My parent's cabin does not have drinkable tap water, so we use a lot of water bottles, juice bottles and all kind of bottles (my father prefers beer bottles). There is also no recycling system in this area, so we have to bring all these containers back home. I found a way to reuse them (using only my father's tool box) by turning them into a useful, good looking and entertaining buoy for the lake. They can be used as seats for exhausted swimmers, anchor for your kayak or rock warning... It is also really fun to try to run on them like in a Japanese game show...

p.s. Read the comments to learn how to make it a floating tray, a lantern, a water distiller, an electricity generator (solar or wave motion), a clock, a raft, a floating island, a fishing rope...

Thanks for all your great ideas, Jeff-O, iSmack, Btop and all the others.

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Step 1: What You Need

You will need:

-A board of wood or plastic at least 0.5 inch thick (no fiberboard)
-A saw
-A plastic rope
-A lighter
-A knife
-16 Pan Head screws
-16 water bottles and their caps
-Paint (the color you want)
-A piece of flexible foam (1/2 inch thick and more), like a square of Play Mat (I took my little sister's)
-Teflon tape or silicone tube (optional)
-A drill
-A hot glue gun

Step 2: Step 1

With a drill or a punch, make a hole (the size of your screw in the middle of the HDPE caps.

p.s Do not use a nail, it would stretch the plastic.

Step 3: Step 2

Cut a circle in your board. The diameter should be about the size of your foot. If you don't have feet, (sorry) make that 12 inches. You can sand or cut 16 equal flat surfaces around the circumference. Drill a hole in the middle, the size of your rope.

Step 4: Be Precise

Make sure to mark your board correctly

Step 5: Step 3

Drill 16 holes at equal distance. Make sure the drill is in line with the center of the circle.

Step 6: Step 4

Screw the caps to the center piece. (Adding a drop of silicone in the midle of the hole will it make is water tight longer)

Step 7: Step 5

Paint it!

Step 8: Step 6

Cut an 11 inch circle in the foam board. Make a hole in the middle (two times the size of your rope).

Step 9: Step 7

Glue the foam on the board. (Perfectly centered please)

Step 10: Step 8

Make a tight knot in the rope after passing it through the hole. Melt the strings together (do NOT breathe the fumes).

Step 11: Step 9

Adjust the length of the rope depending on where you decided to anchor the buoy. Tie the other end to something heavy but easy to carry (like a bike lock that lost its key).

Step 12: Step 10

Screw the 16 bottles to the center piece, adding silicone or Teflon tape if you notice any leak, and you got a wonderful multipurpose BUOY. Once you finished and tested the first one, you can keep saving your bottles to make new ones varying in size, shape and colour.

Step 13: Dimensions

Doesn't it look like an uploading icon?

(Just early enough for you to make one this summer!)

Step 14: Make a Lot of Them!

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    129 Discussions


    5 years ago

    CAD- maybe Solidworks? For the last image , I mean.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    didn't someone make an island, complete with house and garden. Thought I saw a program about it, he used recycled plastic bottles captured in nets.The possibilities are endless,great instructable. all the best from england uk

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    im trying to do that. just dont want to spend my days collecting bottles from people on the street ( he was homeless when he started, so it wasnt as problematic). im using a wider variety of floating products eg. wood, bottles, foam


    9 years ago on Introduction

    You could make fifty of them, and put solar panels  on top of each.Then, wire 'em all up to a central battery, and power something! Then it would be truly green. Are most wires waterproof? could you run them underwater for a long time?

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    wires with a plastic cover certainly are, but regardless, the wire would be the path of least resistanc in the water, uncovered ( assuming the AMOUNT of electrcity wasnt very high, like if it was a power cord to house-outlets )
    also, the more electricity you have, the farther it will run. think, household extension chords are hundred(s) of feet long, But potoentially not waterproof.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Good thing to point your 'region' of the beach if you have private one. Otherwise... would be better to make it as some solar lights or sth :)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I think this is the first project I ever viewed on Instructables, and 5 years later it still stands on my top 3 list, if not my favorite. I would love to make one, but the only place I have to use it is my neighbor's very small pool.


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 13

    Im thinking Throwies!! Cheap, small, axposable.. Although you probably dony want the batteries all over the lake..

    KT Gadgetkff96

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Maybe a water proof solar garden lamp would work, just swap out the White LEDs with a different color and resistor if needed


    10 years ago on Introduction

    well nice idea and a good idea for recycling bottles.they would work good as platforms for drinks in a hotspring.and im just curious but can you sit on them without making them sink if they were big enough and you were light enough?. again nice idea cheers

    3 replies

    Merci! You would need a lot of them to sit without sinking at least a few centimeters. The platform would actually be so big that you could almost sleep on it. With 18 bottles, an average man (sitting) has water up his bellybutton, wich is not that bad (but a part of you will be a bit cold).


    Tres bien, tres bien ! ! ! I took a cot, with an aluminum frame and clothe "matress" and put water bottles all around it, and then another "layer" there are so many, no I can sleep on it, when I go to the lake in the summer and I use the buoy I made to anchor me and hold my drinks, merci beaucoup, c'est un invention qui est necessaire! :P


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Paint the bottom vertical half of each bottle black ... the half that sits in the water.

    Float a few of these in a small swimming pool.

    solar heat for the pool.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    this just gave me the idea of a crazy trap for fish

    just in the place of the good looking red rope, put some heavy duty fish rope, with a fishook on tip.... must work like a charm! hehehe

    next summer I'll try that! (it's winter now here... not much fish to do fishing... )


    9 years ago on Introduction

    very nice idea. you say swimmers can sit on this, how boyant is this then as 16 2litre botles must be able to hold up a person


    9 years ago on Introduction

    you can build about 15-20 layers of BUOY and get some pvc piping to connect the Buoy's together and the bottles to make a water butt (obviously with a huge funnel to collect the water). and did the word BUOY come from the word buoyancy...