Saturday, December 25, 2010

Recycled Christmas: plastic bottle flowers

This post was originally featured as part of Julie Balzer's Handmade Holidays series. See it here


Earlier in the year I saw a photo on Elizabeth Kartchner’s blog of some decorations they had at Spark. I wanted to try and work out how they had done some plastic flowers I saw which they had hanging in the entryways. I made my version into table decorations instead.

Firstly hunt through your recycling pile and pull out a bunch of plastic bottles of different sizes and shapes. Make sure they're nice and clean of course!

Wash them, pull the labels off, and cut them in half (or at least, cut about 3 or 4 inches off the top) keeping the top end. Don't worry about the coloured plastic rings - it's not worth the hassle trying to cut them off..... believe me! And we're only going to paint over the top of them anyway.

Next cut slits in them and round the bottom edges to create different kinds of petal shapes.
You really don't need to get pedantic and start measuring things or using a template or anything like that. I think the beauty is in the randomness.

This is the really fun part!!
Pull out your trusty heat gun and turn that thing in the direction of your plastic bottles. Watch how quickly each of the petals melts and warps and curls.

WARNING: you do need to be very careful with this step because melted plastic can get VERY hot and can drip and burn things such as your hands. So please do this with extra caution - go very slow because it doesn't take much to melt the plastic, and you might want to think about wearing gloves. 

Play around with different size bottles, different petal designs and different ways of melting the plastic (for example the petals will melt in different directions if you point the heat gun from above or below). And when they've cooled use some acrylic spray paint to give them a quick and even coat of colour.

And here's the finished product. I used my hot glue gun to glue a stick from the garden onto the bottom as a stem, and a scrap of tinsel in the middle to hide the fact that I hot-glued a stick from the garden onto the bottom as a stem!! To continue our recycled theme I've even used an empty bottle as a vase, covered in newspaper sprayed with gold paint. Not quite sure this is the ultimate plan of presentation on the Christmas table, but it's good enough for now! Promise to show you photos of the day hey?!

Hope everyone is having a very Merry Christmas today wherever you may be, and however you celebrate!


  1. These are ADORABLE! I just have to try this. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Have a Merry Christmas!

    Hugs, Mindy

  2. These are really cool and i am definately going to give them a go!! :)

  3. I would think in addition you may want to not be breathing in the fumes from the melting plastic? So a well ventilated area or a mask might be a good idea? I do adore the added touch of the tinsel in the middle!


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