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Tin Can Planters

Updated: Jun 27, 2022

Tin can planters hanging on a wall.

Now that Spring has sprung, we have been featuring a lot of gardening content on The UP Cycled Thread. Gardening is very sustainable, because not only does it provide us with our own homegrown produce, but it also teaches us about the environment and allows us to appreciate it differently.

This guide features one of the easiest things to upcycle: a tin can planter. Landowners can create their own gardens or garden boxes, so this guide is mostly for those who don't have access to their own land, but anybody can do this! And although we are using cans as the example, this can be done with glass jars and old waste buckets, too! (With that said, all images used will come from other sources online, because it seems I've recycled all my cans and jars. RIP!)

Related: Furoshiki: Upcycling How-To


Tin or aluminum can (or glass jar, waste bucket, etc.)

Drill (if using glass) or poking device

Paint (Optional: if you want to make your own design on your new planter)

Soil (Avoid peat moss, and here's why)

Seeds of your choosing

Safety goggles (mainly if using glass)

Step 1: Clean your can

Rip off the label, clean out any food residue with soap and water, and set aside to dry.

Tin can

Step 2: Drill or poke a hole in the bottom of can

If you've ever looked at the bottom of a flowerpot, you've noticed that each one has a hole in the bottom of it. This is to allow excess water to drain out of the soil. Wearing safety goggles, flip your can over, and either drill or poke out a small hole, anywhere from 3 to 5 cm in diameter. If poking, I like to use a Phillips head screwdriver, which has that point and sturdiness needed to break through the thin metal. If drilling through glass, be very careful as to not break or shatter it. Wash your hands and the can afterwards to get rid of any shards or metal shavings.

Optional Step: Paint the can

Now would be the best time to paint whatever design you want! Using a sustainable brand of paint or color is always a plus! Make sure you allow it to dry completely before moving on.

Yellow, red, green, blue painted cans found on Pinterest
Painted cans found on Pinterest

Step 3: Add soil

This one is self-explanatory, but I would recommend filling the can up with soil at least 3/4s of the way.

Step 4: Plant seeds

You are now ready to start planting! Each plant, fruit, and vegetable is different, so plant the seeds according to the directions on the seed packet.

Painted tin can planters with plants growing out of them.

And there you have it: an easy, DIY, upcycled can planter! Not only have you avoided the risk of your can or jar ending up in a landfill rather than being properly recycled, but you now have a means of growing your own plants and produce!

I hope you've enjoyed this guide, and feel free to share it with your family and friends who are looking to get into gardening and planting. Thanks for reading!


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