How to Make Inexpensive Planters From Recycled Tin Cans

7 Materials
$8
1 Day
Easy

Do you usually toss your empty tin cans into the garbage or recycle bin?

That’s what I always did until I found a creative way to recycle them.

In less than half an hour of hands-on time, you can turn an empty tin can into a textured planter that’s guaranteed to be as unique as your creativity.
how to make inexpensive planters from recycled tin cans
I don't know anyone who doesn't have food cans around. And when they're empty, they usually make their way to the trash or recycle bin.

The next time you empty a few, set them aside for this easy and inexpensive textured DIY planter project instead.
how to make inexpensive planters from recycled tin cans
Here's all you'll need for your planters:
  • empty food cans (use whatever size or combination of sizes you want)
  • spackle compound
  • plastic putty knife
  • plastic fork
  • an old toothbrush
  • paint and brush
how to make inexpensive planters from recycled tin cans
Start by drilling a few drainage holes in the bottom of your cans, then spreading a good layer of spackle compound on the outside.

You want it thick enough to cover well. If you can spread frosting on a cake, you've got this!
how to make inexpensive planters from recycled tin cans
Once the putty is on the can, use the putty knife to smooth the sides and scrape any excess from the top.

An easy way to make sure each side is the same thickness is to turn the can horizontally and look at it from the end. You can then adjust with the putty knife as you need to.

If you like the smooth look, you can leave it as it is, or if you want more texture, go ahead and do that while it's wet and moldable.
how to make inexpensive planters from recycled tin cans
You can get this texture by smacking the putty with the side of the putty knife.
how to make inexpensive planters from recycled tin cans
Drag a plastic fork down the sides to get this texture.
how to make inexpensive planters from recycled tin cans
And this finer texture is from an old toothbrush. It's similar to the first texture, but a bit finer.
how to make inexpensive planters from recycled tin cans
When you've texturized your planters, set them aside to dry. The cool thing about this spackle compound is that it goes on pink, then dries white.

Plan to allow 6-8 hours for a complete drying time, but it can vary, depending on your location or humidity.
how to make inexpensive planters from recycled tin cans
After they dry, give your planters a coat of paint, fill with some soil and plants, and you've got a set of planters that are totally unique. Nobody will probably ever suspect you've got recycled cans under there.
how to make inexpensive planters from recycled tin cans
This is the same technique I used on some glass jars last fall, and if you'd like to see a video demo of how to do it, visit the blog or Hometalk post that features that project.
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 24 questions
  • Cynthia Nye
    on Aug 31, 2018

    So...I bet this will work on hanging planters? I have several standard 8" hanging plants; I think I'll just dable on the sides, just tie up the vines to access the planter and let it dry. Green underneath could even peek through. How cute! No need to repot (lazy like that).

  • Mary M
    on Sep 2, 2018

    Can they go outside or will the compound dissolve?

    • To Work With My Hands
      on Sep 2, 2018

      I don't recommend exposing them to full weather. If you want to use them on a covered porch or patio, put a really good sealer on them because even humidity in the air will be a consideration. I've not tried them outdoors, so I can't guarantee even that will work, but I'd definitely seal them before trying them outside.

  • Vjd4961731
    on Sep 4, 2018

    Spackle is not a good mix with water. won't it get soft, crumble and break off if it gets wet.???? Any time I have gotten ot wet that's what happens

    • Gina
      on Sep 6, 2018

      Use bondo instead. That’s what they use on cars. Just be sure to wear gloves and a mask.

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