Wine Bottle Waterer

Last night’s empty bottle of Malbec and my mother’s obsessive crafting have inspired me!  The Irish sprinkler system, first discovered when my sister lived and blogged from Ireland for a yearhas been upgraded again. This time with the help of two small items - glass marbles and wire from a hanging candle holder.

As I stood over the sink rinsing out the wine bottle, I started to channel my mother, the MacGyver of marbles.  In the first year after discovering flat-backed marbles, she Gooped them onto everything within a ten-foot radius - mirrors, frames, hot plates, napkin holders, you name it, it’s now covered in marbles.  Anyway, it dawned on me that marbles solved my earlier problem of making the plastic bottle look prettier; why couldn’t they solve this problem too?  So I started shoving them down the bottle neck one by one and voila!

It may take a few tries to get the marbles positioned properly, so make sure to place the tip of your finger into the neck before flipping the bottle upside down.  Then add or subtract marbles to get the drip right; my bottle is a little less than a quarter full.  Positioning the marbles was easy; positioning the bottle got a little tricky.  If you push the bottle into the soil, the soil clogs the neck.  If you tilt the bottle on its side, you have to jiggle it every once in a while to keep the water flowing.  Fortunately for me, I’m a bit of a craft hoarder and was able to pull the wire candle holder straight out of my cabinet.  For those of you non-hoarders, a wire hanger would probably work.  I’ll try it over the weekend and let you know.  Whatever you choose, the point is to keep the bottle slightly elevated above the soil.  I wedged the wire into the side of the pot to provide some stability. 

Here’s the final product, and it works great!  The Plumbago is now as perky as I am after a bottle of wine!

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71 Comments.

  1. I love it!

    Start drinking, Mom — you’ve still got a lot of marbles.

  2. She does…and that’s after she gave half her supply to me!

  3. Just wondering how long it takes before the water in the wine bottle needs replacing?

  4. What a great tip! I tried it in one of my hanging baskets and it worked great. I didn’t have a tea light holder though. What I did was cut a piece of cloth, covered the mouth of the bottle and used a rubber band to hold it in place. This way the soil won’t clog the hole. The cloth also acts as a wick so the water passes through very, very slowly but continuously.

  5. That is a awesome idea. I live right in wine country….. :lol: :lol:

  6. I wonder how just putting the cork back in since it has a tiny hole from the wine opener would work.

  7. so would this work for say over a 3 day weekend. We always have to have neighbors come in and water for us when we go camping. Any body know.

    • Make sure you have a really slow drip and it should work.

    • When I leave for a week, I put my pots into a children’s swimming pool (some go in tubs) and the self-watering containers are filled w soil left damp and I shove in a wine bottle of water as well for good measure [if the soil is damp the water will continue to wick out when it dries. When I return my pots are still damp (more so than if I’d been home BUT they don’t dry out and are all alive after 7 days) … no need for neighbours

  8. Do you remove the bottle each time you have to fill it?

    • Yes…unless you can find a better way. Someone else commented with the upgrade of fabric over the opening, which I love and am going to start using.

  9. Do you put the wine bottle in the soil if you put cloth over it? Also what kinda cloth?

    • No, don’t let the wine bottle touch the soil or the water won’t flow properly. When I covered mine, I went for a cutesy patterned cotton, but any porous fabric would work. Good luck!

  10. Love this idea and all the updates. Cheese cloth would work and there are glass places that could cut off the bottom of the bottle so you wouldn’t have to remove it, but then the water would probably evaporate faster. I am definitely going to try it. thanks

  11. not to mention that if you make a “lid” out of a bottle that’s slightly bigger, you could just take that off, fill, and quickly cover again. This is awesome, thanks for all of the tips!

  12. I LOVE this idea! I have been saving wine bottles for an outdoor lantern project I wanted to try so I have plenty to attempt this project. (even if I didn’t, getting a few would only take me a few days

  13. how does it work with a coat hanger to hold the bottle up?

    • Don’t use the thin white hangers, but the stronger versions will hold the bottle when wrapped up properly. The hanger also acts as a stake to dig into the dirt. Good luck!

  14. This is a really great idea…Cutting the bottom of the glass is supper easy. I do it all the time when I make hand etched wine bottle luminaries. There are many great videos on Youtube on how to cut glass. Using the candle and ice method works waaay better then putting the bottle under cold water. You will get a cleaner cut and no wasted bottles.
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/90103515/glass-bottle-luminary-hand-etched-free

  15. I’m confused as to why you can’t just put the bottle straight in the ground? I thought as long as the earth was completely soaked it would self water for a couple of days. Isn’t that the premise of the globe waterers (Yeah, I know that’s not a word).

    • Clogging – the globe waterers must have some sort of tube inside or the hole is smaller…not quite sure how they work. But thanks for the thought because I’ll definitely be inspecting the next one I see.

      • I have a ton of the globe waterers and they don’t have a tube or any such thing. Sticking them straight in the ground will sometimes result in a dirt clog, sometimes not; but it’s never stopped the water from emptying. I only discover it when I go to refill them, in which case I use a chopstick or a skewer to loosen the dirt, refill, and stick it right back in. ;)
        I’ve also pried off the squeezy part of an old turkey baster and found a bottle that fits the thick end of it; I fill the bottle, upend it into the turkey baster (which is permanently in the dirt), and that works as well. So well, in fact, I’ve been tempted to raid a dollar store for turkey basters just to take them apart… ;)

      • Sadly the globe waterers that I bought don’t have any such mechanism, so they plug up something awful! I’m going to try the fabric idea and see if it helps.

  16. This is brilliant, I always come home from holiday to very unhappy plants. I shall give this a try! The wine bottles are no problem, not so sure about sourcing marbles though.

  17. I love turning used items into creatively useful things like this, and the marbles are a great idea! Thanks for the article. I definitely have empty wine bottles around lol! It looks great in your photos, even with the wine label left on, although I guess some labels might not look as good as others. I’ll have to see what I have around…

    • Check out the comments for this post. Someone posted another great idea for an empty wine bottle. You can cut the top off without needing a glass cutter and then use the bottom for a vase…another case where certain labels will look better than others but really cool. Looking forward to trying that one myself. :)

  18. Where did you find the wire handing candle holder?

  19. Love it…What a great idea…I need to start drinking now…

  20. I make bottle lights by drilling a hole in bottom of bottle to insert lights…bet you could use a funnel and refill bottles without removing them….will try and let you know…..

    • Please do come back and post the update. And I love the idea of the lights inside the bottles…do they hang? To run with the concept, here’s a holiday take…take a glass shower block, fill it with white lights, wrap it in a bow, and it’s the perfect centerpiece on a buffet table…buffet table because you need an outlet close by.

  21. Or use battery operated lights instead of the ones you plug in for centerpieces.

  22. This is so great , I love my wine and now I have a great way to use my wine bottles. Thank you

  23. Great ideas! I am going to try this tomorrow. Thanks!

  24. Drill a small hole into the bottom of the bottle and place a cork in it. You can trim the cork with an exato-knife to get the proper thickness. Just be careful while drilling the glass. It takes time to do it so you don’t shatter the bottle. You can also drill into the side of the bottle close to the bottom. The glass is thinner there making it easier, but make sure your cork fits snugly and don’t pound it in. You can also use foil to plug the hole in the bottle if you don’t want to use the cork.

  25. Brilliant! My neglected plants will be ever grateful to you.

  26. I love this idea! To solve the dirt in the bottle problem, I drilled a hole through the length of the wine cork using a wide bit (this takes a little practice – make sure you hold the cork on a firm surface as you drill down into it. In addition,if you use too big of a drill bit the cork will not stay in the bottle. I used a 5/16ths bit). I then cut a four inch circle of cheese cloth and put it over the cork before inserting the cork back into the bottle. They work great! Thanks for the idea

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