Pop Bottle Solar Tubes

Soda bottles, solar tubes, lighting, cheap lightingOkay, I know you think I’ve lost it. But this really works. It’s finding simple solutions in this complex world like this make me extremely happy.

Awhile back when I was getting the studio ready, I researched creative solutions to lighting problems. Thanks to youtube I found this video clip on how a man in Brazil made solar tubes from bottles during a electricity shortage. It’s a fun video with some snazzy music, however they never told how to attach the bottle to the roof. So this short tutorial will show you how I did it.

The one thing that I notice that is different in the video is that we used soda bottles that had a concave design. Our bottles had a stylish figure, however it made it difficult to get the bottle to set right. Since the bottle was designed like that, we needed something that would hold the bottle in the roof so that the silicone caulking could dry. That’s where I came up with the idea to use the canning jar rim because one, it’s cheap, it was the same size, and the metal could be easily manipulated.

This is what you’ll need:

1 litter clear plastic bottle
Silicone Caulking
Canning jar rim
Wire Cutters
Drill bit and Drill

Here’s how it’s done:

First take the Canning Jar Rim and trace it on the roof. Drill a couple of holes on the edge so your jig saw blade can fit in. Then saw following the marks.

Cut out the hole.

Take the canning lid rim.

Take the wire cutters and cut notches into the canning lid rim.

Place the lid rim over the bottle.

Drop Bottle into hole in roof.

From the underside of the roof, secure the lid by curling up the notches in the canning lid.

Pour a capful of bleach.

Add the bleach to the water and pour into the bottle until the bottle is full.

And the final step: from the top seal the solar tube with silicone caulking. Watch out this stuff can be very messy and is really hard to remove. My removal tip is using terpenoid and then washing well with soap.

This project turned out really well. There has been no leaking, there is more light, and it was cheap! I also wanted cirular windows in the coop and couldn’d find any so I came up with the idea to use pyrex pie plates. That also worked well. I followed the same steps in this tutorial, however I didn’t need the canning jar rim or anything else since the pie plate already had a lip on it. I caulked it and it’s awesome.

Have you thought up any creative solutions to common problems? I love to hear your stories so feel free to share and comment below.


8 thoughts on “Pop Bottle Solar Tubes”

  • Thank you for the update on bleach; it is what I assumed. But, I’m still considering just using empty bottles. With a lid tightly attached they should retain their shape, and I would have to worry about frozen water bursting the bottle. In any case this is clever and will get used this year on my turkey coop.

    • The water particles help filter the light and really glow. However if I were you, I’d cut a hole and try it both ways before you secure it. I’d love to see pictures of your turkey coop. How long have you owned them?

  • I’ve had Bourbon Reds for three years along with one Spanish Black hen. They were a gift from God (long story, but true), and we are trying to breed more after some harvest, some mistakes and some bad luck with predators. Just hatched two in an incubator (Brinsea), lost two in incubator, and hen is sitting on ten. We love them and our Barred Rock flock. The chickens already have a clear story and lower windows so they have plenty of light. Thanks.

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