How to Make a Floating Island

Whether you live in the tropics or near the Great Lakes of Michigan, you can create a floating island as big or as little as you like. Some people have created a livable space on their islands where they can grow vegetation, raise animals and even build small homes. If you want to start off small and try your hand at creating your very own small island, this is the perfect project to get you started. By recycling plastic water bottles and soda bottles, you can create a base for an island that will float on the water.

  1. Take up to 150 empty plastic bottles and place them snuggly into the fishing nets, secure with 12-inch zip cable ties and then set the nets aside.
  2. Take your bamboo rods and place into a waffle or criss-cross position. Secure with the large 12-inch zip cable ties to form your base.
  3. On a secure surface, attach the plywood to the bamboo base using a hammer and nails.
  4. Attach the landscaping plastic by lightly tacking it to the top of the base with nails. Trim the landscaping plastic to fit the base of the floating island.
  5. Flip the base upside down and attach the fishing nets with the bottles to the underside of the platform. Tie a rope with a weighted plastic milk jug full of sand to the handle of the jug and a piece of the bamboo.
  6. Place the floating raft into the water and allow the milk jug to anchor the floating island. Begin to fill the surface of the floating island with 1 inch of sand.
  7. Step carefully onto the island, and plant trees and flowers on the island to create a natural environment.
  8. Use all-natural items such as bamboo or other plants to form a tiki hut or other natural furniture for your floating island.

Things You Will Need

  • 500 to 1,000 empty plastic bottles
  • 20 fishing nets
  • 60 plastic zip cable ties (12 inches long)
  • 20 bamboo rods
  • Three 10 by 10 plywood panels
  • Box of 2-inch nails
  • Hammer
  • Three large rolls of landscaping plastic
  • Scissors
  • Sand
  • Natural earthy elements such as plants
  • 10-foot rope
  • Milk jug filled with sand


  • Ask permission from the township that you live in to see if you need a permit to build or walk on the island while it is floating in the water.
  • Limit the number of people who can go onto the island at a time because it will weigh the floating island down.
  • Maintain your floating island by keeping greenery watered and debris clear of the island.
  • If you live in a weather zone where the water freezes, you will have to bring your floating island in and out of the water before freezing temperatures set in.


  • Make sure to bring only lightweight items onto the island; otherwise, it could sink.
  • Have proper lifesaving equipment on the floating island for safety purposes.
  • Do not crush or contort the bottles; they will lose buoyancy.

About the Author

Julie Boehlke is a seasoned copywriter and content creator based in the Great Lakes state. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Boehlke has more than 10 years of professional writing experience on topics such as health and wellness, green living, gardening, genealogy, finances, relationships, world travel, golf, outdoors and interior decorating. She has also worked in geriatrics and hospice care.