Easy to make colourful tin can planters

Colourful Tin Can planters and Pallet Holder

I live in a Victorian semi townhouse, so I just have a small town garden. When the sun is shining there is nothing more I like to do than to bask on my outdoor sofa. This year I decided to brighten up my little coffee corner in the garden with these colourful tin can planters. They were really easy to make and cost me next to nothing as they were made from recycled items, and stuff I already had in my DIY cupboard.
This colourful tin can planter is so easy to make and costs almost nothing. The pallet holder really adds to the rustic nature of this project and is so easy.


Upcycled tin can planters pillarboxblue.com
This post contains amazon affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to see my disclosure policy.

What you need to make the tin can planters

  • 12 Empty tin cans
  • Old paints in as many colours as you have
  • Paint brush
  • Acrylic varnish spray
  • Old pallet
  • Saw
  • Nails

empty cans
Upcycled can planters pillarboxblue.com


How to make the tin can planters

  1. First, gather your paints. I emptied out my DIY cupboard of all bits of paint I had. This was a right mixture of emulsion, chalk paints, spray paints and sample pots. It doesn’t matter what kind of paint you use, you are more interested in getting a variety of colours. Once you’ve got your paints just simply paint each tin can a different colour. You can always mix paints to get more colours or use cheap sample pots. You don’t need much paint to cover a tin can.

  3. Once they are all painted and dry, carefully spray your colourful cans all over with an acrylic varnish. This will seal in your paint and make it waterproof, that’s why it doesn’t matter what kind of paint your paint scraps are.
    painted canss2

    How to make the wooden plant holder

  5. I found my wooden pallet in a skip (dumpster) on my road. Skips are a good place to pick up pallets, and as long as you ask most people will happily let you have them. I sawed the bottom rung off the pallet. Then removed a wooden plank from further up the pallet and nailed this to the sawn-off piece to make a wooden trough. I then sanded the trough all over to smooth out the rough edges.

pallets raw
cut pallets
can planters gawker lge2

Filling the can planters

Bedding plants (I used violas)
Shingle or small pebbles or stones,
Activated charcoal
Potting compost
I am by no means a green-fingered gardener. A few years ago I made some terrariums with my Beaver cubs, and as these terrariums are still going strong, I have decided that the planting method I used was a good one.
Firstly, I filled the cans about a third of the way up with shingle, to provide a drainage layer. For the second layer, I added some activated charcoal, also to help with water absorption. I then followed this with a small layer of sand and placed the bedding plants in the top third of the cans with potting compost. You can also drill holes in the bottom of the cans to aid drainage.

Upcycled can planters pillarboxblue.com

These upcycled can planters have really brightened up my little outdoor coffee nook. I’m so pleased with how they turned out. I’m still saving cans to make some more for my window sills and have some other ideas for upcycled cans in the pipeline.
Since posting this, I have made some gorgeous even more colourful Marimekko planters.
DIY Marimekko decorative tin can planters
Check out some of my other outdoor tin can ideas.
Upcycled window herb planter
Happy Hour Upcycled Window
Copper and denim caddy
If your looking for more thrifted planter ideas check out cheapthriftyliving.com

This post contains amazon affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to see my disclosure policy.

32 Responses

  1. I absolutely LOVE this idea Claire! I’m looking for something to make as a nice planter outside my kitchen window! I think I have found what I want to create! Such great inspiration! 🙂

    • Thank you so much Maria. I still have it in the garden and have just planted new bedding plants in it and it looks lovely and cherry.

  2. These are perfect for Spring Claire! I am famous for my brown thumb but I may just give it a try.

    • Thank you ! They do look lovely in the garden, I have made more since posting this.

  3. I just love these – I did some one year but only in aqua – LOVE LOVE LOVE all the different colors.
    I have a Monday post I do where I showcase color – would love to use your project ( one photo with a link and full credit to your blog ) let me know if that would be ok ( perfectly understand if it’s not )
    Now I’m off to pin this fabulous project !

    • Thank you ! Yes feel free to use a photo from my post and link. Thanks for asking.

  4. Omgee, Claire, crazy simple and crazy beautiful!!!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you very much ! Sometimes simple is beautiful !

  5. Love love love! Especially together with that sun, perfect combo.

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you very much ! I picked the sun up in Mexico over 20 years ago.

  6. Love this project too!! Pinned both your tin can projects 🙂 Thanks for sharing at the Create With Me party!! Get your “hanger” projects ready for next month!!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks ! Glad you liked them.

  7. Rustic and colorful, just sooo pretty. Love your pallet planter box, too. Pinning and sharing!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you ! I just love splashes of colour.

  8. so so beautiful! And I love that you picked a piece of split wood for the “railing” on the box. Adds more charm to an already charming project! Pinning.

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks, I agree the irregular wood adds to the project.

  9. I need this in my life!! This tin can planter is AWESOME!! i love all the colors, it’s like tie dye!! I have been planning a window box, now I know what I want it to look like for sure! or maybe along the fence line….or both! thanks for sharing the inspiration with us at the creative challenge!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you and thank you for hosting

  10. Incredible upcycling! Love the use of the pallets and the tin cans. Looks great! Thank you so much for sharing with us at the Creative Craft Challenge!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thank you

  11. Adorable! I love how the bright colors are played on the rustic. Oh, love the fish! Thanks for linking up to Choose Save Tuesday!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks, the fish is actually a lantern it’s so old I can’t even remember when I first got it.

  12. I think these are the cutest things, really would give a yard some extra color!!

    Would love to have you stop by and share on my Friday Features!!
    Hope you enjoy your weekend!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks glad you like them and thanks for the invite

  13. ok, first i am loving this font. second, i am loving your sun decor. third, i am loving the colorful plantings!

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks, I actually picked up the blue sun from a holiday in Mexico about 15 years ago.

  14. This is a great way to brighten up an outdoor space, I love it! I’ve included your post in my Five on Friday roundup today. Have a great weekend 🙂

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks glad you like them

  15. Nicole @ House of Nicnax

    Hi! Just discovered your lovely blog – now following via Bloglovin!
    I love this project – they look fantastic! I think I may need to do this for my garden!

    Nic x

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks Love the fact that this projects uses old paint bits and tins so doesn’t cost anything to do. Good luck with the project. X

  16. Looks amazing! Bright and cheery just in time for summer.

    • Claire Armstrong

      Thanks, they really do brighten up my wall.

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