For our weekend activity, my daughter and I built miniature plastic bottle greenhouses. This was a great do-it-yourself project that was inexpensive and gave us a fun activity to do together. I spent less than $8 dollars on supplies for this project and was able to recycle some empty bottles that I collected from work and home.
Collecting The Supplies
My six-year-old daughter loves flowers, so a project that lets her grow her own was a perfect plan. We started by saving empty plastic bottles from around our home and I grabbed a couple of empty water bottles from work. Clear bottles are the best as they let natural light in unfiltered. Cost: $0
A trip to Home Depot landed us our last two items needed for this project, potting soil and seeds. I’m not a green-thumb, so after some quick research online I settled on purchasing a bag of all-purpose potting soil. I bought the smallest bag I could find, which turned out to be a 1 cubic foot of soil. We were planning on only making 4-5 greenhouses and this was more than enough. Cost: $3.97
The second item from Home Depot were the flower seeds. Now for this I am a bit lucky, I live in Florida, so even though its Winter time, just about anything will grow here as it’s about 70 degrees minimum on a cold day. My daughter looked through all the packages of flowers picking the flowers she thought were the prettiest. Cost: $1.25×2
This was one of the easiest DIY projects that I have done, this is proven by the fact that when we finished it actually worked as expected, which is not always the case with me and do-it-yourself attempts. I have outlined the 5 steps we took below to make these miniature greenhouses.
Step 1: Remove the labels
For best results use clear bottles and remove the labels. We did this by snipping the labels with scissors and then carefully peeling it off. A small amount of the label on some bottles remained where they are glued on, but it was not enough to notice or effect our project.
Step 2: Cut the bottles
Using a pair of scissors cut the bottles in half. Depending on the size of the bottle you may want to give a little more room and cut just above the 1/2 mark. I found that 1 liter soda bottles and Gatorade bottles worked very well when being cut in half.
Step 3: Cut slits for easy assembly
Now that you have the bottle cut in two pieces, on the top partof the bottle cut 1-1.5 inch slits on opposites sides of the bottle. This gives the lids some flexibility when it comes time to replace them on their lower counter part. I have circled the area to cut in the photo slideshow below.
Step 4: Add potting soil and seeds
In the lower half of the bottle, fill it approximately 3/4 full with your potting soil. With your finger, make a hole in the center of the potting soil you just put into the bottle. We made our planting hole about halfway down into the soil. Insert the seeds that you are planting and cover them.
Step 5: Replace the top
With the slits you cut in the top portion of the bottle in step 3, sliding the bottle top over the bottom should be easier. It took us a couple of tries but they finally came into place.
Empty Bottle: Clear bottles work the best as they let sunlight in and you can see the progress of your plants
Step 1: Remove the labels from the bottle.
Step 2: Cut the bottles to the appropriate size.
Step 3: Cut slits into the top to make it easy to assemble.
Step 4: Add the potting soil as needed.
Step 5: Replace the top on the bottle and watch your plant grow.
Results: About a week later we started to see little green sprouts.
We left the caps on the bottles, this helps with building condensation inside of the greenhouse and removes the need for watering. Setting the bottles in a window seal that gets a moderate amount of sunlight was the best option for the seeds that we planted and it only took about a week before we started to see little sprouts of green coming up. It was faster than I had expected, but was glad to see that this project worked.