Going on vacation is supposed to be a relaxing activity, but between packing, corralling the kids, and getting things in order, it can cause more stress than anything else. This is especially true for those of us who keep plants in our homes. Even if we manage to wrangle one of our friends to tend to our beloved orchids, how do we know that they’ll actually follow through—and do so correctly?

Now there’s a way to water our plants while we’re away, and it involves alcohol. Well, the bottles, at least. Did you know that you can make your own clever DIY irrigation system using wine or beer bottles?

The process is simple, too. All you have to do is follow these steps….

When leaving for vacation, it’s always a chore to convince your friends or relatives to commit to watering your plants. If no one steps up to the task, all of your lovely greenery will surely wither and die. Not to fear! The next time you’re planning a getaway, try making this simple irrigator out of an empty glass bottle.

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All you’ll need is a wine bottle and a drill or pin. Make sure the size of the bottle you choose can hold enough liquid for the plant you’ll need to water. Start out by rinsing the empty bottle so there’s no alcohol left inside; you wouldn’t want your plants to get tipsy, would you?

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Next, remove any labels on the glass. This makes it easier to handle the bottle, and ensures that the paper doesn’t get in the way later. Peeling off the label should be a breeze if the bottle is wet; if not, you can use rubbing alcohol and a little elbow grease. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it will make things easier for you later.

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Now that your bottle is label-free, fill it with water. Make sure it’s temperate and not too hot or cold. You want it to be about the temperature you would normally use to feed your plants, but keep in mind that it will be sitting in your plant for the duration of your absence.

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Next, you’ll need to punch a hole in the cork or bottle top. If you’re using a cork, you can poke a hole through the center using a pin. If your cork is wobbly—or you don’t trust your shaky hands—you can cork the bottle first before making the hole. This way, the bottle acts as a vice for you so you can keep it steady without rolling around.

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Using a screw top? No problem! Since the top is likely made of metal, you’ll have to drill a hole in the center. If you don’t want to use a drill or you’re not that handy, a hammer and nail will create the same effect. Once you’re done, simply place the top back on the bottle full of water. Wasn’t that easy? If you have to choose between a cork and a bottle top, the bottle top may save you some time later—plus, there’s less of a chance that it’ll break apart like a cork.

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Now turn the bottle over in the sink and see how well the water drains out. The flow of water should be steady, but not too heavy. Using a screw cap is easier than a cork, as you’ll notice here, because you can fill the bottle back up again easily and you won’t have to eventually replace the top like you would if you use a cork.

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If you feel that too much water is coming out of your bottle, you can try to slow it down by wrapping the top with a piece of cloth and securing it with a rubber band. This way, the water will have to filter through the cloth—and it’ll move a lot slower. Make sure the cloth isn’t too thick, though, or the water will take too long to drip out.

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Lastly, place the bottle upside-down into your plant’s pot, and your DIY irrigation system should start working immediately! Voila! You’ve just solved your plant-watering problem, and you can rest easy on vacation knowing that they’ll be well-fed! You can even reuse these bottles every time you’ll be away.

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If your plant is small, use a smaller glass, such as a beer bottle. Just make sure it can hold enough water—but not too much!—for your plant. You don’t want your plants to dry out, but you don’t want them to drown, either. Trust your knowledge of your own plants’ needs when choosing a bottle size.

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These bottles can be a bit of an eyesore—especially if you weren’t able to remove the labels fully—so feel free to paint or decorate them however you please! That way, when people pass by the front of your home, they won’t think the bottle is litter and be tempted to recycle it for you.

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Wow! That took less time than expected, didn’t it? Now you can feel great about leaving your plants alone for as long as you need to! Vacation-planning just got a lot less stressful.

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