In this instructable, we will make plastic bottle planters with self watering stand made out of PVC pipes.
Here, we are going to make a 5 planter stand, but you can easily modify the design to hold more number of planters.
So, let's move onto the next step for gathering tools and materials used to build this project.
A Cautious Note: This project requires you to work with hacksaw and high speed tool. Adults/Parents should assist children and extra care should be taken while working with such tools.
Step 1: Materials You Will Need
1. 3/4" PVC Pipe Segments - 6" in length each. Qty: 4
2. 3/4" PVC Pipe Segments - 1.5" in length each. Qty: 6
3. 3/4" PVC T Joints - Qty: 7
4. 3/4" PVC Elbow Joints - Qty: 4
5. Empty Bottles of Packaged Drinking Water. Preferably 2 litre sized. Qty: 5
6. Twisted Cotton Cloth - 6" long. Qty: 4
7. Coins - 1" diameter. Qty: 2
Step 2: Tools You Will Need
2. PVC Solvent Welding Compound
3. Dremel Rotary Tool - With Sanding Bit
4. Sand Paper
5. Poker Screwdriver/ Pointed Tool
6. Araldite or any Epoxy/ Super Glue
7. Teflon/ Thread seal tape.
8. Pair of Safety Glasses
Step 3: Build the Self Watering Stand
Let's start out with building our watering stand first. Once the stand is built, we shall focus on creating the planters then. :)
For this, we need 4 and 6 pieces of pipe segments of 6" and 1.5" respectively.
Using hacksaw, cut the 3/4" pipe into desired lengths as mentioned above. Sand the edges of the pipes if they are rough using the sand paper. This will ensure that any debris on the edges gets cleaned off for the proper fit into the joints.
Once you have the pipe segments ready, let's start assembling the stand.
Step 1: Take a T joint, and press fit two 6" pipe segments at the two ends of the T joint. I have used PVC solvent welding compound to secure the joints.
Tip:Apply the PVC welding compound to the inner side of the T joint. Once you have applied the compound, instantly press fit the pipes into the joints as the welding compound tends to set fast.
Step 2: Take 2 T joints, and press fit them to each side of the 6" pipe segments that you have made by following the step 1. Refer to the step 2 of the illustration (attached image) of the joinery.
Step 3: Now, again take 2 T joints, and press fit them to each side of the 6" pipe segments that you have made by following the steps 1 & 2. But make sure that the orientation of the T joint is kept vertical. Refer to the step 3 of the illustration (attached image) of the joinery.
Step 4: In this step, we will assemble the leg of the stand. For this, take a T joint and press fit 1.5" pipe segments at both the ends of it. Once you have fitted the pipe segments, press fit the Elbow joints. Refer to the step 4 of the illustration (attached image) of the joinery.
Repeat step 4 to make another leg of the stand.
Next, we will attach these legs to the stand. But, before doing that, we need to seal the two ends of the pipe so that the water does not leak/flow out of it.
Step 4: Attach Legs to the Stand
Take the last two remaining 1.5" pipe segments and stick a stainless steel coin to one end of each pipe with the help of epoxy glue.
Tip: The epoxy glue takes at least 12 good hours to cure. I would suggest to use super/instant glue.
I have used stainless steel coins here since it will resist rusting for longer period of time and the size of it perfectly covers the opening of the pipe. You can however use pretty much anything that is available with you to do this job; like plastic discs, sheet metal discs, or even pipe sealant. The idea is to seal the opening of the pipe, so it doesn't really matter what you use!
Once the glue dries, press fit the 1.5" pipe segment to the rest of your leg construction.
Now, you can go ahead and attach the two legs to your stand!
Congrats!! So far you have created your self watering stand!
Now, the next step is to create planters and devise a mechanism to water the plants automatically.
Step 5: Make Plastic Bottle Planters
I have used 5 empty plastic bottles of packaged drinking water to create planters. Out of 5, four are 2 litre sized bottles and the remaining one is 1 litre sized bottle. It's preferable to have 2 litre sized bottles to hold more soil.
Step 1: Cut the bottles into two parts some 5 to 6 inches away from the bottle cap with a hacksaw. Sand the rough/sharp edges using the sand paper.
Step 2: Twist the cotton cloth to make 6 inches long wicks which will be used to draw water from the pipe into the planter thus keeping the soil moist/wet.
Step 3: Using a pointed tool or a poker screwdriver, mount a hole at the center of the bottle cap. I heated up the pointed tool and made a hole. This was way easier than drilling a hole using a drilling machine.
Note: Create the hole big enough to pass the cotton wick through it easily.
Step 4: Thread the twisted cotton cloth into the bottle caps. Keep about 2 to 2.5 inches of cloth at the outer side. This side will go into the pipe.
Note: Put the cotton cloth wick in 4 bottles only. Leave one bottle just with the hole alone. It will be used to add water to the pipe.
Our planters are now ready to be potted. But, before doing that, we need to fit them into our stand. So, let's do that now!
Step 6: Attach the Planters to the Stand
The outer diameter of the plastic bottle cap is slightly larger than the opening of the T joint, hence we need to shave off some of the material from the inner side of the PVC T joints.
I have used a rotary tool (Dremel) with a sanding bit for removing that extra material from the joint.
Note: Periodically check the fitment of the cap into the T joint before widening the hole further. It should be a tight fit, else there will be water leakage issues.
Once you are satisfied with the proper tight fitting of your planter into the T joints, wrap around the Teflon/Thread seal tape on the bottle caps and press fit them into the T joints.
Tip: Do not apply PVC solvent here.
This tape will help water-tight the joints and ensure that your planter comes out easily in the future if you wish to remove it from the stand for any reason.
Water Leakage Test:Pour some water into the center pot to ensure that you do not have any water leakages in your stand at this point. In case if there is any, it is the right time to fix it.
If everything is fine, then let's move onto potting the plants. Yay!!
Step 7: Pot the Plants
After fitting all your plastic planters into the stand, now it's time to pot your favorite plants.
Hold the cotton wick straight up while pouring the soil in the bottle. We will need the wick to go up right till the half length of the planter. This will ensure that water is reached till the center of the planter in order to keep the soil moist at all the time.
Pot your favorite plants in all 4 planters leaving the one right at the center. This one will be used to add water to your self watering system.
But, you can re-purpose your center pot as a planter itself! Just add a Devil's ivy (Pothos) plant and your planter with self watering stand is ready!! Congrats!!
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Thanks for reading!