7 Creative Ways of Upcycling Plastic Bottles

    M.Rajiharan/Wikimedia Creative Commons

    Science has spoken: Although reusing plastic bottles for your drinking water does not cause cancer. it may lead to a buildup of bacteria and fungi (yuchh!), especially now the warm weather is finally here. So what can you do with your used plastic drinking bottles?

    Well, you could always toss them into the recycling but where would be the fun in that? Instead, try these 7 creative ways of upcycling plastic bottles. 

    1. Planter. Create self-watering planters so your succulents won't dry out when you leave on vacation. Or stack ‘em tall as lightweight, low-cost components of a trendy vertical garden; this idea works indoors (in front of a sunny window) or outside, adjacent to a fence or exterior wall. Your repurposed bottles may be placed vertically or horizontally ... whichever strikes your fancy. The options for upcycling plastic bottles as planters are virtually endless. 

    2. Shampoo dispenser. When you wash your toddler’s hair, you know that you’ve got to make the experience as fast and painless as possible, or you may both end up in tears. Here’s how upcycling plastic bottles helps. Before bathtime, pour a smidgen of shampoo into a bottle. Fill with just-the-right temperature water (a la Goldilocks) and shake well. The bubbly mix will be easy to apply evenly -- and quickly -- to your youngster’s scalp. Works equally well for pets.
      Alison Day/flickr
    3. Bird feeder. Pretty and practical, this DIY project will add pizzazz to your garden while it attracts wild birds. Be sure to hang the feeder high if you don’t want it to end up as a soup kitchen for all the local deer, as well as your feathered friends. (Some bird lovers claim that adding a baffle will deter hungry squirrels as well, but we’ve found that nothing truly deters a determined, wily, and very hungry squirrel.)

    4. Piggy bank. Try a modern tweak on a perennial favorite. Back in the day, kids crafted savings banks from used bleach bottles, but now cleaning with bleach is so last century. No more politically incorrect containers for your little darlin’s DIY piggy bank. Sub a water bottle The plastic sides are not as strong as the old school bleach bottles, but that’s OK; just pay out weekly allowances in bills, not coins! BONUS: tycoons of tomorrow will be able to actually watch their savings grow.

    5. Paint storage. If hiring a house painter is in the cards this year, use an uncolored empty plastic bottle or two to save small amounts of leftover paint. These will come in very handy if you need to touch up later – the clear plastic will make it easy to see what color paint is inside, and you’ll have a good match. TIPS: Place a few clean stones in your bottle before adding the paint; this will help prevent messy spills. Dab the bottle’s threads with petroleum jelly for a good seal.

    6. Flower vase. You can never have too many vases, and a bit of simple scissoring and weaving will transform a used plastic bottle into a surprisingly pretty flower holder. This could be a fun DIY project for those inevitable “I’m so booorrred” moments during school vacation, suitable for age 8 and up. Remember to fill the bottom inch or so with pebbles or colored marbles to keep this lightweight vase from tipping over.Designathon Works/flickr
    7. Boot drying stand. Rain and next winter’s snow can be tough on those nice new leather boots. To keep them looking great, take your boots off as soon as you get home and dry them the right way – away from heat but exposed to air, with something inside to hold their shape. Standing each one upside down atop a large plastic water bottle works surprisingly well, especially if you place some gravel in the bottom of the bottle to stabilize.

    Laura Firszt writes for networx.com. 

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