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Bottle Wall

A bottle wall is not only an excellent use of old glass bottles, it is also very pleasing to the eye.

There are people that have made almost entire houses out of old, glass bottles and the effect is spectacular. We saw one of these houses and decided to do a test.

Where the first room we built meets the second set of rooms, there was a small, irregular space. So we decided to fill it with bottles.

It is not hard to do, but it is time consuming, as you can only go up so far before the mortar begins to ooge. Perhaps on a larger wall, you would be able to to one whole level and then return to the beginning to find the mortar dry enough to continue. This is not the case with a small wall.

Materials & Tools
Materials

Bottles, of whatever size and color that you want

Mortar mix

Rebar or other roof anchors

Tools

Mixing tools

Trowel

Plumb bob

Level

 

Step 1: Design

The key to making the wall truly beautiful is a design. Put on paper how you want the bottles to go – facing in or out, what colors, are they in a spiral or straight, etc.

Make the plan simple, especially for your first try and then see if you can replicate it in reality. We would suggest that you start off with a small test wall, just for practise, before beginning a big project.

 

Step 2: Concrete

You can use either concrete or adobe for the mortar. You can buy pre-mixed mortar, or you can mix your own using sand, cement and lime. You want to mix your mortar as dry as you can, as dry concrete is not only stronger, but it will sag less.

  1. Lay some mortar down, then put one row of bottles in their places (according to your plan).
  2. Add mortar in between them (you do not want any bottles touching).
  3. With a sponge, trowel and/or paintbrush, smooth out the mortar.
  4. Then continue with the next layer.
  5. If your mortar ends up a little rough looking, you can paint it all with a lime/cement/acrylic mix before putting your final paint on.
  6. Try and keep the bottles clean of mortar as you go. They will continually get mortar dropped on them, but if you leave the cleaning until a lot later, it will be much harder.
  7. Make sure that each level goes up plumb. You do not want it leaning one way or another, as this will cause a major problem as you reach the top.

 

Step 3: Bond beam

As you get near to the top, be sure to include some form of tie-down for your roof to connect to. A good way is to put some L shaped rebars down into the wall a few layers, with their tops sticking up and the horizontal part of the L under some bottles. Make sure these anchors are in concrete and not touching the glass.

 

We enjoyed doing our little wall, slow-going as it was, and we hope to do more, when our time is more leisurely.

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