Upcycle Plastic Bottles into a Cool Mobile - Tutorial

I had this idea to use cut out shapes from plastic bottles and make a mobile.  I'm pretty sure that my friend Kate's gorgeous recycled copper mobiles (of Shiny Tings) is my original inspiration, although sometimes these things just pop into my head without me knowing where they came from.

Materials and Tools:
  • Empty plastic bottles (I used 3 shampoo and conditioner bottles)
  • Wire clothes hanger
  • Scissors - heavy duty, they need to cut through the plastic bottles
  • Awl (or something else to poke a hole)
  • Embroidery Floss and needle 
  • Ribbon, Yarn, Lace, or some sort of string

Step 1

First collect some plastic bottles.  You can use any plastic bottles in any color - whatever you have around.  A lot of shampoo bottles are in interesting colors.  If you use the same shampoo all the time (thus the same color of plastic bottle), ask your friends to save their bottles for you.

Clean out the bottles thoroughly.

 Step 2
Unwind the clothes hanger and form a circle.  There is no easy way to make a perfect circle.  Honestly, you won't notice in the long run if it's not perfect.  Also, I wanted to cut off the handle part of the hanger, but I didn't have anything strong enough to cut it, so I just wrapped it around.  
Step 3
Cut the bottles.  To do this, I took my scissors (which are very heavy duty.  You can cut through some plastic with just regular scissors.)  The most difficult part is the top as it is thicker than the rest of the bottle.  So, I cut through the top and followed the seam line down and then just cut around the top to cut it off.
Step 4
This is what it looks like when you cut the bottles apart.  See how imperfect my cuts are here, that's fine, you're cutting shapes out of this anyway.

You might find that the bottles are still a little wet or have something left, you can easily clean or dry them now.

Step 5
Cut the plastic bottles into shapes.  I used circles, but you can use any shape you want.  You could also use a bunch of different colors and shapes.  I got 2 circles out of each half of a bottle that I cut.

The plastic will curl up because it was a bottle.  Either cut around the curled up parts, or use it in your design.  I put the plastic under a stack of books and it flattened it somewhat, but it wasn't perfect.
Step 6
Set out the shapes some sort of a pattern that you would like for your mobile.  

Step 7
Now we're going to start to put the mobile together.  Use an awl (or some other tool) to poke a hole in the top of your pieces.  If you are going to have a couple of your pieces hanging in one string, you will need a hole in the top and bottom.

Step 8
Use embroidery floss to tie your pieces together.  You could really use any thread, string or yarn that you can pull through the holes you made.  Also tie a piece of string to the top that you will attach to the hanger.  Just eye up how long you would like the mobile to hang.  Mine is about 16 inches long at its longest.

I made 6 hanging ropes for my mobile, but use as many as you like.

Step 9
Tie the string to the hanger that you made into a circle.  Place them evenly around the hanger.

Step 10
Cut 3 pieces of ribbon, lace, yarn, etc. and tie to the circle evenly to use to hang your mobile.  I used vintage ribbon that complimented my orange bottles.  Pull the 3 pieces up and tie at the top to form a hanger
This project doesn't take long at all and there wasn't a cost since I just used what I had around the house.  If you don't have actually what I used, get creative and use other string, etc.

Have fun!!


Rhonda L. Hall said...

Cute idea! I like the fact that you used the labeled bottles for your mobile. Great blog :)

Rhonda Hall
ArtfulExpress Creative Life Blog

Anonymous said...

This is such an awesome idea! I'm new to your blog but I will definitely be back :)