Upcycled Faux Priceless Chinese Vases

5 Materials
30 Minutes

One of my favourite things to do with old tin cans is to upcycle them into planters. Last year I create a riot of colour in my garden with my collection of Marimekko tin can planters (see them here). However, I think this years tin can planters have surpassed those. I have sorted of created an optical illusion with these planters so that they actually look like priceless Chinese vases (kind of!).

upcycled faux priceless chinese vases

I used extra large tin cans for this DIY. If I don't have any catering size tin cans just ask at my local cafe and they happily give me theirs.

upcycled faux priceless chinese vases

First thing to do after removing the lables is to spray paint the tin cans a bright blue colour. You want to choose a blue paint that is similar to the blue you get with blue and white Chinese porcelain.

upcycled faux priceless chinese vases

On my blog (link at the end), using photos of real antique vases I created these large printable vase images. You can download them for free from the blog.

It's best to print these vase images using a laser printer. I get mine done at my local print shop. However, if you have to print them at home on an inkjet printer, spray the images with an artists fixative (otherwise they might smudge).

upcycled faux priceless chinese vases

Carefully cut out each vase photo from the background paper.

upcycled faux priceless chinese vases

Next, using a decoupage glue such as Mod Podge stick the paper cut out vase to the front of the tin can. Then spray the whole tin can with an acrylic varnish spray. This will protect your tin can planters from the elements.

I spray 2 coats of varnish for extra protection.

upcycled faux priceless chinese vases

All that is left to do is to choose flowers for your Chinese vase planters. I think blue flowers look great in the vases.

upcycled faux priceless chinese vases

I love how these faux priceless Chinese planters look. They look fabulous in my back garden.

If you are looking for something other than planters to make from tin cans of different planters, you should check out this popular wind chime.

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Claire at Pillarboxblue

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


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Sheila
    7 days ago

    what are those blue flowers you used?

    • The ones in the big pot are called Senetti but I can't remember what the smaller ones are. They were just outside my local garden center.

  • Cindy Lynch
    7 days ago

    Do you have issues with the cans rusting on the bottom and leaving rust rings on your shelves? I saved a bunch of coffee cans to use for planting, then thought the bottoms would rust and, also, maybe the cans would draw too much heat in the sun for the delicate roots?

    • Cindy Lynch
      6 days ago

      Thank you, Claire! I love your pretty cans, so I think I'll do the same thing using inner containers. I have three lemon "trees" I started from seeds and need to transplant them. I think the soda bottle would work.

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