Milk Bottle Garden Tools

I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing things away we could use. ~ Mother Theresa

The school holidays are upon us and so far, it has been mainly  lovely clear sunny weather, despite a bit of a chill about.

But, two days into our break, my youngest little bloke has succumbed to the very contagious, hand foot and mouth disease.  He’s covered in a nasty blistery rash and is as grumpy as a virally-infected 3 year old should be.  So, our weeks activities have been cancelled while we endure an enforced quarantine.

Thankfully, The kids love being outside and in the garden, but we have a little problem.  Often, there are not enough tools to go around.   The kids seem to want THIS shovel, or THAT trowel.  Or, I need a tool they insist they are using!   Plus, my tools, once borrowed, don’t always find their way home and I waste time looking for them.  Squabbles erupt and the fun is over fast.

A bit of research had me raiding our recycle bin for our used milk cartons for a recyclable (and gloriously free!) solution.

I dug out two, two litre milk containers, and one three litre container.

The “pointy” scoop traced onto the 2 litre milk carton

First, I wanted some shovels/scoops.    I made a few different designs.  The small, pointy one is especially ideal for filling my little handmade paper seed pots.

The wider “shovel” scoop traced on the 3 litre container.

The kids impatiently waited for me to get the photo taken so they could grab their tools and begin the destruction digging.   Plenty of tools for everyone!

Then I got a bit carried away…

Three milk bottles, deconstructed! Four scoops, two trays, one funnel and lots of plastic plant tags.

I made the bases of the bottles into little trays for my paper seed pots.   I made a funnel for my twine.  I cut up a heap of plant markers.   There was only a little bit of plastic left to sweep up and deposit back into the recycling bin.

The best part is, as long as we drink milk, we’ll have a supply of little scoops and shovels, tags and trays.   The kids can lose them, bury them, toss them in the composter and it’s not going to be the end of the world.  If they break, they go back into the recycling bin.   If I get over-run with milk carton tools, I can just collect them up periodically and pop them back in the recycle bin too.

I am so chuffed with the results that my brain is ticking over, what other fun can be had with the stuff I usually chuck out?

I would love to hear your suggestions.


  1. says

    Hi Melissa…great meeting you and the family at Manning Markets! What a brilliant idea are these milkbottle tools….they have to be shared! Love them!

    • says

      Thanks Jan, glad you love the tools. There is peace again in my garden now that everyone has a tool!

      I actually did my shopping this morning after consulting the True Food guide. The website is a fantastic resource. I’ve joined the network!

  2. says

    I blogged about a similar use of milk bottles (jugs), recycling these into dust scoops. I love that you found yet another use for these containers. It’ll be up on my blog today!!

    • says

      Thanks Sian, and so pleased you found your new tools so useful!

      I have made a few more myself this week. I will be planting with my son’s kindy class on Monday, putting the winter veggies in their little patch.

  3. docomix2000 says

    Also i have found for early spring planing when there is a chance of frost still, i use the gallon milk jugs with the bottom cut off and the lid removed, to cover the young plants.

  4. Bev Dittberner says

    I use 3 l milk bottle with a 2meter plastic tube for my high tech hydro system when paddling the ocean racing it.


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