How to turn old paint cans into a pretty planter

A cool and colourful addition to any terrace

A load of old tin paint cans and a disused wooden pallet might not sound like the most attractive addition to your outdoor space. But it’s amazing what a spot of upcycling and a little imagination can do with those so-called pieces of junk sitting in the back of your garage.

From boring to botanical

Transforming the banal into the beautiful, this colourful and quirky paint-can-and-pallet plant holder from the Pillar Box Blue blog is guaranteed to liven up a tired terrace. 

What you’ll need:

  • 12 Empty tin cans
  • Plants (we love violets for autumn/winter)
  • Old paints in as many colours as you have
  • Paint brush
  • Acrylic varnish spray
  • Old pallet
  • Saw
  • Nails
Tin can planters

How to make it:

1. Gather your paints. Any will do (emulsion, chalk paints, spray paints, sample pots)

2. Paint each can a different colour.

3. Spray your cans with an acrylic varnish to seal and waterproof your paint.

4. Saw off the bottom rung of your pallet.

5. Remove a plank from further up the pallet and nail this to the sawn off piece to make a trough.

6. Sand your trough down to smooth out any rough edges.

Tin can planters

Fill your planter!

Fill the cans a third of the way up with shingle to provide a drainage layer, add a layer of activated charcoal (also to help with water absorption. Add a thin layer of sand and fill the final third of the can with potting compost and pot your plants.

With their heart-shaped, scalloped leaves Violas make an attractive addition to your autumn garden, with flowers ranging in colour from violet, through various shades of blue, yellow, white, and cream. You could also try colourful pansies for colour pop effect. But most outdoor plants will do. Why not use your planter as a terrace herb garden? 

See the Pillar Box Blue blog for more botanical ideas.