Summer Camp Crafts with our Friends: Upcycled Beer Bottle Garden

We’ve been busy having fun with some summer camp-inspired crafts at The Bruery, but we want to see what you’ve been creating, too. Contribute your craft to The Bruery Blog by entering our Summer Camp Crafting Blog Off. Our third contributor, Lena Starbird, turned a bunch of her favorite empty beer bottles into adorable little succulent planters.

Shortly after getting married in late 2008, I was diagnosed with stage four Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and six months of aggressive chemotherapy treatments followed. We quickly discovered that life is way too short to drink bad beer and after winning that one I jumped off the wagon to celebrate and soon added microbreweries to our roadtrip must-do lists.

Somehow this snowballed into a substantial collection of empty beer bottles that were just too pretty to toss in the recycling bin. So when our tiny condo began looking like a terrible episode of Hoarders, we came up with the idea for a Craft Beer Garden outside on our patio.

Here’s how to turn your own bottle collection into a Craft Beer Garden.

Things you’ll need:

• clean, round bottle
• bottle cutter
• 100 grit diamond hand polishing pad
• 120 grit sand paper
• gloves
• face mask
• protective eyewear
• a pitcher of hot water
• a pitcher of cold water
• 12”x12” bin filled with about 6” of water
• paper towels
• painters tape
• a small succulent
• cactus soil
• small rocks or pebbles

How to cut the bottle:
1. Put on your gloves, protective eyewear & face mask.

2. Score the bottle once around … and only once.

If using the Creator’s cutter we recommended in the supplies list above, follow the directions provided. Hold the bottle down with the provided pad with one hand & slowly turn the bottle with the other. Note your starting point toward the bottom of the bottle so that you can tell when you’ve made a full rotation by lining it up with the mark on the cutter.

If using this more affordable option, also follow the directions provided. It’ll take some practice to master the right amount of pressure … not too hard now. If you see glass chipping off while you’re scoring, lighten up on your pressure.

3. Hold the bottle from the bottom over the bin of water at a downward angle.

4. Slowly pour the hot water over the scoreline while slowly rotating the bottle.

5. Alternate between pouring the cold & hot water.

The temperature difference will cause a fracture along the score & the top will eventually fall into the bin of water.

How to sand the bottle:

1. Keep your gloves, glasses & mask on. Glass dust is bad for you, Mmmkay.

2. Take two pieces of paper towel, fold them in half & wrap it around the bottle. This will help to keep your gloves & paper labels dry.

3. Dip the cut end of the bottle in water, wet the sanding side of the block & sand away any sharp edges along the top and outer edge. Keep it wet now — glass dust is no bueno.

4. Tear a strip of 120 grit sand paper, fold it into about a 2”x2” square, dip it in water & sand away any sharp edges along the interior edge.

5. With a moist paper towel, clean up the glass dust on the bottle.

How to plant your succulent

1. Fill the bottom of the bottle with about an inch deep of pebbles or rocks. This helps with drainage.

2. Fill the bottle with soil & plant your succulent. Leave about a half inch of space from the top of the bottle. This helps to keep the water inside the bottle when watering.

3. Fill in the top with some pebbles, but be sure to still leave a little bit of room to keep water from spilling over.

4. Water with an large eye dropper to keep your glass planters free of hard water spots. Let the soil dry in between watering.


Put aside a few of the same size beer bottles specifically to use for practice until you get the hang of the cutting process.

Practice before each cutting session to reacquaint yourself with the correct scoring pressure.

Some bottles may break unevenly, so save yourself some grief and have a few extras of your favorites if your looking to make a perfect cut.

You can always hide an uneven rim with a succulent that spreads it leaves out over the edges.

It was 95º of way-too-hot-and-humid in Southern California while working on this project, so we had to go retro with our glass mugs from the deep freezer and finish off a growler of The Bruery’s Humulus Lager while completing our beer garden.

One hopelessly optimistic cancer survivor and one mortician, Lena Starbird and Kristina Kindred, creators of, have been sharing DIY travel adventures, guzzling incredible brews, hoarding tons of amazing bottles and repurposing our favorites into tiny Beer Gardens in a crafty effort to raise mo’ coin for the beer fund.

Make some more summertime crafts with our Bruers. Check out our Pinterest board and these related blogposts:

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