I have a black thumb due to my forgetfulness on the watering of plants. By the time I remember and rush over with the wattle bottle, the plants have croaked and moved onto the next plane of existence.I was reading some furniture blogs (doesn’t everyone?) and noticed this post. It’s a great idea and something like the earthboxes my mom grows tomatoes in, but the cost?!!? $55? That seems a bit much.

I decided to make something like that using a 2 liter bottle and a rag from an old t-shirt. Much lower cost and a nice weekend project.

My original idea was to cut off the top of a 2 litter bottle and put a standard terra cotta pot inside. The 2 liter would be the water reservoir and a scrap of a cotton t-shirt could act as the wick. Then I realised, well, if you turn the top of the 2 liter upside down you have a very nice cavity to put the potting mix in and a hole in the bottom (the original neck and opening) to run the wick through. After thinking it over we were off to the races.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials


– 2 liter bottle. Clear is good, other colors will work.

– rag from a cotton t-shirt. About 8″ x 8″ or so.

– Spray paint. I’ve read a few things that say planting containers should be darker colors to block light from damaging the roots. Fair enough. So you need to paint the top of the 2 liter once it’s cut off. I used a black primer as a base coat and then a red gloss as a top coat.

– Potting Mix. Important: It’s potting mix, NOT potting soil. From what I could find online, potting mix will “wick” the water to the roots of your plant and potting soil will not.


– Utility or xacto knife

– Medium or Fine Sand Paper. I’m using a fine grit sand sponge thingie – I love these things.

– You need to be able to cut a 2 liter bottle in half and while it can be a wild and wavy cut, nice and straight and flat is a good thing. I decided to do multiple planters so I set up a production tool. It’s a 2×4 cut to 5.25″ tall. On top of that I drilled pilot holes and screwed down a utility knife blade. By spinning the 2 liter around the blade I could get an even mark and most of the cut done. It would start to bind up for the last bit and for that I used the xacto knife.

– Sharpie, used to mark the fill line so a quick glance is all it needs.

– SOS pad for scubbin’ off the last of the paper and glue from the 2 liter label.

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