Build a Simple Hydroponic Vase

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Build a Simple Hydroponic Vase

When I was a teenage space nerd, I decided that I needed to understand hydroponics, as that was the way that astronauts in space ships, space stations, and moon colonies were going to grow their own food. I ordered the hydroponic kits and components recommended in The Whole Earth Catalog and began my brief foray into soil-less gardening from outer space.

In this video and project, Instructables member Michelle Krasny introduces hydroponics and then shows you how she built a simple laser-cut vase that uses a wick and sand as the substrate/moisture delivery system. If you don’t have easy access to a laser cutter, you can get the parts cut by mail order services, such as Ponoko. You could also simply cut and build your own parts by hand. The vase is basically a small rectangular tube suspended inside of a larger rectangular, waterproof box. That’s about it.

FZ05X5NIMYZX1D7.LARGEHere are the basic finished components, the main body of the vase (right), laser cut from white acrylic, glued, and waterproofed. The inner square tube (left) has holes drilled in it to allow water from the water reservoir of the vase to soak the wick which is inside the tube. The substrate holds the plant and sits on top of the wick. The wick draws water and nutrients from the reservoir, which feeds the substrate, which feeds the plant. And that’s all there is to it. Space gardening is easy!

hydroVase_2Michelle includes the design files you need to cut your own components. Many cities and towns have hackerspaces, library makerspaces, and other places with ShopBots, laser cutters, and other machines that can cut your files. Ask around. Or go mail order. Or simply cut out your own.

hydroVase_1The finished vase. Just keep it filled with water and Miracle Grow and you’ll be harvesting delicious space-age food in no time.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


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