DIY Upcycled Window and Tin Cans Herb Planter
Turn a discarded old window into a gorgeous garden feature of an upcycled window herb planter.
When a good friend recently had new windows, she was going to discard the hundred-year-old sashes she’d replaced. Luckily I managed to stop her!
Wendy was a bit skeptical about my plans to turn the old windows into a lovely feature for the garden. However, in the end, she was delighted with the result and said that it was one of her favourite upcycles.
Not only does the upcycled window herb planter looks fantastic in my little garden but it’s really practical, as I now have my own little herb garden. The herbs are in portable upcycled tin can planters, that can be easily taken into the kitchen when needed.
I used tin cans as planters, as I had great success with them with the colourful planter I made last summer.
I can’t resist a pun especially when it comes to song lyrics (see Sit Down cushion), so that’s why I went for one of my favourite 80’s classics Cyndi Laupers “Time after Time” for my window sign.
This is a free tutorial and template. The sign was hand painted without using a stencil, so no specialist stencil printer needed just a normal printer.
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What you need to make an upcycled window herb planter
- Old window – Any old wooden window would do. Just keep an eye out in skips or for anyone having new windows put in. Most people will happily give you their old windows for free. It saves them having to make a trip to the dump.
- Tin cans – I used six standard sized tin cans for my window herb planter.
- Spray paint for the cans.
- Cavallini vintage insect wrapping paper for my images. They also produce and butterflies wrapping paper that I think will work just as well.
- Old piece of pallet wood to make window shelf.
- Six strong magnets (optional).
- Scissors, glue, spray varnish, hammer, nails and a drill.
- Bee and sign template which you can download here: Bee Template & Thyme Sign Template.
- Paints suitable for painting on glass and brushes. I used just 2 colours black and yellow.
How to make your upcycled window herb planter
PART ONE: Painting the Window
- For sash windows that were over a hundred years old Wendy’s windows were in remarkably good nick. As I prefer the more rustic look I scuffed them up a bit with a hot air gun and scraper followed with a coating of dark wax.
- Print off your templates for painting (see above for pdf downloads). I wanted to paint on the back of the window so I printed off a mirror image of the “Thyme after Thyme”. However as it didn’t matter which way round the Bee was, I just painted it normally.
- After cleaning your windows tape your template to the front of your windows where you want to paint. As I wanted to paint the back of the window, this took me a while to work out where I was placing my templates (I’m not very good at working back to front). You don’t have to paint on the back, you could just paint the front which would be easier but you won’t get such a smooth finish.
- Using my template as a guide I just painted over the words and bee on the window using glass paint. You can use acrylic paints but I don’t think they give as nice a finish and will probably need a sealant on top.
- Spray paint the tin can planters a creamy off white colour. One coat will do.
- Drill four small holes in the cans to allow for drainage.
- Carefully cut out six insects from your wrapping paper. You can allow for a small border around the legs as the background of the wrapping paper should just blend in with the tins.
- Stick one paper insect to the front of each can using PVA or mod podge glue.
- Seal the outside of the cans by either covering in waterproof mod podge or by spraying with an acrylic varnish.
- Place some gravel in the bottom of the cans. This is to provide a drainage layer before adding your soil and herbs.
- Originally I had the idea that I would just attach the tin can planters to the window using magnets. So I stuck six strong magnets to the bottom of the window frame. These magnets worked brilliantly with empty cans. However, when the cans were full of gravel and soil they became too heavy and slipped down the magnets.
To solve this problem I just got a bit of old pallet wood and screwed it to the underside of the bottom of the window frame to create a little ledge to help support the tins.
If you use super strong magnets you may not need the ledge. You could, of course, use the ledge without magnets but I do find the magnets keep the herbs tins in place and stop them from being blown off.
PART TWO: Making the tin can herb planters
PART THREE: Attaching your herb planters to the window.
As this was a originally a sash window, I just replaced the exisiting sash cord with some new sash cord and used this to hang my window to the wall.
*Click here to can see the Marimekko bench upcyclce
If you are looking for other planter ideas you should check out my mosaic wall planter I made from broken crockery.
You could of course plant flowers instead of herbs in your tin cans. I’m sure there are loads of good songs with flowers in the title!
Other herb garden song pun suggestions are:
“I had the thyme of my life” – For the Dirty Dancing fans,
“Parsley, sage, Rosemary and Thyme”
I’m sure you can think of better ones, I’d love to hear them.