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, OK? You don't want your milk jug capiz shell earrings to smell like sour milk.

milk jug lanterns

Photo: Wendy Cutler/Flickr

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


Milk jug sculpture

Photo: Jessica Sheridan/Flickr

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 Sept. 22.


milk jug waterer

Photo: Alysha Slater/

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.


milk jug mini-greenhouse

Photo: Adam Perkins/Flickr

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.


milk jug plant markers

Photo: Natasha/Flickr

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.


milk jug jewelry gift box

Photo: Mary Anne Enriquez/Flickr

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


painted milk jug Halloween decoration

Photo: Lee Lilly/Flickr

Paint milk jugs for cheap and fun Halloween decorations.


milk jug piggy bank

Photo: Paul Mayne/Flickr

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

Chaya Kurtz originally wrote this story for It is reprinted with permission here.

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