DIY Upcycled Planters

As people become more environmentally conscious, reusing and recycling items that are old, broken or disused has become more and more popular. By taking things that would otherwise be thrown away and upcycling them to create something new, you can save money, reduce your carbon footprint and make something truly unique for your home or garden.

Crystal, a member of our e-commerce team, made the most of the sunshine over the weekend and turned a rusty old tin bath into a rustic planter. In this guide we will go through the steps she took to turn her vintage bath into a suitable home for her strawberry plants. One of the great things about upcycling is that you can use whatever you have to hand, so we have tried to make sure the steps in this guide are suitable to follow whether you’re looking to give new life to a bucket that has a hole in or you’re finally going to make use of that single wellington boot you accidentally brought back from Glastonbury.

What do I need?

Something old
Weed membrane
Protective gloves
Top soil
Plant of your choosing

Preparing your Planter

For Crystal, our data integrity manager, and her tin bath, the first step was the easiest as rust had already done most of the hard work for her as she was able to tap most of the bottom of the bath out with a hammer and remove few stubborn bits of tin left with a pair of pliers. 

Rusty Tin Bath

If you are looking to create a planter that will stay in one place, the base of the planter can be removed completely to allow proper drainage. For smaller planters or planters that will need to be moved, for instance if they are likely to be on a patio or decked area, drilling a series of small holes in the base for drainage will suffice.

  • If you are drilling holes into the base of the item you are upcycling, it is important that you spread the holes out to ensure even drainage. 
  • If you are removing the base entirely, you may want to sand down any sharp edges to make sure that if you do ever need to move the planter it will be safe to do so.

Colander Planter

Photo Credit: Pretty Things by Kristen

A colander, like the one in the picture above, is great because it already has the holes in place and is ready for the next step!

If you want to paint your planter, now is the best time to do so. For metal items, choosing a varnish or weather protector can help to prevent further rust or corrosion. Adding colour can also be a great way to make your planter blend in or stand out, dependant on the colour you choose and the look you’re going for, just make sure you choose a paint that is suited to life outdoors.

Upcycled Kettle Planters

Photo Credit: Donna at Funky Junk Interiors

Using bright colours to create a contrast to the original colour of your item is a great way to make a real focal point in your garden. If you’re making more than one plant pot, using a colour theme can really tie everything together and is ideal for smaller gardens or outside spaces.

Painted Tin Planters

Photo Credit: Rebecca at the Crafted Sparrow

Filling your Planter

Crystal used her tin bath to cover up a tree stump that was left in her garden by the previous owners of the house. If you are creating a static planter, it will need to be put in place prior to filling. Make sure you’re happy with the space you have chosen, as moving may be tricky when the planter is full of gravel and soil, especially if it has no base!
  1. Line static planters with a weed membrane to prevent weed growth.
  2. Place a layer of gravel or pebbles mixed with compost and soil at the very bottom of your planter for drainage.
  3. Fill the container ¾ of the way with a mix of soil and compost.
  4. Plant your plant or seed of choice according to the directions for your specific plant type.
  5. Fill the rest of the container to just below the top with the soil and compost mix.
Different types of plants have different needs so it is important that you make sure it has the correct amount of light, warmth and water to grow. We have made sure Crystal is taking particular notice of the last point, as here is her finished planter…

Finished Tin Bath Planter

Which we’re hoping will yield enough Strawberries to share,  come June ready for the start of Wimbledon!

You could even upcycle some smaller items for use as plant pots inside, or get creative with sturdy string or twine to make hanging baskets.

Chandelier Hanging Basket

Photo Credit: DIY Showoff