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Easy To Make Colourful Tin Can Planters

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. They were made from recycled items and stuff I already had in my DIY cupboard.

Colourful Tin Can Planters and Pallet Holder

I also used an old pallet to make a handy holder for all the rainbow of colourful tin can planters.

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.

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What You Need To Make Rainbow 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

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 mixture of emulsion/latex paints, 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.

rainbow painted tin cans

2. Once they are all painted and dry, carefully spray your painted tin 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.

How to make the wooden plant holder

3. I found a 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.

Saw the bottom rung off the pallet. Then remove a wooden plank from further up the pallet and nail this to the sawn-off piece to make a wooden trough. Then finish off the pallet tin can holder by sanding it smooth.

pallets raw
cut pallets

Filling the Rainbow tin can planters

What you need..

  • Bedding plants (I used violas)
  • Shingle or small pebbles or stones,
  • Activated charcoal
  • Sand
  • 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, fill the cans about a third of the way up with shingle, to provide a drainage layer. For the second layer, add some activated charcoal. This will also help with water absorption.

Then followed this with a small layer of sand and place the bedding plants in the top third of the cans with potting compost.

If you live in a wet climate I suggest that you drill some holes in the base of the tin cans before planting to aid with rainwater drainage.

Preparing the tin can planters for planting
Planting the tin can planters
Upcycled can planters
can planters gawker lge2

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.

The pallet holder makes it really easy to move the tin can planters around. Just lift the pallet holder and move all 12 planters in one go. I think the planters will also look great indoors with succulents and cacti.

Upcycled can planters

Since posting this, I have made some gorgeous even more colourful Marimekko decorative tin can planters, and some hanging Marimekko soda can 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

You can find this post and many wonderful repurposed garden ideas in this round-up of the best garden upcycles.

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Maria | Pastels and Macarons

Monday 10th of April 2017

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! :)

Claire Armstrong

Monday 10th of April 2017

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.

Mary- the boondocks blog

Friday 1st of April 2016

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

Claire Armstrong

Friday 1st of April 2016

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


Sunday 6th of March 2016

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 !

Claire Armstrong

Sunday 6th of March 2016

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