10 December 2011

Weekend DIY: How to Make a Plastic Bottle Bracelet Cuff

A guest post by Erica Louise. Author of ethical fashion blog Recycled Fashion, and co-founder of Recycled Market.

According to an article on greenUPGRADER, a plastic bottle take 700 years to begin composting, and 80% of plastic bottles are not recycled, which is quite terrifying when you see photographs like this.

Whilst I do not condone the purchase of bottled water, if you can find a used plastic bottle (there are plenty found littered), I am going to show you a way to reuse plastic bottles to make pretty bracelet cuffs.  

You will need:
  • Scissors
  • Empty used small plastic bottle
  • Glue gun
  • Needle and thread
  • Felt (any colour)
  • Chalk 
  • Fabric scraps
  • Doilies/lace/buttons or other adornments

Step 1. Using scissors, cut plastic bottle to your cuff shape.  Cut a gap and curve each corner to avoid sharp bits.  One plastic bottle can make three cuffs.  I’ve made  this example using the label part, so also removed the label.  This will be the base of your cuff.

Step 2. Take felt (my felt is from a recycle centre selling off-cuts) and trace around plastic cuff base with chalk.  Trace around one end, and slowly roll along length of felt, tracing as you go.

You’ll get something like this…

Cut two pieces.

Step 3. Using a glue gun, glue one felt strip to the inside, and one to the outside of the plastic cuff base.  This makes your cuff ‘padded’ and a little more sturdy. Because glue guns get very hot, I use sparingly to avoid burning plastic.

Cut off excess felt and plastic bits.

Step 4. Use cuff to trace around chosen fabric scrap with chalk, like you did in Step 2 with felt.  This time you only need one piece of fabric, and make sure you cut around traced shape leaving enough fabric to wrap around the inside of the cuff.

Step 5. Wrap fabric around the outside of the cuff, and sew in place with needle and thread, pull in tight as you sew. Start sewing at one end, pull tight.

Your chosen color of thread doesn't matter as it will be covered.

Step 6.  Decorate. You can use anything, lace, buttons, or make fabric scrap flowers to make your cuff look pretty.

I used a cut up doily from a previous craft project for my decoration.  I swapped threads and used ‘invisible thread’, sewing the cut doily in place right through the middle of the cuff to secure in place. We’re almost done…

Step 7. Tidy up the inside. To hide sewing on the inside of the cuff, use felt to cover. At this point I actually used an alternative, suitably matched colored felt, but you don’t have to. As per Step 2, trace cuff onto felt using chalk to get appropriate shape. You will need to trim to size. Use your glue gun to glue to the inside of your cuff. If you have your own label, you can glue that to the inside too. And you’re done!

Erica lives in Melbourne, Australia, a few minutes walk from one of Port Phillip Bay’s most beautiful white sandy beaches with husband, 3yr old son, and rescued black cat. When she is not overseeing online marketplace Recycled Market, she can be found writing and creating for her ethical fashion blog Recycled Fashion, co-editing on Refashion Co-op, and most importantly, raising her son.  She can also be found tap dancing, and has a love affair for op shopping (Australian thrift stores).


  1. how awesome is this idea! thanks for sharing! :)

  2. This is a fantastic idea and such a beautiful result!

  3. Great idea, I remember making something similar when I was in Brownies, only we used washing up liquid bottles and it was a whole circle, so a bangle rather than a cuff. We then wrapped wool round it. I remember mine was orange and pink! Yours is rather more professional though!

  4. Very cool! I love upcycled pieces. Thanks for sharing!

  5. What a great way to recycle! and it is cute!

  6. That is brilliant! I would have never thought to do that.

  7. What a great project, and way to recycle a plastic water bottle.
    Everyday Inspired

  8. What a great idea for recycling! And such a cute end result, too. :) Great tutorial!

  9. love thisss ideaaa. its greattt
    love, alex
    follow eachother?


  10. I've done this but with yarn Check it out http://inluvwithcrafts.blogspot.com/