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  • Writer's pictureMatty

Upcycling in a few paragraphs

Up-cycling in a few paragraphs.

Up-cycling or repurposed projects are attractive and modern these days. Here are a few tips and tricks we learned along the way.

The longer I am looking into up-cycling, the more I see the art side of the projects. It is definitely easier to buy a finished product and apply it to your need, but the result will never be the same as if you pour your energy, efforts and ideas into the application of an up-cycling project.

There are hundreds of up-cycling projects to be done, and we will share some of them with you in the future but for the time being, the glass bottle is.

Due to its waste use globally as well as the need of such product on our project we decided to go with this simple example here.

This article will demonstrate glass bottle brick from start to finish and what it involves.

It's a good plan before you act or at least have an idea of what your final product should look like and its application.

In our case, we are looking for a simple way to upcycle glass bottles to create artistic wall designs as well as create additional building material.

For our application will need thousands of glass bottles just to start with the construction on the main building so having a one size bottle is a benefit and actually a goal for us.

To sum up, we are looking to produce wast numbers of glass bottles that have the same size allowing us to use them as a standardised product.

Here is how it's done from A to Z.

Bottle collection

Have a party or celebration where you buy drinks mostly in glass bottles so you can use them afterwards. Or drink one by one and collect from all the relatives and friends that understand your project. Most of the people will give you a funny look if you ask them to collect bottles for you to make bricks from them but once you show people that the final product is they usually get on board and you don’t have to end up collecting bottles on your own and become an alcoholic in the process.

Bottle cutting:

Here is where you should decide your brick size. In our case, the reasonable way to go about it was to cut each bottle to 10cm half bottle that when joined with the second 10cm half bottle would create 20cm glass bottle brick. Easy to work with the size and reasonably standard wall thickness. (keep in mind the bottle brick is not an excellent insulation element so in our case, we are looking for indoor use mainly justifying 20cm brick as a perfect size)

For cutting a wet diamond cutting blade is sufficient for higher volumes of bricks.

Wash, dry, join

When you cut the bottles glass chips, as well as old sediments, are left in the bottom half brick you just separated from its top. This needs to be washed and dried before you join two half bricks together. The result you are looking for is a clean and dry half that has no dust or dirt inside because once you tape them together, you will hardly go back and clean the inside. Take your time with this I found out that clean water and bottle brushes go a long way to achieve the result you looking for.


I would recommend doing a few test runs of materials you want to work with before you start a big project. On a small scale, you can test the materials, how convenient it is to work with them and maybe find out that your approach needs tweaking. In this step, we use various types and mixtures of hempcrete. Later on, we realised that had we not done this case, our first application would have been a big fail. However, thanks to the testing phase, it actually turned out the way we wanted.

Final application

The time has come to apply the up-cycled product to its final place. Our first application on this project was to install a window into one of the access points of the lime kiln. I think it looks great! One is in another 11 to go.

Also, have fun during the steps. It might sound like a overstretch but the above-explained process took almost a year to be completed. Including the testing phase where we needed to wait a few months for the hempcrete to cure properly to determine the correct mixture. But during this time I went from failing to failing until perfection. I found out that different manufacturers will have a different glass thickness resulting in the light having different properties when reflected on the other side of the brick resulting in complete elimination of some bottles because they would simply look ugly in such application. This learning process could be faster of course but the time also allowed some time for more inspiration and clearing the way which we should be moving towards due to our application. If I can recommend anything to the readers of this, think of it this way – you basically take the rubbish and turn it into something new. To make sure the final product does not look like the start product – just rubbish I highly recommend you to have fun with the project and cherish every mistake as well as good results because together with your patience and artistic energy the result will give you the ultimate skill to turn waste into your expression of art. Anybody can buy a new item with money, but turn waste into something you can't buy otherwise is something only a few can do properly.

#modernart #technique #Earthship #TheLimeFactory #project #glassbottle #upcycling

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