Thursday, April 5, 2012

Gardening DIY: Making a Watering Can

 You can use an old laundry detergent container to make a great watering can for your container garden. I found this idea on Pinterest, along with other ideas using other types of containers (for instance, milk jugs). I decided to go with the laundry detergent container option because the container seems much sturdier to me, and will hold a large amount of water.

Before beginning, make sure your laundry detergent container is very well cleaned out. You don't want it to smell like detergent anymore. Also, you'll probably want to remove the pouring spout from the container. I didn't because it makes it easier to add water to the bottom of the self-watering planters, but it messes a bit with the water flow. The detergent bottle I used came from Sam's Club, so it's a really large size, which I like for this project.

There are two levels of this project. The first level is the functional watering can. The second level is the aesthetic upgrade. I wanted my watering can to look a bit less like clorox and blend in more - you could paint yours in any color or design you like, or don't paint it at all! Your choice.

This is a free DIY project if you don't pretty-up the watering can: the laundry detergent container was headed for the recycling anyways. If you spend a bit of cash on the extras, it's still only a few dollars - I spent $6, total. 

How to Make a Watering Can
What you'll need:
Old laundry detergent container, well cleaned out
X-acto knife
Drill with small bit OR hammer and small nail
plastic spray paint (like Krylon fusion)
Twine (I used jute)

1. Cut a small hole in the handle of the detergent container. This is necessary to vent air so the watering can pours smoothly.

2. Drill or poke small holes in the top of the detergent lid. (Set the lid on something you don't mind destroying to protect your table surface, like an old magazine.) I used a 1/16th inch drill bit; the size, number and distribution of the holes is up to you.  I made many small holes because I was trying to create a gentle shower effect.  Now you have a functional watering can! You can stop here, or continue. 

3. Spray paint the bottle and cap (separately).  You'll need to use a plastic-bonding spray paint to do this. I used Krylon Fusion. (Be sure to follow the paint can directions for this part.)
 4. Once the paint is fully dry - I waited overnight - use twine to wrap the handle and cap - the parts of the can you will be gripping. I did this to make it easier to use the watering can when wet, and to prevent wear marks on the spray paint. I used a simple half-hitch wrap, as described here*, with about 8 feet of twine for the handle. I used the same technique to wrap the cap.  You could also use glue to attach the twine.
 *That link is to a forum for zombie apocalypse preparedness enthusiasts, as far as I can tell. In any case, the tutorial is good. 

A close-up of the handle wrap:
And that's it! Of course, you could decorate or customize your watering can differently. Have fun with it!

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