Make these 6 Garden Artifacts with Recycled Materials

Reciclaje en el huerto

Translated by Nick R

Having a home garden is an extremely rewarding experience as you have the opportunity to grow your own food and consume it. But, besides that, what better than being able to promote recycling and thus have a more environmentally friendly garden?

Therefore, today we’ll talk about the importance of recycling and its benefits. In addition, we’ll let you know 6 items that are of great value in the garden and that you can make using only recycled materials. Let’s go!

Benefits of recycling in your garden 

To begin with, we want to talk about the importance of recycling and how you’ll benefit from it in your home garden.

Reduce pollution

We must remember that when we don’t separate waste properly, these materials reach landfills where the decomposition process is very slow or even null.

Therefore, by properly classifying garbage and saving recyclable products we can gradually reduce the size of landfills. In this way, we reduce the pollution pressure on the environment and avoid potential health problems in the population.

In addition, if you won’t store recyclable products, it’s still important to dispose of them in the correct way. In doing so, you are ensuring that they are reprocessed and reused as new products, and thus they don’t end up in landfills or go through a polluting incineration process.

Preserve natural resources

Human beings exploit natural resources such as water, coal, oil, wood and various minerals to manufacture products that allow us to enjoy a more pleasant life. However, these resources are not infinite and as a society, we must help to avoid wasting them.

So, recycling allows using many items over and over again instead of just throwing them away after a single-use. In addition, it’s clearly much better to recycle already available products than to continue damaging the Earth in search of new raw materials.

Save money

By taking advantage of the available resources in your home and giving them a second use, you will avoid spending good money.

This, since you don’t invest in new products because you are creating or adapting them with your own hands, and best of all in a very simple way. So, helping the environment also brings you economic gains.

This is what you can create with recycled materials in your garden. 

Now we’ll show you 6 great garden tools that you can build from recycled materials.


Clearly, for your garden, you need to deploy a lot of pots, especially as you add new plants or as you need to transplant them.

There’s no doubt that they can be expensive, even more than the seedlings themselves from the nursery. That said, we’ll tell you what materials can be recycled and how to use them for containers where you’ll grow your plants.

Plastic pots 

To give you an idea, you’ll find useful those plastic containers where you buy products such as:

  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener, or bleach.
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and hair treatments.
  • Cooking oil or butter container
  • Ice cream or yogurt jars
  • Soda or juice bottles

As for tools, you’ll need a scalpel or knife and scissors. You can also implement pointed objects such as an awl or a screwdriver and a hammer or a rock. We’ll tell you later what they’ll be helpful for.

To begin with, you must remove the labels from the packaging that are also made of plastic and can be easily removed. In those bottles with printed designs, you can apply acetone with a cotton swab. This way they’ll be clean.

Now, you’ll take one of the containers you collected and make a horizontal cut with the scalpel or knife. Depending on the size of the pot, you can cut it in half and use both sides or leave a small side to plant a seedling.

You can then use the scissors to smooth out the cut. Keep in mind that butter, yogurt and ice cream containers don’t need modification because they already have a pot-like appearance due to their size and shape.

It’s necessary to drill drainage holes, especially if you’re going to have plants that don’t like stagnant water or excess moisture. To do this, place the container upside down and using the tip of the scissors, make the holes.

Alternatively, you can take a sharp tool with one hand and use a hammer or a stone to hit it with the other hand as if you were nailing a lace. Make at least 4 holes per pot.

Finally, if you wish, you can decorate the pot. Paint it with tempera paints or wrap it with cardboard or decorative paper. There are even stickers that you can put on it to give it any design.

Aluminum, metal or steel pots 

You can use cans of packaged products such as condensed milk, corn, and peaches in syrup, among others. Similarly, paint cans are also helpful.

The beauty of these containers is that you won’t need to cut them, they already have a suitable shape and size of a flowerpot. In addition, because of the material, it requires much more labor.

What you can still incorporate are the drainage holes. As it is a more resistant material, you should use sharp tools to drill holes using a hammer or a stone to make each hole.

Another option is to use a knife or an old scalpel and heat the tip with a candle. Then, you’ll only have to do some pressure on the bottom of the jar. The tool, as it is very hot, will facilitate the opening of the holes.

Finally, you can decorate your pot the way you like. Feel free to create any design with the help of tempera, spray paint, sheets of paper or cardboard, stickers, decorative stones, and yarn, among others.

Glass pots 

The use of glass containers has become very trendy over the last few years to make indoor water gardens or home terrariums. Therefore, you can use vases or jars that you no longer employ; product containers such as jam or pickles, glass bottles of soda or juice, or even perfumes.

Obviously, it is not possible to cut the container or make drainage holes in this case, so you could say that this is the simplest method. This is precisely why they are used for water gardens where plants are placed directly in the water or in terrariums, where watering is little and less frequent.

Hanging pots 

You can employ plastic or metal pots; however, there are no drainage holes in those pots. In addition, it’s necessary to provide them with some support that allows them to be easily hung.

To do so, you can use yarn, wool, and string, among others. You just need to take into account the pot’s weight once the plant has been planted. You may also need some strong glue, such as hot silicone.

To proceed, make 2 holes on the top right and 2 on the left side of the pot. Then, cut the ribbon into 4 equal pieces; the length will depend on where you put the pot.

Insert each piece of the ribbon into each hole and tie a knot. Finally, fasten all the excess ends together and ensure that the pot is stable. If so, tie all the loops in a single knot.

On the other hand, you can glue the ends of the ribbon with silicone, but be sure to apply enough of it so it doesn’t get unstuck.


That’s right, it’s also possible to make hand shovels with recycled materials. In this case, you’ll need plastic bottles that come with an “ear” so as to hold the container more comfortably. These are usually found in laundry products.

You’ll also use a pair of scissors or a scalpel and a permanent marker to draw the shovel guide to know exactly where to cut. In fact, we’ll make two types of shovels, either a small one or a large one.

Taken from Candy Bu’s YouTube channel:

For the small shovel, place the container sideways with the ear up and draw a square at the beginning of the bottle handle, just below the lid. Then, draw a triangle from inside the ear, making sure that the tip ends at the base (as shown in the picture).

Finally, you just need to cut it out with scissors or a scalpel, whichever is more comfortable for you.

For the larger or deeper shovel, again, place the bottle with the ear facing up. Draw a triangle going from the end of the handle to the base of the container in each edge.

To finish, cut out what you traced with the marker, and then you’ll have a different shovel style that will allow you to take more soil or even water if that is how you want to use it.

Watering cans 

They are quite easy to make, and you may use any plastic bottle with a lid.

All you have to do is take the lid and make small holes in it using a thumbtack or an awl. You can also use lace and hit it with the help of a hammer or a stone. Ideally, the holes should be very small, but you can make 5 or more holes.

Now, you just need to fill the bottle with water and put the lid on. When pressing the bottle the water will come out just like a watering can.

You can even irrigate by diffusion by making several holes all over the bottle and connecting a strong-pressure hose.

On the other hand, there is the drip irrigation system. To do this, you must first cut the base of the container horizontally with scissors or a scalpel. Then, tie the bottle with the cap down to a stick or a thick stick with a ribbon, or if you prefer, you can glue it with silicone. Make sure it is firmly attached.

Place this system where you need it and fill the bottle with water. Finally, open the lid just a little so one or two drops come out.


If you have ever wondered how to give egg cartons a second use, we’ll tell you how you can use them to make your seedbeds. Other tools you’ll need are containers, like the ones we recommended for plastic pots, scissors or scalpel.

What you have to do is cut the containers to form the pots. Another option is to take the gallon containers and cut them in half vertically, this way you’ll have more space for your seeds.

Taken from YouTube channel Cosas del Jardín:

Now, according to the size of the container where you’ll place the seedbed, place the egg cartons. Therefore, according to the space, trim the edges of the carton to fit inside the container.

Once you have the exact measurements, make holes in the pot and fill it with the substrate. Then, make drainage holes in each section of the egg carton as well, and place it into the container by applying some pressure. Add more soil on top, place the seeds in each section and cover them with a little more substrate.

Finally, give your seedbed a good splash of water and place it in a space with direct or indirect sunlight.

Before using the egg cartons, leave them in direct sunlight for 5 days to kill any possible bacteria present.

On the other hand, if you’re using very small containers such as yogurt containers, plastic cups, or 250, 400 or 600 ml bottles, there’s no need of using cardboard. There you can start your seedbed directly while also using recycled elements.

When you need to transplant the sprouts you’ll only need to gently run a knife around each seedling, making a square or following the shape of each section of the cardboard. With the help of a shovel or fork, you can easily remove each sprout.


When using seedlings, it’s fundamental that they always receive plenty of direct sunlight, preferably. The problem is that sometimes the temperatures are too cold, or there is a lot of wind that can disrupt the seed germination.

Likewise, when we have small plants that have just been transplanted or are just growing, it’s also necessary to protect them from the weather as well as from garden pests. In both cases, using homemade greenhouses will help. They are easy to build, and you’ll only need large plastic bottles; you can use 1.5 liters or larger based on the size of your saplings or seedlings.

For the seedlings, make a horizontal cut in the upper part of the bottle just where the broad part begins, but without removing the end. That is, leave about 3 centimeters free so that the greenhouse is not fully open. Also, make a few small holes at the bottom for aeration.

Taken from the YouTube channel La Huertina De Toni:

Then, with the bottle lying down, insert the seedbed. It’s good to keep it this way during the night or on cloudy or rainy days because if it’s too hot, the excess humidity will be lethal.

As for seedlings, cut the bottle a few centimeters above the base removing the excess end. Then, place the greenhouse on top of the sprout you want to protect, making zigzag movements so that it is firmly in the ground and will not fall.

Remove the bottle lid to allow air circulation and, if necessary, make a few small holes on the sides.

Therefore, greenhouses are ideal for those warm-weather crops that can’t tolerate low temperatures or frosts. Also, as plants grow, they become more prone to pest problems, and by using this you reduce the likelihood of contracting pests.

Decorative elements 

Finally, we’ll show you 3 decorative items that you can make for your garden or vegetable garden, of course using materials that you already have at home.

Lanterns or candlesticks 

You’ll need 1.5-liter plastic bottles and up: cut them horizontally in half so both parts can be used to make 2 types of lanterns.

First, in the upper part of the bottle, all you need is to use scissors to make a design on the cut edge. For example, you can make waves or small triangles to make it look better. You can also paint it or use whatever materials you prefer to decorate it.

Then, remove the lid and introduce a stick through the hole. The nice thing is that by doing this you’ll have stand-up lanterns. If necessary, put silicone inside the bottle to secure the stick.

Finally, use artificial or real candles. If you want to make them taller, add sand or soil at the bottom.

Alternatively, in the bottle base, you can design a pattern along the rim and decorate it as you like. These lanterns can be placed on shelves or furniture next to your flower pots or directly on the floor.

Another way is to use cans or steel jars. For it, you must make the design that you would like with the help of a marker. For example, you can make circles of different sizes around the container.

Then, you have to make holes with the help of a thumbtack, awl or lace and a hammer. If you made any figures, drill holes and little space between them so that the drawing can be seen.

Finally, place a real or artificial candle.

Flowerpots with old boots 

Macetas reutilizando botas viejas

If you have some damaged old boots or just don’t have a pair anymore, don’t throw them away! They can be a great decorative element.

To do this, take a boot and open a hole in the top on the backside, so you can hang it on a lace. Since this is a decorative piece, we recommend using artificial plants, so you don’t have to worry about caring for them.

If it’s a black boot or has no design, but you want to let your artistic talent fly, decorate with tempera, glitter, stickers and other materials you have at home.

Damaged light bulbs 

It’s common to throw away light bulbs that no longer serve generally for not knowing how they can be reused. However, they make an excellent alternative for decoration.

For that, take a light bulb and decorate it as you like: the more, the better. One option is to paint each one in a different color.

Recycled bulbs or light bulbs

You can also uncover the bulb to use it as if it were a flower pot. Therefore, grab the bulb with a towel and, with a knife or scalpel, cut the first line above the base. It can be a bit of a time-consuming process, but not impossible.

When you have uncovered it, use the knife to remove what is inside. Afterward, you can fill it with water and place some artificial plants.

Finally, hang the bulbs with the help of a string or similar material. You can wrap the cord around the bulb base and leave a part of it to stick the tip on the other end. Use silicone to hold it firmly.

Final recommendations 

Before using any of the recycled containers that we recommended above, always wash them and let them dry very well so that no residue of the product inside remains.

In conclusion, we hope you liked this blog and, especially, that you apply anything you learned in your home garden. Also, don’t hesitate to share it with your family or friends so that they can learn how to incorporate recycling and thus create helpful elements for plants or as decoration.