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Easy Upcycled Decorative Decoupage Tin Can Planters

Inside: A tutorial on the easy way to decoupage tin cans for outdoor and indoor use. With a list of different decoupage materials, you can use at the end.

I partly made these decorative tin can planters to use up some of my paper napkin stashes!

Whenever I go into a Scandinavian/Nordic interior shop, I wander around swooning over all the beautifully designed furniture. I can’t afford the furniture but don’t want to leave empty-handed, so I buy a pack of Marimekko paper napkins.

Marimekko prints are a favourite of mine and have used their designs in lots of nordic crafts and DIYs. I even have a Marimekko wallpapered staircase in my home and a unique decoupaged Marimekko bench in the garden.

DIY Colourful Spring Decorative Tin Can Planters

This time I thought it would be fun to show off lots of the Marimekko designs in one go. That’s when I got the idea for making a load of upcycled decorative tin can planters for the garden with paper napkins. I love repurposing tin cans into planters and collecting them throughout the year.

You may think you aren’t a paper napkin decoupage addict like me. And you, I don’t want to buy lots of packets of paper napkins, to make some decorative tin can planters.

Well, you don’t have to; many sellers on eBay sell paper napkins in small amounts specifically for decoupage. You can easily buy a variety of Marimekko paper napkins without having to buy lots of packets.

DIY Marimekko decorative tin can planters

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Materials Needed For Decoupage

  • Empty tin cans – I used lots of the normal soup-sized cans and a few big catering tin cans.
Empty tin cans
  • Marimekko Paper Napkins – As I have mentioned on eBay, you can buy just a few napkins at a time rather than a whole packet for each design. You only actually need one napkin per tin can.
Selection of Marimekko paper napkins

For planting

  • Drill with a steel drill bit
  • Small Stones
  • Potting soil
  • Bedding plants

How To Decoupage Tin Can

Step 1: Spray paint the tin can planters white before decoupaging them. The paper napkins are very thin, and the planters will look better with a white background.

I think tin cans in various sizes look great with this upcycle.

white painted cans

Step 2: Next, cut up the Marimekko paper napkin to the size of the can to be covered. I used a rotary cutter and mat for this.

With the larger cans, you may need to use more than one paper napkin per can.

Step 3: Next, cover the whole of the tin can in Mod Podge or other decoupage glue. It is best to add glue to the can, not the napkins, as they are very thin and likely to tear.

Step 4: Then, separate the cut three-ply napkin from the top printed ply. Gently rub the paper napkin between your thumb and forefinger to separate the ply layers more easily.

Carefully lay the paper napkin onto the Mod Podge-covered tin and press down using a large foam brush. Wrap the napkin around the tin until it is all covered.

How to decoupage a tin can.

Step 5: Once the glue has dried, spray paint the decorative tin can with at least two coats of acrylic varnish. Allowing the varnish to dry in between coats. This will help protect the decorative tin can planters from the elements,

Collection of Marimekko tin can planters.

Making The Tin Can Planters

I planted the Marimekko tin cans the same way I planted my colourful tin can planters.

First I drilled holes in the bottom of the cans for drainage. I then added a layer of stones before the potting soil and bedding plants.

Potting Marimekko planters
Marimekko tin can planters

Now, all that is left is deciding how to display the decorative tin can planters. I sprayed my Marimekko planters with acrylic spray as I wanted them outdoors in the garden rather than indoors.

They brighten up the brick wall in my traditional Victorian walled garden.

Decoupaging with Other Materials.

Even though paper napkins work well when decoupaging tin cans, other papers and materials can also work well, such as;

  • Gift wrap – check out these tin can Easter baskets.
  • Old road maps – Maps can make a tin can upcycle special if you use maps of places relevant to you
  • Fabric – Fabric decoupage can look vibrant; check out this fabric vase.
  • Wallpaper samples are just the perfect size to wrap around a standard tin can.
  • Book pages, newspapers and magazines

I also have a tutorial for a cool Marimekko indoor plastic bottle herb garden which is great for the kitchen. There is also a Marimekko version of these hanging soda can planters.

One thing is for sure these Marimekko planters are a cheap and easy way to add a lot of colour to my garden. I’m busy saving more tin cans to upcycle into decorative planters.

I think the more, the merrier. I’ve even made some oriental vase tin can planters for the garden to add to this collection.

Marimekko decorative tin can planters
Marimekko Decorative tin can planters
Marimekko Decorative tin can planters

 Check out these seed packet planters and this window tin can herb garden for more decoupaged tin can ideas.
If you are looking for an even easier tin can planter idea that doesn’t involve decoupage check out these gold crushed tin can planters. Or you can find more upcycled planter ideas on Favecrafts.

I have an indoor version of this craft with the Marimekko mini bud vases made from upcycled Yakult bottles.

Another way to give tin cans a Marimekko makeover is to use wallpaper samples. I did this when I made a cool Marimekko desk caddy, and with these beautiful paper vases.

This post was featured in the 50 best upcycles for the garden and in the collection of summer crafts.

Upcycled decorative Marimekko tin can planters

Lynette Leplat

Tuesday 10th of May 2022

Sooo pretty! Love all the designs and there’s so many ways to use tin cans!

Claire Armstrong

Wednesday 11th of May 2022

Thank you so much, they are fun to make.

Tolle DIY-Blechdosen-Ideen für den Garten - Garten- und Bioprodukte

Monday 11th of October 2021

[…] Einfache Upcycled Marimekko dekorative Blechdosen-Pflanzgefäße […]

Rhea Pentz

Friday 27th of September 2019

Hi, Love the great colors and patterns. I was wondering if you could use scrapbook paper instead of napkins.

Claire Armstrong

Monday 30th of September 2019

Thank you, you could try scrapbook paper as long as it wasn’t too thick.


Wednesday 10th of July 2019

These take me back to the '70's when I saw my first Marimekko giant pillows in a house in San Francisco! So bright and cheerful. Loved it then. Love these now.. And easy to do!

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 11th of July 2019

Thank you, I’m actually making some Marimekko pillows at the moment. So very 70’s.

Kids of the Wild

Friday 14th of September 2018

Love these, so bright and effective.

Claire Armstrong

Saturday 15th of September 2018

Thank you so much ?