Meat Smoker Finds New Life as a Lovely Flower Planter

6 Materials
2 Hours

I love bringing new life to things that would otherwise be destined for the trash. With the help of a little paint and my Blue Ridge Mechanics Tool Kit, I made this planter out of a Bullet Upright Smoker that was past its prime.

This smoker definitely earned its keep for several years, but it was time to retire it. Instead of taking it to the recycling center or the dump, a friend of mine gave me a brilliant idea: why not turn the bottom portion into a planter?

It’s all in the prep work!

The first thing that I needed to do was clean this puppy up and get it ready for painting, which gave me an excuse to break out my pressure washer! 

I then used a wire brush to remove the majority of the caked-on grime on the inside, and a little oven cleaner on the exterior, which I followed up with a little sandpaper to rough up the paint.


My Blue Ridge Tools Mechanics Tool Kit came in really handy with this next step! You could also use a smaller home tool kit if you have one. I wanted to remove the legs in order to make repainting easier, but they were hopelessly rusted and stuck. The kit includes a small wire brush, which I used to scrub off as much of the rust as possible.

Then, with the help of the 7/16 socket and the flathead screwdriver bit (and a little WD-40) I was able to remove the bolts from the tops of the legs. The lower bolts still wouldn’t budge, but I was able to pull the legs far enough away from the bowl to paint under them.

Don't Forget the Primer!

After I taped up the legs and drilled a few holes at the bottom for extra drainage, it was time to get painting! I started with a coat of Rust-Oleum Rust Converter to stop any residual rust from spreading and provide a nice primer for the top coat.

Once that was done, I packed it in for the night to give it 24 hours to dry.

Time for the Fun Part!

I wanted a bold color for this project, so I chose bright, fire engine red! I used high heat, high gloss engine paint, because it was something I had on hand. You can use any paint that will adhere to metal for this project. I applied two coats quickly, then let the planter dry overnight.


I broke out the Blue Ridge Tools Mechanics kit again to add the bolts back into the legs.

Luckily there’s a nice set of needle-nose pliers included in the kit as well, which not only helped to pull off some stubborn masking tape, but also helped maneuver the vent covers back into their proper shape.

Fill Her Up!

I chose a quality potting soil from my local home improvement store and filled the pot to just shy of the rim (after adding a few river rocks to the bottom of course, to keep the soil from slowly leaking out of the bottom of the pot).

This planter will find its home on my front porch, so I chose two shade-loving plants to fill it: white impatiens and a tall hosta plant to add a little height.

The Final Product

For the first few days after being transplanted, the plants looked a little sad and stressed. But they soon adjusted to their new home and are thriving on the front porch!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Blue Ridge Tools, all opinions are my own.

Watch the transformation on my YouTube channel!

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  2 questions
  • Susan Susan on May 01, 2020

    Won’t the paint inside the pot poison the soil?

  • Joan Joan on May 04, 2020

    It looks so great! You should put plants in pots inside the smoker instead of planting them re soil gets to hot and burns roots?

Join the conversation
2 of 54 comments
  • MB MB on May 04, 2022

    Oh man when I saw the titke it got my brain picturing a great planter, then saw the pictures and it looks awesome!!! What a great project.

  • Kelly J. Tinney Kelly J. Tinney on May 05, 2022

    What a cool idea. I love the bright color too. I’d have painted the legs white or black but that’s just me.