Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Upcycled Plastic Water Bottle Planters {+ a Cool Spray Painting Technique!}

Every month, my wonderful Etsy Fort Worth street team hosts an Upcycling Craft Challenge Contest.

For September, the secret "Iron Craft" ingredient was plastic bottles, and I just happen to keep and reuse a lot of water bottles already. (Oh, what's that you're surprised?!? Surely not :)

My favorites to use are Vitamin Water bottles, because I like the way they add their flavor to the water when you fill them up! I also happened to notice that they have a pretty cool embossed pattern on them, under the label. Have you ever noticed? Take a look ⤵

Pretty neat, huh? And the larger bottles have a slightly different pattern, which is also kinda cool. I have my eye on those for my next planter pots.

This project is a reaaaaaaally simple one, made a little more complicated only by my special spray paint technique (which really isn't difficult but just adds a bit more time). This technique is one I have been wanting to try for a while now, and I'm excited to share it with you!


• plastic water bottle(s)
• sharp serrated knife
• sharp scissors
• spray paint (2 or 3 colors)
• spray bottle filled with water
• paper towels


Start by peeling the label off your water bottle and cleaning off any gummy residue from the adhesive. Goo-Gone works great!
Next, determine where you'd like to cut your bottle, and use the serrated knife in a sawing motion to cut off the top of the bottle. *PLEASE for the love of all that is Holy don't use a regular straight edged knife - I tried this the first time and could have really hurt myself; it was too slippery and very dangerous. The serrated edge works so much better and is a million times safer. Seriously.

I cut one of them as shown in the photo below, and the second one the next ridge over to the left to make it a little bit shorter.

If the cut edge of the bottle needs straightening up, use the scissors to trim along the end and even out the cut.

Now, make sure the outside of the bottle is completely dry (it's ok if there's still a little bit of water on the inside) and get ready to spray paint the plastic. Have your paper towels and spray bottle handy.

Set up in a well-ventilated area (outside is perfect) and use newspaper or a large piece of cardboard to protect the ground from overspray. Shake up the spray paint according to the instructions on the can, and spray one coat on the outside of the plastic bottle and let dry completely.

I used a spray paint that specifically says it "bonds to plastic" (Rust-Oleum Painters' Touch Ultra Cover 2X).

Spray painting tip: Always keep the can in motion while spraying. Move in quick spurts from left to right, for example. This helps the paint go on evenly and you will avoid drips and air bubbles.

When the first coat is dry, spritz some water all over the outside. The water droplets will resist the next coat of spray paint and will leave behind spots of your first color.

Control the size of the water droplets by adjusting your spray nozzle or by changing the distance as you spray.

With your second color, spray paint the plastic just as before, but keep in mind that you don't have to necessarily have an even coat this time. You will create interesting effects in layers by not having them be uniform. This is play time!!

Allow the second coat of paint to dry for about 30-45 seconds and use the paper towel to dab off the water droplets. If the paint is still tacky, let it dry a little bit longer, and next time be sure you're spraying paint from the correct distance (the paint should dry very quickly if you spray it correctly).

Keep repeating this process with alternating paint colors until you get an effect you like! I went back and forth several times with mine between bronze and robin's egg blue because I wanted to achieve a verdigris bronze look.

In the end, you can't even really see the white, but that's ok because I like how it turned out! I did two the same except I finished one with a coat of blue and the other with a coat of bronze.

They look great next to each other!

Oh, and by the way, this "water resist" spray paint technique works on any non-porous surface, so you can use it on glass too.

I used mine as flower pots for my succulents, but you can certainly use them for something else, like holding pens & pencils!

If you use them for plants, you may want to poke some holes in the bottom for drainage. Keep in mind you can always cut the very bottom of another water bottle off and use it as a drip stand!

I hope you liked this post and will have fun playing with plastic bottles and your new spray paint technique!
Check out more of my upcycled craft tutorials here!

I linked up at: 



  1. Ok!!! I really love this idea, and yours look so good with these plants that I am going to try some for my succulents in these colours. Thank you

    1. Thans Sheleen! Hope it worked out for you. I LOVE succulents and they look great with metallics :)

  2. This is really clever! I would have never thought to do this - but I like it a lot! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Kim @ {enjoy the view}

    1. Thanks Kim! So glad you liked it :) I appreciate you stopping by!

      ~ Jessica

  3. What a great finishing technique. Love it!

  4. Wow! Who would have known that these planters started off as pastic bottles?! I'm sure Mother Earth is thanking you for turning "trash" into a real treasure with this project! Brava.

    Thanks for linking up at The CSI Project this week. Greet to "meet-cha!"

    The Thinking Closet

  5. This is such a neat idea! :) Thank you for the share!
    plastic planters


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