How to make an outdoor wine bottle tree

Written by erin watson-price
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How to make an outdoor wine bottle tree
Don't throw out those empty wine bottles. Make a bottle tree instead. (champagne-bottles and corks image by Maria Brzostowska from

The bottle tree originated in sub-Saharan Africa and Arabia. The tradition of bottle trees in the U. S. began with Southern slaves who created bottle trees to trap "evil spirits," according to garden author Felder Rushing. While tradition dictates that the bottles should be made of blue glass, current bottle trees are free-form and made from all colours of glass. If you drink wine and do not know what to do with your empty wine bottles, you can create an outdoor wine bottle tree. A wine bottle tree is an eco-friendly recycling craft and adds interest to any corner of your garden.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wine bottles
  • Post-hole digger
  • Quick setting concrete
  • Fence post
  • Hammer
  • 3 inch long nails
  • Pencil

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  1. 1

    Collect wine bottles. The number of bottles you need depends on the size of the bottle tree and how dense you want the bottle tree to be. If you don't already have wine bottles saved, you can add to your tree as you drink instead of waiting to collect.

  2. 2

    Remove the labels from the bottles.

  3. 3

    Select a location for your outdoor bottle tree. Ideal locations will receive full or partial sunlight to show of the colours of your bottle tree. Bottle trees can be set up inside flower beds, among bushes or on a bare piece of ground.

  4. 4

    Dig a hole using a posthole digger. The hole should be at least 6 to 12 inches deep. For looser soil or areas with frequent rainfall, deeper is better.

  5. 5

    Mix the quick-setting concrete according to manufacturer instructions.

  6. 6

    Pour approximately 1 inch of concrete in the bottom of the hole and then set the fence post in the hole. Continue to pour the remaining concrete around the pole.

  7. 7

    Allow the concrete to cure according to the manufacturer instructions.

  8. 8

    Select a pattern for your bottle tree. Bottles can spiral from top to bottom, group thickly in regular lines, or space randomly over the length of the pole. Use a pencil to mark where you would like to place the nails.

  9. 9

    Hammer 3-inch framing nails at a 45-degree angle into the fence post. Only hammer in the first inch. This will give the nail purchase and leave enough visible nail to support the bottle. If you are building as you drink, you can hammer in your nails ahead of time, or add nails as you add bottles.

  10. 10

    Place the wine bottle neck over the nail.

Tips and warnings

  • For quick bottle trees decorate an existing fence post or porch pillar.
  • Nails placed at a 90-degree angle to the fence post will not support a wine bottle securely. However, you can play with the angle of the nail to vary your design and the number of bottles you can place on the post.
  • Wrap clear or coloured Christmas lights around the fence post while inserting the bulbs inside the bottle necks to create a lighted sculpture.

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