Oil Drum Up Cycle -

This adorable duo is a real eye catching container garden project that just makes you want to smile, even when it's raining! Just 2 old oil drums, 2 umbrellas, latex paint, styrofoam, soil and some hanging baskets are what you need to complete it.
Cute container gardens that are sure to catch the eye.
Step One: Buy 2 umbrellas with the colors of your choice. Match your paint at your local hardware store to ensure a perfect result. 1 quart per colour will do the trick.
Step 2: Paint several coats of latex paint to cover.
Step 3: Sketch your face on the drum with pencil. Paint your details using a good artist brush and acrylic craft paint.
Step 4: Fill the bottom of the drum with styrofoam and top up with good quality container garden soil mix.
Step 5: Plant each barrel with 3 - 12" mixed hanging baskets per drum. Fill in with soil. Add 2 cups of Slow Release Fertilizer and water well.
Ensure that you secure your umbrellas so they do not blow away on a windy day!
Tamara Jansen

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

7 questions
  • Pam Smith
    on Mar 4, 2016

    Were the flowers taken out of the baskets and then planted in the soil?

    • Cheryl
      on Nov 19, 2016

      Looks like they took the whole basket contents out of the basket and set it on top of the soil, then filled in around the basket shaped rounds with soil.

  • Pam Smith
    on Mar 4, 2016

    Wonder how those aluminum trashcans would work,even plastic ones? Guess would have to improvise on the weight inside

    • Eileen
      on Sep 29, 2016

      I had an old trash can, cut it in half, sprayed painted it bright orange, filled with crushed pop cans, filled with dirt and planted Hostas in them, work great. I needed something to put under shade tree where nothing else seem to grow, they did great.

  • Jean Carroll
    on Apr 11, 2016

    Where can you find umbrells?

  • Diane Smith
    on Nov 26, 2016

    Where do I look for these drums? Want to do something similar, (prob. less creative than yours). How did you clean them? And did you trace on your pattern or do it freehand? Very talented.

    • Tamara Jansen
      on Nov 26, 2016

      I live right across the street from an antique place that carries all sorts of things including a double decker bus! That's where I got mine :)

  • Donna
    on Jul 25, 2019

    Love this idea! I copied the steps so maybe I can make them next Spring. Where do I buy oil drums like this though?

  • Wendy
    on Jul 25, 2019

    wondering if galvanized garbage cans will work at well? This is a cute project that I would like to try.

  • Anne Wolowiec
    on Mar 2, 2020

    What do you use to secure the umbrellas?

Join the conversation

2 of 30 comments
  • Kelly-n-Tony
    on Jul 28, 2019

    This project has been on my to-do list for years! Glad to see someone did it!

  • MaryAnn B
    on Mar 2, 2020

    Good idea Wendy. I think anything galvanized would work and they can be purchased at any feed or farm store in so many sizes. I just picked up some galvanized cherry picking buckets, that should do the trick for me. Then I could hang them like a hanging basket.

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