How to Make an Upcycled Window Herb Planter

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.
Upcycle window herb planter. Turn an old window and some tin cans into a stunning herb planter.  Free template download and instructions.
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.
Upcycled Window Herb planter - full tutorial and designs
Upcycled Window herb planter - full tutorial
Upcycled Window Herb planter - full tutorial Pillarboxblue
This post contains amazon affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to see my disclosure policy.

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.

Old sash windows upcycled into herb planter


How to make your upcycled window herb planter

PART ONE: Painting the Window

  1. 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.

  3. 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.

  5. 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.
    Painted window planter

  7. 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.
    Painted window herb planter tutorial
    Painted window herb planter tutorial -

    PART TWO: Making the tin can herb planters

  9. Spray paint the tin can planters a creamy off white colour. One coat will do.

  11. Drill four small holes in the cans to allow for drainage.

  13. 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.

  15. Stick one paper insect to the front of each can using PVA or mod podge glue.

  17. Seal the outside of the cans by either covering in waterproof mod podge or by spraying with an acrylic varnish.

  19. Place some gravel in the bottom of the cans. This is to provide a drainage layer before adding your soil and herbs.
    Decoupage Tin Can planters for upcycled window herb planters

    PART THREE: Attaching your herb planters to the window.

  21. 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.

Upcycled window herb planter

Upcycled window herb planter - free tutorial and template
upcycled window herb planter - tutorial and free template
Upcycled window herb planter -
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.
Upcycled Window Herb Planter -
*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.
Stunning mosaic wall planter made by upcycling broken crockery. Full step by step tutorial.
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”
“Good Thymes”
I’m sure you can think of better ones, I’d love to hear them.


106 Responses

  1. Only Thyme Will Tell
    Once upon a Thyme
    Thyme Moves On
    The Hands Of Thyme
    What Thyme is it?
    It’s not your Thyme
    It’s not Thyme yet
    What Thyme is Supper?
    No Thyme like the Present
    It’s My Thyme

    • Thank you great suggestions, I like Once upon a Thyme best I think 🤔

  2. […] Upcycled Window Herb Planter from […]

  3. What is a skip? You frequently say you find something at a skip. I’m not familiar with that term. Love this project and all your planting projects. Keep them coming 😊

  4. With using old Windows doesn’t the lead paint concern you? You said over 100 years so they are most likely lead paint. The paint will chip and flake and contaminate your herbs. I have lead paint siding which is why I only grow flowers near my house because the ground is contaminated every time the paint chips.

    • Just because the windows where 100years old it doesn’t necessarily mean that the paint is that old to. These windows had been sanded and painted a few times in their lifetime. However, you are right in that whenever using anything with old paint you should consider whether or not it’s lead paint.

  5. Jen

    Thanks for linking up with Be Clean Be Green With Kids this week. What a great idea. I am pretty sure I have all the materials on hand, including the window – ah – from some renovations we did several months ago. Pinning this for later. Hope to see you back this week. 🙂

  6. […] Upcycled Window Herb Planter from Pillar Box Blue […]

  7. Claire I’m crazy about these bug prints! I still haven’t recovered from the red cabinet yet and now you’ve made this gorgeous herb garden I’m just flipping out about it like a frickin drama queen! I love love love all your bug stuff. xx

    • Thank you so much, Cavallini do a couple of bug papers you should check them out.

  8. This is fab, now I just need a friend who is replacing some beautiful old windows! I love the idea that you can bring the tins with the herbs indoors with you.

    • Thanks Julie, it is handy it hangs on the wall outside my kitchen.

      • Hi Claire, just to let you know your fab planter is one of the features at this weeks Handmade Monday – congrats.

  9. This is beautiful Spring project. The tutorial breaks it down into manageable steps. Pinning for future reference. Love it!

    • Thank you Leanna, it sits outside my kitchen window full of herbs for cooking.

  10. I love the reclaimed window, the pun is perfect I am singing along and I am fan of bees so loving this project 🙂

  11. I love this idea – I’d be honored if you shared on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY party!

  12. I do like the look of the cans with the insects on them.

  13. Amazing project, again. I was looking at vertical garden ideas as I have tidied up my patio today and I need to cover a fence. I know I want to use tin cans, but I still don’t know how to play with them and fix them on the fence. This is definitely something to inspire me, thank you :).

    • Thank you, I have seen some tin can projects hanging on fences before in Pinterest and I think they look great.

  14. Gotta’ love this old wood window project. So many incredible projects can be done with those old wood windows. This is so great and genius, so darned cute it’s crazy. Can hardly wait to make this. Still have one old window left from what we brought with us from KY.
    When we lived in western KY, few miles north of Bowling Green, was able to get all the old windows I wanted from place across from clinic. Had gone for appt. one day when I noticed old window place across street. Just had old windows lying out on ground. So I knocked on door to ask about windows, told to take what I wanted, score. When we moved away in Aug. 2004 had to leave several windows behind, boy did that kill me along wit some awesome old doors out of a barn, Still think could have at least smuggled windows in back of old Suburban. Hubs has no appreciation for incredible stuff like old windows and doors, dad rat it.
    Have to say KY was incredible place to find great stuff. Here in western CO, not so much unless we have big bucks to pay. Then have to find out where good stuff is selling. We live few miles west of Grand Junction.
    Are you going to keep your wonderful herb garden window? Imagine it looks pretty awesome hanging out at your house. Enjoy it, did great job, one of a kind.
    Thanks for sharing templates and Cavalini info.
    Happy Mother’s Day

    • Thank you so much. I hope you manage to do something with your windows. Yes I still have my window herb planter in my garden it really looks good in the garden, it’s just outside my kitchen door.

  15. This is a great upcycle. I never seem to find old windows but when I do I will know what to do with it. And I love the pun, of course, I am singing it in my head but I don’t mind because I do like the song.

  16. Those old windows aren’t worth anything for insulation purposes. But, they certainly are useful for farmhouse home decor projects! Your Thyme After Thyme window turned out to be adorable! Looks like lots of work went into this project, with great results. BTW: I’m a big Cyndi Lauper fan.

  17. […] Claire’s upcycled window herb planter is on point with these bee stencils and chippy paint. Hang it outside and you’ve got another vertical garden option. […]

  18. […] glam, it’s amazing! I love the touch of the chalkboard labels too.       3. Upcycled Window Herb Planter – Pillarboxblue   Now these tin cans have been decoupaged with vintage insect graphics for a lovely retro […]

  19. THIS is precious and I am definitely putting my 3frame window to use! Thanks so much!

  20. M

    Thyme to go
    Thyme’s on my side
    For the good thymes
    Thyme & thyme again
    Thyme on my hands
    Thyme’s a wastin’
    Thyme for every season under heaven
    It’s about thyme
    Every thyme….

    • Thank you! I think “it’s about time” and. “For the good thymes” are my favourite.

  21. […] ideas for upcycled cans in the pipeline.   Check out some of my other outdoor tin can ideas. Upcycled window herb planter Happy Hour Upcycled Window Copper and denim caddy   amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit0"; […]

  22. What a fabulous project, Claire! I LOVE it! So unique and creative, plus that you have used all repurposed goodies! Your wonderful project is being featured this week at Waste Not Wednesday-6! Can’t wait to see what you have been up to this week! 🙂

  23. […] Upcycled Window Herb Planter by Pillar Box Blue […]

  24. Another fun project!! thank you for linking up to Waste Not Wednesday this week!

  25. […] Upcycled Window Herb Planter from Pillar Box Blue […]

  26. […] always looking for ways to jazz it up a bit with a few upcycled accessories. A few weeks ago I upcycled an old window into a gorgeous herb planter for my garden. I loved it so much that I decided to upcycle the other old window I had. […]

  27. This is just STUNNING!! Thanks so much for sharing at the Friday Favorites Linky Party, I’ll be featuring your post on my blog this week! Swing by and grab your featured button. Have a BEE-autiful weekend!

  28. Amy

    I think I just found my husbands next project! Beautiful!

  29. Love it! This is just adorable!!! I have two old windows in the basement that I can not decide what to do with…I think you gave me the perfect inspiration!!Thank you so much for sharing with us at Friday Favorites! I would love for you to join me at for the Wonderful Wednesday Link Party…and enter our $40 PayPal Cash Giveaway for May!! Hugs – Christine at Must Love Home

  30. […] She has provided free templates and instructions to make your own herb window at her blog – Pillar Box Blue. […]

  31. How cute and creative! This looks fantastic for spring

  32. This is so flippin cute! Love the graphic and all the vintage chippiness of it!

  33. Claire you are SO crafty and creative. What an absolute delight this post is!!! Thank you so very much for joining the gathering at Thoughts of Home on Thursday.

  34. Claire, I absolutely love what you did with the window and the Thyme after Thyme theme. Thank you so very much for linking this with Thoughts of Home on Thursday. 🙂

    • Thank you for your lovely comment and thanks for the heads up about that other site.

  35. […] pick : Upcycled Window Herb Planter @ Pillar Box Blue (PIN […]

  36. […] Build a Sturdy Tomato Cage by Get Busy Gardening Creative Planter Ideas by Simple Decorating Tips Upcycled Window Herb Planter by Pillar Blue Box DIY Massive Planter Boxes Made From Pallets by Lou Lou Girls Clay Plant Holder […]

  37. […] Up-cycled Window Herb Planter by Pillar Box Blue […]

  38. […] Up-cycled Window Herb Planter by Pillar Box Blue […]

  39. […] Build a Sturdy Tomato Cage by Get Busy Gardening Creative Planter Ideas by Simple Decorating Tips Upcycled Window Herb Planter by Pillar Blue Box DIY Massive Planter Boxes Made From Pallets by Lou Lou Girls Clay Plant Holder […]

  40. […] Upcycled window herb planter by Pillar Box Blue <— click to pin […]

  41. […] 3.Upcycled Window Herb Planter at Pillar Box Blue […]

  42. I love this! Thanks for sharing your great tutorial with Talk of the Town. Pinning and sharing on my FB page too. So clever!

  43. This is quite a project and I love it! I have a spot on my deck where something like this would fit perfectly thank you for the inspiration and thanks for sharing at Celebrate Your Story link party. I hope you join us again next week!

  44. This is beautiful! I love how it turned out. Thank you so much for sharing with us at Merry Monday this week. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find some awesome old windows so I can make one!

  45. What a fabulous repurpose for an old window! It looks really wonderful. And I love that you used tin cans for the herbs, and the play on words with the song title is such fun. Thanks so much for sharing at Vintage Charm.

  46. how cute and handy to useful to use the decorated tin cans for your herbs and what a darling saying, Thyme After Thyme for the garden window! I would love to make a herb garden one of these days. We do have thyme and cilantro growing so far. Thanks for joining the fun on Funtastic Friday!

    • Thank you ! Couldn’t think of any cilantro or coriander puns for some reason.

  47. This is amazing! And I love the pun, too 🙂

  48. LOVE this herb garden idea! Now to find an old window…. 🙂

  49. Really fabulous, and love it with the marimekko bench! thanks for sharing on craft schooling Sunday!

  50. This is soooooo cute. Great job, I love it

  51. Love this 🙂 A perfect spring Diy.

  52. Hi Claire, this is so fun and so beautiful! I love the “thyme after thyme” ! I recently did a little herb garden in a crate, but this is an amazing idea! I am on the lookout for old windows! Thank you so much for linking up at Sweet Inspiration #1, I hope you’ll be back next week!!

  53. Lovely way to reuse an old window. Love the detailed tutorial. sb

  54. Great repurpose Claire. Your projects are all so full of whimsey and fun! And this one looks like something you would find in a high-end store.

    • Thank you very much! Your words are kind, I do like crafts that make people smile.

  55. Fantastic tutorial on an AMAZING project. Those vintage insects on the cans are the icing on the cake.

  56. Love it! What a great use of items that would be otherwise thrown away. I remember my dad making a cold frame with old windows when I was a child. My husband can’t walk past a skip without checking out the contents. We once carried a big roll of carpet the length of our village, we now have a carpet in our loft!

    • Thank you ! I’m like that, I’m always having a look in skips as I walk past, it’s amazing what people throw out.

  57. I love to reuse old windows and I have a few that I have been wanting to hand paint on the glass. This is a really cute design!

  58. I think your window is great! Just my style! Thank you for sharing it with all of us less creative folk!

  59. Claire, how awesome is this window herb planter!!!!! Love those bees!! This is really too cool!!

    • Thank you very much ! I’ve gat a thing about bees at the moment.

  60. This is brilliant. And so very pretty. And a constant supply of fresh herbs. Well done.

  61. This is just crazy cool. Love everything about it and your tutorial for each part is great. Old windows and soup cans are two of my faves for upcycling. Pinning!!

    • Thank you ! I love tin cans myself and this is my first window but definately not my last.

  62. Love this! My potted herbs need a makeover, you have given me great inspiration. Celebrate the bee I say, they are a dying breed 🙁

  63. I love me some cyndi L. Great puns, great project!!!

  64. Those cans are so cute, you kind of forget they are just junky tin cans.

  65. Wonderful idea! It’s great too that you can take the herbs directly into the kitchen. I haven’t planned herbs yet this year, but I will remember this one. Pinning!

    • Thank you ! I cook a lot with herbs and always need mint for a sneaky mojito.

  66. What an adorable idea…love everything about it!

  67. What a super duper upcycle! You put a lot of love into this project and it shows. Ingenious idea to use magnets, as well. xoKathleen Charm Bracelt Diva {At Home}

    • Thank you! Yes the magnets have worked well, I will be using them again.

  68. What a wonderful way to reuse the window. The magnets are brilliant and the whole project turned out so charming! Cheers!

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