Upcycled Wine Bottle Watering




About: I am a Mad Scientist and IT gal with a passion for projects. I love figuring out puzzles, solving problems, and finding out new ways to get things done!

In this instructable, I'm going to teach you how to turn wine into water!

Or at the very least, teach you how to upcycle wine bottles into an automatic watering system for your garden.

These work on the same principle as the glass watering bulbs for gardens (such as Aquaglobes.)

These are PERFECT for container gardening, porch gardening, patio gardening, or even in-ground plants.  It is ESPECIALLY good for tomatoes in hot areas, and keeps them well hydrated even between waterings,

I only included the template for my Tomatoes version, but it wouldn't be hard to find clipart of other vegetables.

and if you enjoy this instructable, please vote for me in the Gardening contest!

What You Will Need:
Wine Bottles
Contact Paper or Vinyl (I used the kind from Dollar Tree)
Silhouette or other cutter (You can also use an x-acto knife and cut the pattern by hand if you're careful)
Armour Etch (glass etching cream, by the stained glass supplies in craft stores)
paint brush
extra newspaper 
masking tape or duct tape.

Step 1: Remove the Labels

First things first, you're going to want to remove those labels.

 The easiest way is to soak the bottles in hot soapy water for about half an hour.

 The label should then easily peel off, but if not a bit of scrubbing with steel wool or an abrasive sponge helps to get it off quickly.

Step 2: Cut Out Your Stencil From the Template

I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the design.  I kept getting an error trying to upload the silhouette template, but here is the image I used.  You can use the trace function in Silhouette Studio to easily create a new template.

If you used the silhouette, you can easily use both the positive and negative stencils created.

If you are careful cutting it out by hand, you may be able to as well.

If you don't want tomatoes, you can find many other vegetables in clip art form.  Just look for outlines, stencils, or silhouettes of the veggies, those work the best for the templates.  I used the forte font for the text.

Step 3: Carefully Apply

After making sure the bottle is clean and dry, apply your stencils so that the top of the stencil is near the bottom flat part of the bottle.

Be very careful, especially with the thin lines of the tomatoes!  

Tape off all extra area with masking or duct tape and add newspaper to cover all parts of the bottle except the part being etched.

Step 4: Apply Etching Cream

Make sure the bottles are on a stable surface.  I padded them around with more newspaper so they couldn't roll around.

Wearing gloves, apply the etching cream thickly over the areas to be etched.  

You should not be able to see the stencil through the etching cream.

Leave on for approximately 10-15 minutes for maximum effect.

Step 5: Rinse Off

Wearing gloves, carefully rinse off all of the etching cream using cold water and paper towels.  Dry bottles completely.

Admire the beautiful tomatoes.

Step 6: Water Plants

Fill the bottles up with water to the very brim of the bottle.  

After watering your plant, quickly turn the bottle upside down and shove into the dirt about 6-8 inches from the base of the plant.

As the soil dries out, it will gradually drain the water from the wine bottle. 

This is great for hot areas where the ground dries quickly between waterings, or especially for people who forget to water their tomatoes (raises hand).

Step 7: Admire Your Handiwork

Enjoy!  Aren't they beautiful?  

Not only are you recycling something into a beautiful and functional piece of art,
but you're using that to LITERALLY make the world a greener place!

and if you enjoyed this instructable, please vote for me in the Gardening contest!

For more awesome projects, visit my blog...The Procrastibaker!



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    26 Discussions


    2 years ago

    What lovely project. I'd like to look at more projects on your blog, but I'm not allowed to see it.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    I have a few of the magnum or larger wine bottles for a few of my container plants. Most of the wine bottles I got from freecycle.org the rest I relisted to someone who could use them. They work great when it gets hot here!

    I think I will look into the etching idea as well, looks great there!


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Do you know if other grass bottles will work (Coke, taco, etc). Anything with a long neck? I don't drink wine...

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea. I love water globes, but filling them is too much of a pain. This is much easier. But doesn't the water run too quickly out of the larger opening? Especially in dirt that's not hard-packed? Keeping the cork (with a hole drilled in it) would prevent that.

    2 replies

    As long as the garden has already been watered, I've never had a problem with it running out too quickly. Dry soil would probably soak it up quickly though. It may splash a bit out when flipping it and putting it in the ground, but you'd get that no matter what method you do.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Use a screw top wine bottle. Then you can easily refill it and drill a hole appropriately sized for your watering needs!

    doo da do

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Have read about these, have not dried it yet. Nice inscrutable.


    4 years ago on Step 7

    Thanks for the idea. These are far sturdier than the watering globes sold in stores, and cheap to free! I will probably try this with unadorned bottles in my bucket garden next summer and would make etched ones for the front yard. The Texas sun fries everything, including slow drip waterers made from plastic jugs.


    4 years ago on Step 7

    I have been doing this for years. My garden is full of wine bottle. I am not as picky about appearance as you. Sorry. It was a nice tutorial about etching glass. I can use that for some other projects.


    4 years ago on Step 6

    I thought it was best to water plants heavily once every few days and let it dry than to keep the soil moist continually. Glad to learn of the etching paste.


    4 years ago on Step 6

    Great idea. I am getting ready to start my indoor herb and lettuce garden and never thought of doing this. As the plants are in a secluded room I am more into function over ascetics so will just stick them in the dirt. Thanks for the idea.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    These are very pretty...so much nicer than the two-liter soda bottles I have in my pots now for the same purpose! I even have the etching creme already! Thanks for sharing!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Very pretty!

    I did this with a wine bottle on the sunward side of a potted evergreen and the sunlight fried my green into brown and dead. Please be sure to place these lenses on the side away from the sunlight for the sake of the plants.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea, I always forget to water the pots in front of my house and by July my flowers look dreadful. Maybe this will help. Plus I love reusing the wine bottle that accumulate around here.