Ten Green Modular Shelving: Shelving and Tables Using Glass Bottles




Introduction: Ten Green Modular Shelving: Shelving and Tables Using Glass Bottles

About: I am a freelance design engineer and drummer. My business site is at http://www.zero-waste.co.uk and is often concerned with appropriate technologies, open source design and design for sustainability.

Ten Green is a modular shelving system, constructed simply from local recyclates.

This prototype was built with the Coach House Trust in Glasgow, using bottles from their recycling centre, and wood from the maintenance of their own sites. You can use any found timber, and adapt the dimensions to suit the wood you are working with.

Some examples are for sale at our shop here.

Design is released under a share alike/attribution CC license by Zero-waste Design.

Step 1: Get Your Bits N Bobs.

For one module you will need:

Four bottles. All the same brand/height/shape preferable. Wash them thoroughly in hot soapy water.

Two hook and eye strainers / turnbuckles as they are sometimes called. I used the smallest I could find, which are 14mm OD at the buckle and 5mm OD at the threads. Such as these from Screwfix.

Two planks of wood, prepared as shown in the .pdf template - careful! there are two different hole diameters, and if you are leaving one rough edge as I did here, make sure you take your measurements from the straight datum edge.

*REVISION* I would now NOT drill the holes in the lower shelf (the 30mm ones) all the way through, but drill them from below to half depth, using a flat bit. They will then rest on the tops of the bottles of the module below, rather than allowing the necks to pass striaght through as was the case in this prototype. (See discussion in comments)

Screw in the cup hooks halfway between the holes on either side, as shown. Depending on the height of your bottles, you may need some ess hooks too to help the strainer reach between the upper and lower hooks.

Step 2: Place the Bottles and Top Shelf

Place the bottles concentrically over the holes of the lower shelf. Then carefully lower on top the upper shelf, allowing the necks of the bottles to pass through the 46mm holes in the upper shelf. Allow the shelf to rest on the necks of the bottles. Then by hand adjust the bottoms of the bottles so that they sit flush with the lower shelf.

Step 3: Tense Up!

Attach the hook and eye strainers and ess hooks if needed, between the opposing hooks. Tighten up thoroughly.

Step 4: Assemble Into a Larger Unit

Make as many modules as you need, of whatever sizes you require. As long as the bottles are of the same height, and your holes are drilled precisely, you can stack the modules on top of each other

Step 5: Experiment!

This is an epilogue to suggest some other Ten Green-type furniture that I have worked on since: A kitchen shelving unit, which is more of a kit really, and two coffee tables which were made to commission/to suit specific bits of wood!

The tables are just the same as the shelving modules but flipped upside down, and without holes in the shelf at the base of the bottles (the table top).

More info at www.zero-waste.co.uk.

I would be up for trialling the new 'Collaborate' feature of instructables with someone on this project. Message me if you're interested.



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127 Discussions


9 months ago

What are the "Two hook and eye strainers / turnbuckles" for?

1 reply

Nevermind. I found the answer in the other comments.

The bottles I plan to use have product info painted on them, and I can't seem to get the writing off. The writing can't be scratched off using a pocket knife, and I tried nail polish remover that contains watered down acetone. I plan to try some stronger paint removers in the near future, but I would be open to Plan B's, if anyone has any ideas. Note: I do not want to damage the bottles if possible. Thanks for any ideas in advance!

2 replies

Soak the labels and scrape off as much as you can, then take off the glue with Goo Gone or my favorite - wig adhesive remover (ProTouch Adhesive Remover comes in a spray bottle). Dry the glue with a paper towel so the remover stays in place, let it dissolve the glue a bit, then scratch off. it will be sticky, so wash it off with dish detergent. Try to NOT let the goo ball go down the drain.

If it is baked on enamel, scrape it off with a knife or razor blade. then you can scrape off what you don't want to keep.

I'm guessing the paint is baked-on enamel, and a heat gun might work. Worth a try. Wear gloves & safety glasses - you are unlikely to break them, but whenever heat & glass mix, it's possible.

I make some changes, this way a have two modular pieces. Than I conect like Lego.

2 replies

Very nice! What diameter of holes did you make for the necks of the bottles? Do you think it would work with any design of bottle, or just those Brahmas?

I had been thinking of doing this project for a while and am glad someone else has done one. I was actually thinking of countersinking the bottom shelf so the bottle can sit into the board. Then drilling holes in the top shelf and putting a peg of the correct diameter into the board. That peg would then sit flush on the top of the top shelf and then would stick through the bottom of the top shelf and into mouth of the bottle. I figured this may look cleaner and be more stable.
Does that sound like a good idea?
Also I am assuming the eye hooks are to prevent sway from side to side as well?

2 replies

That sounds like a great idea to me. Yes the eyes/hooks and tensioners make the whole system rigid, stopping it wobbling side to side as well as keeping the bottles in place. They work on the principal of the bottom of the bottle biting into the wood slightly, and/or the boards bending very slightly.

so just starting to make these. Didnt drill the holes all the way. Seems to create a slight problem because when the neck of the bottle goes through the holes it kind of holds them in place. when you only drill partial holes they seem to slip a little more.

any ways around this?

When you suggest stacking them, are you assuming that the tops are only half-drilled (blind holes), so the bottle tops don't stick out into the next layer?

1 reply

Yes, that is correct! Sorry that I have not updated this, I have a better instructable in draft form, will get it up asap.

I love Green Design! Please share some of your ideas at www.loopstyle.se :)


Cool! Some lights inside the bottles would be nice looking.. *ponders ideas for own projects*..

1 reply

You would have to drill holes in the side, but would spruce it up. Good idea some times you have to think outside the box. Doodado