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Milk bottle watering can


Make a watering can from a plastic milk bottle - perfect for small hands or small plants!

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors
  • School term: Early Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Late Summer
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Science, Art&DT

Learning objectives

  • Design and make a watering can
  • Learn about the value of recycling in the garden
  • Consider the different rates at which water will flow from the bottle

Essential background information


Collect milk bottles - 1 pint bottles are great for smaller children and 2 or 4 pint bottles for older children or adults.

Wash out milk bottles well and remove labels.


  • Empty plastic milk bottles with lids – 1, 2 or 4 pint sizes
  • Wooden board
  • Hammer
  • Nails (size will be dependent on how fine you want your spray)
  • Permanent marker pens

Need more help?

Watch our RHS Ambassador, George, show you how it's done!

Step by step

  1. Make sure the milk bottle has been washed thoroughly with hot soapy water to get rid of any milk and the milky smell. 
  2. Place the lid onto a wooden board and use a hammer and nail to make holes into the lid (adult help may be required). Smaller nails will create smaller holes for a finer spray.
  3. Pop one small hole in the handle of the bottle to allow air to get in. This will help the water flow.
  4. Decorate the bottle with permanent pens. Make sure the outside of the bottle is completely dry before you do.
  5. Fill the bottle with water and replace the lid.
  6. Get watering!

Hints & tips

  • Smaller 1 pint bottles are perfect for small hands and 2 or 4 pint bottles are great for older children.
  • Different sized nails will produce varying sized holes e.g. smaller nails will create a finer spray which is ideal for seeds and seedlings. Larger holes can be used to water more established plants.
  • You could make up several watering cans with different sized holes in for different uses.
  • Check out our top tips on watering your plants effectively and also our tips on how to conserve water in your garden.
  • Left over milk bottles? Have a go at making a recycled basket or a small bug home.
  • Use this activity as part of Grow Your Own Lunch class growing topic.

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