Building With Bottles

Bottle Jug House

We've been brainstorming design ideas for a new structure to sit alongside the Birdhouse and greenhouse next to Better Farm's main garden. The long list of possibilities has been narrowed down to two: an earthship made from reclaimed tires, or a small cottage made entirely out of glass bottles and mortar.
To build a basic wall out of glass bottles, you lay the items out like bricks and use mortar between the rows. For a structure, you'd need to frame out windows and ceilings.
Photo from

Here are some great photos we found on of particularly excellent bottle construction:

Bottle-end shower
Instead of throwing those glass bottles away, many folks have wondered how to recycle and build with these ubiquitous items.
This photo show walls being constructed on a build in New Mexico by Mike Reynolds at one of his “earthships”.
Bottle Wall
Bottle Bricks
Apparently back in the 60’s Mr. Heineken came up with the idea of makeing the beer bottles and size and shape of bricks, while concerned about the about of litter and wastage beer bottles were causing. They never came to be, however.

Building with bottles has often been a choice of folk artists, early settlers and the poor in some countries, as they used whatever resources they had to build shelter. Agility Nut has a wonderful website featuring bottle houses around the world.
Airlie Gardens Bottle House
The Airlie Gardens Bottle House was created by a local artist, Virginia Wright-Frierson in 2004. It is officially named the “Minnie Evans Sculpture Garden Bottle House” after an artist/gatekeeper that worked at Airlie for many years. This bottle house is also referred to as the “chapel”. Frierson used bottles of all shapes and sizes as well as cement and chicken wire in its creation.
Riverside Chapel by Martin Sanchez
Beer Bottle Chapel created by Martin Sanchez of Riverside California
Ann’s Bottle House B&B in Arizona
Tom Kelly’s Rhyolite Bottle House
The Bottle Houses of Prince Edward Island

Stay tuned for our own plans!
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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.