed and 3D printed. Also, you can design own models, a comprehensive step by step guide could be found in the next steps.

Step 3: Modelling the Pot Plate

The pot model, that is attached to this instructable is suitable for the average pot in my local area. If you have different pot sizes or shapes, and not very experienced in Fusion360, you can follow the video guide and images to create your own in an easy way. It'll take ≈15 minutes with no rush.

Note: Experiencing some problems with attaching the video to the instructable, so temporarily putting the link here, until the issue will be solved by the site admins.

Step 4: Modelling Fitting for the Bottle

You can also create an own model of fitting in the same way as the pot was created in the previous step. Size examples could be found on the attached images to this step.

Step 5: Assembling the Bottle Cap

Drill/cut the hole in the bottle cap Ø 11mm

Apply some super glue and Insert the inner fitting into the cap. Once fitting inserted apply super glue and cover with the second part of the pipe. See photos for reference.

Step 6: Assembling the Pipeline

In this step, we have to assembly out a pipeline that connects the bottle with a pot plate.

  1. First of all, we have to connect a bottle cap with a plate by using the outer tube. Simply pull the tube on both fittings.
  2. Thread through the outer tube our tiny one and make sure that it ends for 3-4 mm lower than the top edge of the slot hole. Please check the second photo, attached to this step.
  3. Leave an extra 2-3 cm tube length on the second end of the tube and cut it. Check the last photo for more details.

Step 7: Finishing

All that we need to do here is to place the bottle in the holder, screw the cap with tubes and place the plant.

That's it!

Thank you for reading and happy planting

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