Super Simple Way to Re-use Plastic Bottles

Make plastic string

One of our tipsters just sent in a fascinatingly simple trick for re-using plastic bottles and turning them into useful plastic string. It’s in Russian but between the translated English subtitles and visual demonstration, it’s quite easy to understand.

YouTube DIY survivalist [Адвокат Егоров] makes a lot of really cool tutorial videos on anything from making knives, forming parts with heated PVC pipe, making rings out of coins, or even how to increase the yield of your potato farm (what?). In this one he shows us how to make a very simple jig using a small piece of aluminum extrusion which can slice a plastic bottle into long ribbons which can then be used for many different things.

The jig is adjustable and you can easily produce different widths of the ribbon with ease. Why would you want plastic ribbon? He uses it as twine for tying things (it’s very strong), as well as a grip for his tools — simply by wrapping it around the handle of something tightly, and then using a hot air gun, you can form it in place to create a plastic handle.

Again, the video is in Russian, but you can translate the subtitles — it kind of helps.

It reminds us of the hack using ketchup bottles for a flexible dust hose for your CNC!

[Thanks Keith!]


  1. bluewraith says:

    I stopped caring what the video was originally about and instead enjoyed the subtitles even better.

  2. Menga says:

    Russia has great hackers. I’d like to see more russian hacks, It will be great if someone can traslate a few more.

  3. Jay says:

    I LOVE this idea!

  4. the gambler says:

    this is a great idea. The only problem we will have here in the US with it is that I swear every product now has to have stupid shapes/sizes/etc…… so that it may not be round all the time. However the round ones i do have this will get a try with.

    thanks a million for this link

    • John says:

      3 reasons:

      1. Curved bottles look bigger and hold less product.
      2. Fancy looking bottles sell better than plain ones, supposedly, at least in the minds of marketing types.
      3. Ribbed bottles can be made thinner while retaining strength. Think corrugated cardboard.

      It is a shame though. I one tried to trash-source a few dozen round glass bottles for a large capacitor and found it rather tricky to get the right size/shape/thickness.

    • pcf11 says:

      You’re right. Round plastic bottles are a rarity.

    • Maxwell says:

      Those two-liter soda bottles are probably the only thing you’ll find in the US that’s perfectly circular, but you might be able to find fancy imported soda somewhere else.

  5. Brock Lee says:

    Can 3D printers use PET directly?…

  6. chuck says:

    I’m going to try this to produce my own weed eater line.

    • Nova says:

      An interesting idea but doubt you’ll have too much success, weed eater line has a lot of additives, that’s why it’s a bad idea to print with it, all the extra crap will clog the head, there are fibers and things mixed in I believe. Also anything made with this will be extremely flimsy and light, not a good grass cutting candidate. Oh, and also the shape, WE line is typically round or triangular shaped this is a flimsy rectangular cross-section. But if you have other ideas how to get past these hurdles do try it! I’m not going to tell you it can’t be done, just some of the challenges you will face.

      • Brian Dale Neeley says:

        As it’s CHEAP line, it may not matter quite so much (except for the fact that your yard may get loaded up with lots of tiny bits of PLA or PET).

        My recommendation, make a weed eater head that has at least six or eight double cuts that will allow you to run the line in and back out of the head. Use more lines, so each line will have less total load. Also, each “line””’is doubled.

  7. Hirudinea says:

    This is a good idea but I have one question, doesn’t anyone wear shirts in Russia?

  8. VERY! great idea.
    Plastic bottles are ubiquitous, specially in landfill.
    Recycling them like this would be great.

  9. Nitish K.S. says:

    This is true genius !

  10. Trevor says:

    First class idea.

  11. Laszlo says:

    Here is a better built version:

  12. w says:

    This is one of the most genuinely useful hacks I’ve ever seen on HAD. Recycling plastic bottles into heat-shrinkable plastic cord AND it’s a fairly trivial device to make with common tools.

    Send THESE guys into space!

    I’ve got to try this for myself…

  13. aoeuidhtns- says:

    Print it already!!

  14. Mike says:

    Another video showed up after this one with some very creative uses for the ribbon.

    I liked the chair mesh. We have the same chairs from my grandparents and the mesh would always break. I ended up covering the seat area with some padded fabric. This might last longer, but the color is ugly.

  15. RexJaguarius says:

    One thing that people seem to be forgetting is that these plastic bottles are chemically formulated in such a way that that they become brittle after a few years and break down. The longevity of the plastic string is a huge question, although I can still see it being useful; short term.

  16. Haku says:

    Chuck Norris has one of those devices, he uses it to make fibre optic cables out of glass bottles.

  17. B2 says:

    This looks to be the origin of this tool. Plans, video and crafty ways to use it. It must have been a big craft craze in Brazil a few years back.

  18. cplamb says:

    This is a really great idea but I can’t think of a good use for the resultant plastic ribbon. Every idea I’ve seen substitutes for something which is cheap and readily available except for the heat shrinkable lashing and that’s something I would rarely have use for. Any better ideas?

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