How I Upcycled Ugly Rain Boots Into Gorgeous Spring Decorated Vases

6 Materials

I love wearing rain boots when working in the garden and trudging back and forth to the compost. I like to keep them at the back door under the covered patio so they a readily available whenever I want to quickly slip them on and off. I bought a new pair last fall on sale thinking they would be perfect. But within a month they were already starting to show their wear. They were no longer cute rain boots with a fun pink pattern. Instead they quickly became ugly yellow looking faded things to look at and as it turned out very uncomfortable to wear.

I had a choice of still using them with a lot of reluctance, getting rid of them or upcycling them and turning them into something new and improved. I chose to make them into rain boot vases for displaying spring silk flowers.

The first thing I did was give them a good cleaning and a new coat of paint. This was a 3-step spraying process with drying times in between. I first applied two coats of white primer, then two coats of black gloss paint and two layers of a clear acrylic coating. This last step is really important because it gives the rain boots a protective finish and makes them moisture resistant.

This is what they used to look like.

This is how they turned out. What an improvement!

Then I made two bows from 1-1/2” wide purple satin wire edge ribbon secured with floral wire.

The next step was to cut a 3” strip of the purple ribbon and fold it into thirds. I secured this with two strips of duck tape as you can see in the image. This piece became the middle of the bow at the front and a way to attach it to the band of ribbon going around the top of each boot.

This piece was attached with another piece of duck tape to a second strip of purple ribbon about 18” long. Then I applied this strip along with the attached bow to the top rim of the rain boot and secured it with black duck tape.

This how the rain boot looks from the back.

I then fluffed and primped the bows and trimmed the ends. This is how it looks from the front.

I bought three purple silk tulip bunches at Michaels because they had a sale on that if you bought two the third one was free. So of course I had to take advantage of the promotion. It did mean I had to split one bunch in half and share it between the two rain boots.

I have two cautionary suggestions for you if you decide to create your own version. Although the acrylic coating helps to protect the paint the rain boots need to be handled with care like you would a glass vase. This is so the paint does not crack. They also need to be displayed in a protected area away from the rain so they do not fill up with water. I know it sounds strange to now have rain boots that need to be kept away from the rain.

I placed my completed rain boot spring vases on the porch by the front door, which is a covered area. I have to admit they really do look gorgeous and very ‘springy’!

I have more detailed instructions with more photographs on the blog. I invite you to check it out so you can have fun making your own!

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

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

  5 questions
  • Judy Holtgrewe Bailey Judy Holtgrewe Bailey on Mar 14, 2016
    Rain in the boots, couldn't one take a scrap piece of lumber and place in bottom of boot & drill holes for draining?

    • Time With Thea Time With Thea on Mar 25, 2016
      Hi Judy. I chose not to because I have a covered porch where they are displayed so I do not have to worry about the rain pouring into the boot. If my situation were different I would definitely have drilled holes into the bottom. great question and suggestion!

    • Jane Doe Jane Doe on Mar 02, 2020

      You can do it however you see fit.

  • Debbie Debbie on Mar 17, 2016
    Did you weight them? Or are they pretty sturdy on their own?

    • Time With Thea Time With Thea on Mar 25, 2016
      Yes Debbie. They are quite heavy on their own but I placed about a cup of clean black pebbles in the bottom of each rainboot.

    • I filled mine with concrete

    • Katen Katen on Mar 02, 2020

      Good idea to weigh down. Hadn’t thought about that

    • Earlene Earlene on Mar 03, 2020

      I fill mine with a few stones to save on this earth wind you days. Also change out flowers for the seasons

  • Katen Katen on Mar 02, 2020

    I would like to do this. My boots, from Goodwill are army green and I’m thinking I would like to place in area not covered. How would you protect paint? I’m also considering going back to Goodwill for children’s boots just FYI

    • Barb Barb on Mar 03, 2020

      Quote from the article:

      "and two layers of a clear acrylic coating. This last step is really important because it gives the rain boots a protective finish and makes them moisture resistant."

  • Margaret Margaret on Mar 03, 2020

    Could you use them for fresh flowers with dirt? I love your idea and I plant fresh flowers every spring. Just wondering. Thanks for any input

    • SylviaTX SylviaTX on Mar 14, 2020

      Just my two cents, but I see no reason why you couldn't use them to plant real flowers.

      You should probably drill several holes in the soles for good drainage. Then put in a nice thick layer or gravel to facilitate drainage. With such tall boots, I'd probably add 6 inches or so. Then top with soil and add your beautiful live plants.

    • Daisy@TX Daisy@TX on Mar 31, 2020

      Hi Margaret. I thought the same and perhaps drill a few holes on the soles and use like an ordinary clay pot? Just wondering.

  • Dianne Dianne on Mar 06, 2020

    What a cute idea!! Perhaps you could drill holes in the soles to drain any water out? Also if you use a paint conditioner, it will help it not to crack I think.


Join the conversation

2 of 63 comments
  • Coleen Coleen on Feb 26, 2021

    Iloved the orignal color of the boots .,I have done that but holes in bottom & had Daffodils bulbs planted in them loved them

  • Joan Joan on Mar 25, 2021

    Great idea. However, I would use other bow material that would withstand the outdoors whether in a covered or non-covered area. Depending on weather or wind, this adorable project could still be effected by the weather.

    Suggest outdoor satin ribbon, raffia, plastic ribbon, or poly mesh ribbon.