Easy to Make Colorful Planters in a Wooden Trough

Brighten up your back yard with these colorful planters. They were really easy to make, and cost next to nothing as they were made from recycled items, and scraps of paint.

All you need is some old tin cans, scraps of paint in various colors (or taster pots), acrylic varnish and an old wooden pallet.

Paint your cans each one a different color with your paint scraps, it doesn't matter what kind of paint you use because when they are dry cover them in acrylic varnish to make them waterproof.

For the trough I just saw off the bottom rung of an old wooden pallet. I then removed a plank from further up the pallet and nailed this to the bottom to make a trough. I then sanded the whole thing .

If you visit my website you will see how I filled the tin cans with layers of stones, sand and soil to maximize drainage before planting the flowers.

These upcycled can planters have really brightened up my back yard. I'm so pleased with how they turned out. I'm still saving cans to make some more for my window sills.

If you like this then you'll love my window herb planter which is even more awesome Click here to see it.

I've also combined tin cans with denim scraps to create a fantastic caddy click here to see.
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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?

3 of 6 questions
  • Sherri M.
    on Jul 28, 2018

    You didn't mention it you punched a few holes in the bottom of cans. I'm sure a rain storm would wash them out if there was no drainage at all. Did you? I'd like to put these on my back wooden fence for a happy bright spot when all is not flowering! Thanks, Sherri

    • Shawn
      on Jul 29, 2019

      I was thinking you could make sort of self watering containers out of them and put a hole in the side just above the gravel. I have some 5lb cans I’m going to try this with.

  • Trae
    on Jul 28, 2018

    Do you need varnish before other paints? Is it just so other paint will stick? (Never used varnish)

    • Marcia McAfee
      on Jul 29, 2018

      Clear acrylic paint is after you paint the cans to seal and waterproof the paint. If you used outdoor spray paint instead of paint scraps this step would not be needed.

  • Marie Oriol-Lavalle
    on Aug 1, 2018

    Did you have to puncture the bottom of each can for water run-off or does putting rocks at the bottom take care of any excess water? Your project is just beautiful and so simple!! I envision this as a nice, cheery herb garden...thanks for sharing

    • Claire at Pillarboxblue
      on Aug 1, 2018

      It depends on how much it rains where you live. If you get alot of rain then I would punch holes in the bottom of the cans. If however, you don't get much rain and will be watering the cans yourself I recommend the rocks.

Join the conversation

4 of 63 comments
  • Marilyn Shane
    on Jul 8, 2019

    What a cheery looking planter! Great idea! Thanks for sharing this easy project! Now, where might I put it...

  • Heather Ruiz
    on Jul 29, 2019

    Ive been saving large cans...They joke that i save everything. HAHA!!! I cant wait to do this its perfect! Its so pretty in the pallet box. Ty for sharing💜

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