I must first apologize to our followers about the lack of updating our blog. I did not realize we have had as many followers than we now do. I will make an effort to update it at least once a month. If you would like to know when we update our blog with a new post, please send us an email and let us know that you would like to be notified when a new post is up. Thank you to everyone and your patience. You can click on the email link at the top right corner of the page.
Our main goal for this year is to enclose in our Earthship. We are hoping to have it all enclosed by the end of summer. A part of this is to fill in the glass bottle windows in our sunrooms. The photo below is the east sunroom. We also have a west sunroom as well. We have had to do a lot of prep work for filling in the top windows of our sunroom.
Allen made a frame matching the same size window that we had to work with. We cut the bottles, washed them, rinsed them, let them dry and then taped them together to create theses bricks. We then had something to work with to make our design. Allen wanted a diamond shaped window. Mary wanted something that would help to carry the design from window to window since we had 7 windows to fill per sunroom. We had to use the smaller beer bottles in order for the design to work. Even though we had never done a glass bottle window before we felt confident we could figure out how to create this pattern with the bottles. What we needed was a grid. We did not want to end up on the last row being short. And with a design like this it would not look right if we did not have them aligned right. So Allen figured out the grid. Based on our design made in our fake window frame he came up with the grid below.
Allen then mapped out the different colors that would be used for the windows. We decided that two windows would be brown, two green, two blue and the one in the middle would be clear with all the colors combined.
Allen then used his string art skills to create a guide for each window.
The next step is to mix a mud mixture of water, cement, clay, and sand to lay our bottles into. We found that we could only do one row at a time. Especially since we were following a design. If we laid two rows at a time the bottles could move because the first set of mud had not dried. We did have to chip out a section of bottles because of this happening. When creating a pattern we recommend to lay one row at a time filling in more than one window area. By the time that one row would be done depending on how much you are doing you could start on the next row.
You can see how Allen followed the grid that he had made out. Because of using bottles that are bright in color, all we need is daylight for the bottle to glow on the inside.
This is the east sunroom roughed in with the glass bottles. We have yet to do the finish coat on the bottle windows.
I would say that our first experience in putting in glass bottle windows was a success. It took 124 blue Budweiser platinum bottles matched up to 124 Coke -cola bottles, 124 brown beer bottles matched up to 124 clear beer bottles, 248 green bottles total, 480 clear bottles total; matching clear to clear and 64 Coke-Cola bottles, for a grand total of 1288 bottles used to create this design in both sunrooms.
When we put two brown and two blue bottles together this created dark colors we decided to match them up with lighter colors to get the bright colors to come through. The green bottles would not of been as dark if we didn't match two of them together.
The next project is the east side exterior door. All the spaces around the door will be filled in with glass bottle windows. With building an Earthship we have to think in advance. The electrical conduits and boxes all have to be in place before putting in the glass bottles. This is what the blue is in the photo. The boards going above and below the blue electrical conduit will not be visible when the glass bottle work is complete. They are set inside the wall. There will be boards on the left side of the door as well. We feel that if we divide this big of a project into thirds it will be easier especially when incorporating some sort of design. We can also do more of the window area at one time. Making the project go much faster. The wood boards will be covered in mud thus making it look like one complete unit.
Mary Severin writes about her families embarkment on a learning adventure to build an Upcycled Home using Earthship Principals. To find out what these Principals are click on the Earthship Principals link above.