Vela Creations is an in-depth resource for off grid living. The site documents our research and experiences, hoping that they might help others interested in pursuing this lifestyle. This blog is designed to document our day to day experiences as we build our new, sustainable homestead. If you are interested in seeing more photos and videos, we have a flickr account at the following url:

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bottle Wall

While Abe and a friend have started to frame the roof (I'll make a post on that at a later date, when it is a little further along), I begun a small bottle wall that joins the current building to the new one on the south side.

It's a slow, but very enjoyable project. I've only done 5 layers so far, but the light already comes through and the wind plays them like an instrument.

I'm using a 3:1 mix with added fibers and I LOVE the fibers. They are cheap, but make the stucco so much easier to smooth and sculpt. Plus there has been no cracking, even though it has been hot and very windy, and my covering is constantly blown off.

We are using bottles found by the side of the road. Unfortunately, we don't have much variety beyond clear and brown, although Abe did find 4 blue bottles on his last city trip, which will be going in soon!

For more photos, click here.


  1. Hey Josie, Can you explain the fibers a bit more? You've sparked my interest. Also, how does this mix differ from the mix on the rest of the structure?

  2. Hi Trevor. I think the fibers are fiber glass (though they don't get under your skin and itch like insulation does). You would be able to find them in OJ at any hardware store (not sure about Alpine).

    You add them to your concrete mix before adding water and they act as a reinforcement, kind of like using metal. They prevent the concrete from cracking, and help it bind together.

    Do NOT use them as a scratch coat for stucco, as it is hard to get them into the lathing and makes that process very slow. They are best for a mortar or finish coat.


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