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How to Make a Self-Extinguishing Ashtray

Updated February 21, 2017

Cigarette extinguishing and filter disposal are major concerns among smokers. Cigarette filters are made of acetate, a plastic that can take several years to decompose. Throwing cigarette butts in your yard after finishing a cigarette can result in hundreds of cigarette butts every month. The common solution is to provide an ashtray for smokers, but stamping out cigarettes causes fingers to smell, and the ashtray can inadvertently become an unattractive centrepiece. Self-extinguishing ashtrays extinguish cigarette butts by cutting off the oxygen supply that encourages burning. Cigarette butts are stored out of sight until the container is emptied into the trash.

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  1. Spray a terra cotta flower pot and pottery plate with your choice of spray paint colour. You can select a paint colour to match your decor or keep the natural terra cotta finish, if you prefer.

  2. Set the pot and plate on old newspaper and allow them to dry for about one hour or until completely dry.

  3. Paint a picture, design or phrase on the outside of the terra cotta pot with acrylic paint. You can paint a design on the pottery plate as well, if you wish.

  4. Set each piece on newspaper and allow the paint to dry completely.

  5. Glue decorative items such as small stones, beads and jewels to the outside of the terra cotta pot to create a custom self-extinguishing ashtray. Let the glue dry completely.

  6. Set the terra cotta pot upside-down on the pottery plate so that the small drain hole faces up. Most planter pots come with a hole in the centre slightly larger than a cigarette filter, but you will need to drill a hole if yours doesn't have one.

  7. Insert burning cigarettes through the drain hole in the pot. There won't be much oxygen inside the pot, so the cigarette will extinguish itself in about one minute or less.

  8. Hold both pieces together over a rubbish bin and pull them apart to dispose of the cigarette butts.

  9. Tip

    A small pot is the easiest to conceal, but feel free to make an ashtray with a large pot, especially if it will be placed in an area with heavy smoking.

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Things You'll Need

  • Small terra cotta flower pot
  • Small terra cotta pottery plate
  • Spray paint
  • Newspaper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Glue
  • Stones, jewels or other decorative items

About the Author

A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.

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