8 Ways to Reuse and Upcycle Milk Jugs

Milk jugs are a perfect material for DIY projects. They’re durable, lightweight, flexible and ubiquitous.

The best part of making cool stuff from milk jugs is that you don’t have to pay for them. They’re trash!

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.

Wendy Cutler/Flickr Creative Commons

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

Jessica Sheridan/Flickr Creative Commons

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 September 22.

Alysha Slater/Hometalk.com

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.

Adam Perkins/Flickr Creative Commons

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.

natasha-d/flickr creative commons

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.

Mary Anne Enriquez/Flickr Creative Commons

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

Lee Lilly/Flickr Creative Commons

Paint milk jugs for cheap and fun Halloween decorations.

Paul Mayne/Flickr Creative Commons

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

Chaya Kurtz writes about everything from Seattle remodeling specialists to Phoenix plumbers.


+Five items to upcycle into a chandelier

+10 Creative uses for empty beer bottles

+Six ways to upcycle bottle caps

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Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson2 years ago

cool ideas. thanks

Virginia Belder
Virginia Belder2 years ago

awesome ideas.....

Bill and Katie D.

Good Ideas!
Thank You

Vita Pagh
Vita P.2 years ago

Thank you.

Judy Apelis
Judy Apelis2 years ago

Thank you!!

Kim M.
Kay M.2 years ago

can also make cheap bird feeders - cutting out part of the sides & putting seed in the bottom.

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper2 years ago


Angel Campbell
Angel Campbell2 years ago

Love the coloured lights!

Michael H.
Mike H.2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Diane K.
Diane K.2 years ago

Pretty clever ideas. thx