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DIY Upside-Downy Tomato Planter

You’ve seen it on TV and you want one, right? Here’s how I made a DIY tomato planter (aka “topsy turvy” planter) out of PET trash and recycled objects around my house.

1–This bulk-size container is just the right size and has a nice wide-mouthed opening.

2–I used a hole-saw drill bit to make a opening in the bottom of the container. (even with the hole saw, this wasn’t easy…it was surprising thick!)

3–Next, measure equal thirds around the top opening and drill holes with a regular drill bit to attach a hanger.

4–This step is probably optional, but folks around my ‘burb wouldn’t appreciate trash hanging from my home, so I spray painted it to make it look nicer. (It might be functional too, as I don’t think direct sunlight would be good for the plant’s roots.)
UPDATE: This puzzling picture is not trick photography, just a bad crop job! The container is mounted on a stake in the ground to facilitate the painting. (Thanks, Wayne!)

5–Then, I attached an old chain hanger to the three holes in the rim; you could use wire, sturdy twine, even some old coat hangers if that’s what you have.

I don’t think we need yet another “how to” on how to get the plant in there; let’s just say that getting the plant through that hole reminded me of childbirth! Tip: wrap the foliage in a snug tube of newspaper to help work it through the bottom with a minimum of effort and damage. Or, just buy a smaller plant, which is what I wish I’d done!

The finished product: NOT seen on TV, but available for no easy payments of $0.

Your Boughs are Green in Plastic Glow

Of all the trees most lovely is this whimsical 2008 installation at the Tanglin Mall in Singapore decorated with artfully-crafted recycled plastic bottles. (I much prefer seeing them on a Christmas tree rather than a grocery shelf!)

Christmas Tree, Tanglin Mall, Singapore, 2008

Christmas Tree, Tanglin Mall, Singapore, 2008

Detail: Christmas Tree, Tanglin Mall, Singapore

Detail: Christmas Tree, Tanglin Mall, Singapore

Detail, Tree Topper

Detail, Tree Topper

Photos by chooyutshing on Flickr, thanks!

The New DIY: Dumps Inspire You

For this D.I.Y. project, don’t trek into Home Depot for your supplies, stay outside the store and look in their dumpster! (the “new” DIY = Dumps Inspire You!)

Katie Jackson (whatkatiedid.typepad.com) took photos of this excellent greenhouse constructed from recycled plastic bottles at the Eco Centre near Newcastle on Tyne in the UK.

Do you think this looks like child’s play? It is! Here’s an example built by and for the green-minded students of Bowmore Primary School, Isle of Islay, UK. (Photo by Ewan Macintosh on Flickr)

It wouldn’t surprise us if the Bowmore gang partnered with Scotland’s Sustainable Community Initiatives. They offer an interesting educational program to help schools and community groups build shelters, walls and greenhouses from recycled plastic bottles and tyres (that’s “tires,” Americans.)

Best of all, they have documented their expertise in a book you can purchase on their website. Plastics are Fantastic features full instructions, diagrams and photos on how to construct a your very own plastic bottle greenhouse or shelter wall. Or, try this 6-page pdf freebie from REAP, a North East Scotland sustainable development charity. D.I.Y.? D.I.M.!

Awesome Trash for the Wardrobe Stash

I’d like to see Jennifer Aniston and her “Smartwater” go green on the red carpet in this. That way, she could look trashy in a positive way (and smarter, too!) In this age of new austerity, what fashionista wouldn’t kill for this fabulous trash-art necklace, crafted from PET bottles and fishing line by Turkish architect Gulnur Ozdaglar. (See more of her beautiful work here or at http://gulguvenc.blogspot.com/

From an article on columbia.edu.,

With the help of an open flame, scissors, a knife and a soldering iron, she transforms soda bottles into brooches, necklaces, vases and even plastic “petal” chandeliers, which sell for $250. Her pieces were recently featured in a well-known Turkish design store, and she is now working to win the sponsorship of environmental organizations in her country.

“Recycling is not one of the bigger issues in Turkey, as we are dealing with unemployment, human rights and more, but I think it is everyone’s responsibility to live without harming the earth,” says Ozdaglar. “I, all of my friends, and all of my neighbors, did not put one single bottle to waste last year. I make something out of all of them.”

Museum-Quality Water Bottles in Bulgaria

This installation on the facade of the National Gallery of Bulgaria was short-lived but striking. For just over two weeks, from March 7-24, 2009, the display created by the Bulgarian artist Stephan Simov no doubt inspired many double-takes on Battenberg Square. (Since 1946, after the abolition of the monarchy, the National Gallery has occupied the former royal palace of Bulgaria in the capital city of Sofia.)

Thanks, Klearchos Kapoutsis on Flickr, for sharing these beautiful photos!