House & Home

Eight ways to reuse and upcycle milk jugs

Posted August 10, 2013

Milk jugs are a pretty perfect material for DIY projects. They're durable, lightweight, they float, they're flexible, and they are ubiquitous.

The best part of making cool stuff from milk jugs is that you don't have to pay for them. I mean, they're trash! But when you're a DIY-er, you know that some trash is a perfect material for upcycling into something great.

Just rinse out plastic milk jugs well before you craft with them, okay? You don't want your milk jug capiz shell earrings to smell like sour milk.

To make milk jug lanterns, stick a string of colored lights in empty milk jugs. No electrician required.

This dome with walls made of upcycled milk jugs was built by Studio Klimoski Chang Architects, and is called "Head in the Clouds". (Leave it to builders in New York City.) It is on Governor's Island, and is open to the public for the summer of 2013, June 8 to September 22.

Irrigate just the roots of a garden by poking holes in a milk jug, and burying it. Add water for a slow drip of water to the roots of your plants. It's a perfect solution for watering plants when you're away for the weekend.

Plastic milk jugs make great mini-greenhouses or planters. If you leave the neck of the jug on, it's a mini-greenhouse. If you cut off the handle and neck of the bottle, you have a planter in which to start plants, or even to let them grow big.

Cut up a plastic milk jug and label with a permanent marker. It's a free and easy way to both upcycle and get yourself some durable plant markers.

Make custom jewelry gift boxes out of plastic milk jugs. Read instructions.

Paint milk jugs for cheap and fun Halloween decorations.

Save change in a milk jug. Who says a piggy bank has to look like a pig?

Chaya Kurtz writes for


+Five items to upcycle into a chandelier

+10 Creative uses for empty beer bottles

+Six ways to upcycle bottle caps

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