A Coral garden made from plastic bottles

Presentation day PET bottles
Coral garden
PET bottles and white latex paint
12″ x 12″ x 12″
September 2013

My first green art, made from recycled plastic bottles.

I wanted to make something I’d love to keep and display at home, so I thought of arranging “plants” under the sea that I could easily put on top of a table later on.


How do you transform the PET bottle structure to create a 3D sculpture that articulates an undersea creature form?


  1. Alter, cut, punch, slice, etc. the PET bottle.
  2. Assemble by gluing, riveting, bonding to create a sea creature form mimicking its natural gesture, measuring at least 12″x 12″x 12″.
  3. Whitewash the entire sculpture using white latex.
  4. Hang/attach/install the work outdoors mimicking its natural gesture.

Corals and anemones are sea creatures,  right? 🙂

My attempt at planning: doing sketches helped me start the process but I didn’t really bother to look at them once I began working:
PET bottle Coral Garden 2013 (2)

I played with the bottles using a candle, but after these two, my chest started feeling heavy from the fumes I was inhaling. How anti-green: we were upcycling used plastic bottles, but here I was burning plastic! Tsk, tsk, sumubok lang.
PET bottle Coral Garden 2013 (1)

I decided to just stick to cutting and creating coral forms using scissors and cutter:
PET bottle Coral Garden 2013 (3)

It was a space-consuming work — I probably had over 30 bottles in all sizes scattered all around the house for 3 weeks!
PET bottle Coral Garden 2013 (12)

I used silicone to glue them together and repositioned the corals until I was happy with the garden.

Ready for painting:
PET bottle Coral Garden 2013 (7)

Here’s how it looked, glued, painted and laid out on the table:
PET bottle Coral Garden 2013 (18)

I thought it looked perfect plopped on top of this big rock — isn’t it mimicking its natural gesture already?
PET bottle Coral Garden 2013 (20)

These were installation pieces, though, that needed to suspended at least 1 foot above the ground and also 1 foot away from any surface.

My big takeaway from this plate: pay attention to instructions! I didn’t realize the last bit– to hang the work– was critical and when time came to install mine, it really just fell apart.   The silicone adhesive wasn’t strong enough to hold it together, and I spent 3 hours “sewing” the piece together using thin GI wires (alambre).

Presentation day PET bottles

Presentation day PET bottles
It was only after slaving over the installation that I realized I could’ve just put it on a flat base and suspended the base as a whole!

Here we are on presentation day, ready to swim around our life-size aquarium:
Presentation day PET bottles

“The Chase” with works by Stanley, Grasha and AK:
Presentation day PET bottles

Presentation day PET bottles

Close-up of Stanley’s hammerhead shark
Presentation day PET bottles

Ariel’s lobster:
Presentation day PET bottles

Tin’s amazing jellyfishie:
Presentation day PET bottles

Also loved this seadragon by KC:
Presentation day PET bottles

Abie’s anglerfish:
Presentation day PET bottles

Jack’s fierce fish (was this a dragon fish?), which Sir Jamel said best captured the essence of this plate: to create a creature in its natural gesture.
Presentation day PET bottles