Embedding bottles in a wall creates a really stunning effect, especially when sunlight shines through bottles of different colors.

Bottle Wall (click to enlarge)

Bottle Wall (click to enlarge)


However, many bottle walls are thin walls. Here are some suggestions for using bottles in wide earthbag walls:

– Buy a bottle cutter or rent a wet tile cutter to remove the ends. Join bottles of the same color end-to-end, tape together with duct tape and embed between courses of earthbags. The bottles need to protrude so they align with the finished plaster.
– Create a thin section of wall within the earthbag wall. This will require building an earthbag arch to transfer the loads around this section of wall. Example: create an arched opening of the desired size and shape, and infill it with bottles set in cob. This eliminates cutting of bottles… just let them protrude on the inside. (You don’t want water getting inside.)
– Machine shops have cutting machines that use hacksaw blades to slowly cut steel. But they would (should) also cut glass. Not sure of the cost, but this is an option. Look for a small shop that’s not too busy.

More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottle_wall
http://maven.gtri.gatech.edu/sfi/gradcourses/goathouse/MBWall.html


Comments

Bottle Walls — 9 Comments

  1. I haven’t tried them yet, but these techniques seem like the easiest ways to cut bottles.

    Score the bottle, and use hot and cold water:

    or flaming string:

  2. I am working on designs for an earthbag hospital building in a remote area of the Burmese jungle. Walls will be about 3 meters tall. I like the idea of glass bottles between courses to allow for natural lighting. Just wondering if there could be problems of glass cracking after the bags settle and put more weight on the bottles. Is this something to be concerned about?

    Also, any ideas on doing this without having to cut the bottles? This project will have very limited tools available. I am also considering using aluminum foil to wrap around the bottles to reflect light to the inside.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated, thanks!

    • The bottles shouldn’t break because they’re round. The weight will be transferred around them. Lots of people use bottle windows and I haven’ heard of any breaking.

      There’s at least one previous blog post on bottle windows. Read that and write again if you still have questions. There are numerous methods. One no-cut method is to put the ends against each other and leave the tops protruding.

  3. Pingback: Unique Building Materials | Habitables's Blog

  4. I am currently building a bottle wall, most of it is going to be a property divider, behind my garden. A section of the wall is going to be used as the back wall of my green house, there will be short walls of bottles for side walls. I currently have about 1700 wine bottles laid in mortor. Most all of the green ouse materials have been scavanged, and I hope to have it finished for under $200.
    The earth bag walls have really got my attention, I like the design, and the look, but I live in tornado alley and am thinking about one as a shelter, since we have no basement or other real safe place. My house was missed by a tornado last year by less than a 1/8 mile, so it’s on our mind.
    If anyone has any suggestions on a earth bag shelter, please feel free to contact me. Or if you would like any info on my bottle wall and greenhouse, do the same.

    You can email me at scottychamplin@gmail.com

    See ya

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