The Etsy Blog

How-Tuesday: Make a Recycled Vase

Have April showers driven you inside to your craft nook? Follow the lead of artist and creative reuse whiz Lee Christopher Hughes and pluck a plastic bottle from the recycling bin, transforming it into a vase to hold May flowers. 

Hughes is an artist and dad based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, who has found a way to transform plastic castoffs and hardware store treasures into elegant art objects and home decor. Today’s How-Tuesday features a video by Amanda Danziger from Ferasha Films.

I’ve been creating artwork for the past few years. I like to take recyclable items, particularly plastic bottles, and use them as the basis for creating decorative vases. I know, that probably sounds nuts, but you would be surprised how sturdy these items are! I think they are pretty unique — I actually had a hard time finding a category where they fit.



Supplies you’ll need:

  • Plastic bottle
  • Pen/thin magic marker
  • Utility knife or small hacksaw blade (for cutting styrofoam and for cutting off top of bottle)
  • Scissors
  • Styrofoam (preferably at least 1” thick)
  • Sandpaper
  • Scrap paper
  • Glue
  • Ruler
  • Heavy poster board (one side shiny)
  • Hot glue gun
 and hot glue
  • Joint compound
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush(es)
  • Felt (for the base)


1. Select a plastic bottle. A 2-liter bottle, 1-liter bottle, or any cylindrical plastic bottle will do.

2. Cut the bottom portion of the bottle off using a utility knife. You can use the bottom edge of the bottle’s label as a cutting guide.

3. Place bottle on a chunk of Styrofoam and trace the bottom circle. Cut the Styrofoam a little bit bigger than it will need to be to fit into the bottom of the bottle. Use sandpaper to smooth the Styrofoam down so it’ll fit nice and snug into the bottom of the bottle.

4. Cut a piece of paper with four lines across the bottom to give you a guide, then attach to the bottom of your bottle.

5. Take a piece of paper and fold it in half — any kind of scrap paper you have lying around will do. Use this centerfold as a guide to create a petal shape, with a straight tab at one end. Trace your shape onto a stiffer paper (cardstock, posterboard, cardboard, etc.) to create your template. Use the template to trace the shape onto scrap paper, then cut it out. You’ll need at least 8-10 petals, depending on the size of your bottle.

6. Hot glue four petals evenly around your bottle, adhering at the top and bottom of your bottle. Then glue the remaining petals to cover the gaps around the bottle.

7. Now it’s time to use the joint compound. Smooth the joint compound all over your project, paying special attention to the places where the paper petals overlap. Let it dry, sand it off, and vacuum off any dust.

8. Paint it any color you’d like. Let it dry, cover the base with a small piece of felt, and you’re done!

Thank you to Lee Christopher Hughes and filmmaker Amanda Danziger for sharing this project with us. For more more inspiration, check out CLCollection and Ferasha Films.

Recycling Projects | More How-Tuesday Posts