Step 1: Supplies + Tools
Purchase at Home Depot
¼” copper tubing is available at Home Depot in a several different lengths. 20 foot long coil is more than enough and can usually be purchased for less than $25. This tubing is soft, flexible, and can be cut with wire cutters or a small pipe cutter. Aluminum tubing is also an option that is silver in appearance. Aluminum tubing can be a little harder to find at your local home improvement retailer but is always available at mcmaster.com.
Purchase at Home Depot or Online
A simple $4 glass cutter from Home Depot will do the trick if you construct a simple guide to make sure that the score line around the bottle is straight. A few scraps of wood and a couple of screws will do the trick. A quick Google-ing of 'bottle cutter' will reveal a variety of devices that make this task a little easier. The Generation Green (g2) Bottle Cutter worked really well for me and only cost about $20.
Not all glass bottles are created equally. Different shapes and types of glass all behave differently. In general I had the best success with wine and liquor bottles. Make sure you have extra bottles since many will break when you try to cut them. At first I broke about 50% of the bottles that I tried to cut. After I while I was able to improve to about a 70% success rate.
Purchase at Home Depot
Goo Gone will help remove the adhesive used on the labels.
Wire Cutters or Pliers
Can be used to cut and bend the copper tubing. A small pipe cutter will also do the trick.
RYOBI Cordless Drill with a ¼” Diameter Bit
For drilling drainage holes in the corks.
To smooth out the edges of the cut glass.
Safety Glasses + Gloves
Should be worn at all times.
Step 2: Clean the Bottles
You will need extra bottles since many will break along the way. Just scrape off the majority of the labels with a knife and then generously apply Goo Gone to the fragments of glue and paper that are left. Let it soak for about 5 minutes and then scrub off the rest of the label with a rag.
Step 3: Score the Glass
A glass cutter is designed to make a score (scratch) mark on glass. We want to make a nice even score line all the way around the bottle. Don’t push too hard and try not to cut the bottle; we just need a consistent scratch.
The Cheap Way:
A $4 glass cutter will work fine if you construct a jig to hold the cutter still with 1 hand while you use the other hand to rotate the bottle. I made a jig by screwing a few pieces of pine to a scrap piece of plywood.
The Easy Way:
For about $20 you can buy a bottle cutter online. This tool serves as a guide that makes it easy to create an even line all the way around the bottle.
Step 4: Separate the Bottle
All you are trying to do with this step is heat and cool the bottle rapidly to cause the glass to expand and contract thus fracturing neatly and cleanly along the scratch mark. I tried a bunch of different ways:
Method 1: Candle and bucket
This was the slowest and least effective method I tried. Constantly rotating the bottle over the candle was tedious. A dunk method in the cool water should be done vertically so as not to put gravity on the end that is going to break off.
Method 2: Tea kettle and cold tap water
Pour hot water along the score line to heat the bottle. This method works quite well especially if you let the bottles rest on the bottom of the sink. Make sure to rotate the bottles to evenly heat all the way around the bottle.
Let the bottle rest flat on its side when heating and cooling it in the sink. Holding it by the neck puts stress in the bottle which can cause un even splitting.
Step 5: Sand the Edges
The freshly cut edges can be a bit sharp. Use 80, 100, or 120 grit sandpaper to sand down the edges.
Step 6: Drill Holes in the Corks
Use vice lock pliers or a clamp to hold the corks while drilling the drainage holes. You may need to whittle down the corks a bit to make them fit back into the bottles. A pocket knife or box cutter will work just fine.
Step 7: Test the Assembly
Make sure you have a nice water-tight fit before you put the glass bottles in place.
Step 8: Attach the Planter
You can bend the copper into a variety of different shapes. I plan on hanging this garden so I made a simple loop.
Step 9: Bend the Copper Around the Glass Planters
The cut glass planters are somewhat fragile so I recommend using an uncut bottle to bend the copper. Wrap the copper around bottle to make a spiral basket to support the glass planter.
Step 10: Insert and Adjust the Glass Planters
Once you have put the glass planters in place you probably need to make some minor adjustments to make them level.
Step 11: Insert Corks and Drainage Tubes
Cut and bend the drainage tubes so that each planter drains into the next. I use an empty bottle at the bottom to catch the leftover water from the lowest planter.
Step 12: Finished!
stunami made it!