Catch the Light – DIY Screen

It only takes some cement, a few old bottles and a bit of imagination to create an interesting ‘Gothic’ stained-glass screen for your garden.

diy screen

What you will Need for your Screen

  • Black plastic sheeting
  • 2 x 600 mm pine planks (we used CCA-treated roofing timber 152 mm x 38 mm)
  • 2 x 610 mm pine planks
  • 8 x wood screws
  • 8 empty glass bottles, similar in size and shape
  • Fine river sand
  • 12 mm building stone
  • PPC cement
  • water


Trowel, float, spoon, builder’s bucket, brush, hosepipe

1. Prepare a level work surface by covering it with plastic sheeting. Secure the four wooden planks together to create a box frame. Place the frame on the plastic sheeting.


2. Create a 50 mm base of fine river sand in the frame, using a float to smooth it. Remove the lids from the bottles and place the bottles evenly across the space, top to toe, but not touching each other. Leave a gap of 50 mm clear around the frame. Place the bottles so that their glass seams are not visible.


3. Once you are happy with their placement, gently press the bottles into the sand to make an indent. Remove them and scoop out another 10 mm of sand from the indent, using a spoon. The bottles should lie with the neck of the bottle just above the river sand base and at an angle so that the neck is higher than the base of the bottle. Push the removed river sand under the necks of the bottles, and compact it slightly. Note that wherever there is sand there will be no cement.

4. Mix together two parts 12 mm building stone, four parts fine river sand and two parts cement with water to create a runny mixture, similar to sloppy yoghurt. Use very little stone as you don’t want to add to the weight of the panel. Pour the concrete mixture between the necks so that it is half way up each bottle’s neck. Work the concrete mixture under the necks of the bottles and in between the bottles. The aim is to get the ends of the bottles embedded in the concrete mixture while leaving most of the necks and bodies of the bottles clean. Allow to dry for 4-5 hours.

5. Using the spoon, remove some of the hardening cement mixture next to the bottles so as to expose more glass. Use a sponge to smooth the edges. Cover and allow to cure for approximately two days.


6. Remove the frame, dust off the river sand base and then spray the panel clean. Choose a place in the garden where sunlight will light up your new ‘stained glass’ screen.

The Gardener