15 Upcycled Planters to Make and Sell

upcycled planters

Are you passionate about gardening and looking for ways to save money on planters? Or perhaps you love crafts and the DIY lifestyle, and you’re looking for ways to upcycle household items… maybe even crafting enough to form your own small business? Have you thought of making upcycled planters?

No matter what kind of old junk you might have lying around – or what you find at a local flea market or thrift store – you can transform just about any old item into an upcycled planter.

What Can You Repurpose as a Planter?

What can you repurpose as a planter? What can’t you repurpose as a planter? From household trash like old soda bottles and discarded eggshells to used furniture like chairs and drawers, practically anything can be repurposed as upcycled planters.

You can make large planters or small ones, herb gardens and hanging planters, as well as planters of any shape that can be placed in any location and match any decorative scheme.

Truly, your only limit when upcycling planters is your imagination and your favorite flowers. And this opens great business opportunities, so make sure to find out how to start an upcycling business to fully take advantage of your creation.

How Do You Turn a Container into a Planter?

How do you turn a container into a planter? The answer can depend on the container, as planters can be made from everything from coffee cans to dresser drawers. Some containers will be more ready-made to hold soil, plants and water, while others will need some extra preparation. Still, the following basic steps still apply to most upcycled containers:

  • Gather supplies – Obviously, you need the containers or other household items you plan to repurpose. Also gather any basic tools, paint, hardware or other decor that you will use to create your upcycled planters. Of course, you’ll need small rocks, potting soil, water, plants or seeds.
  • Prepare the container – Some containers will need small holes drilled to serve as drainage holes, others will need holes drilled to become a hanging planter.
  • Decorate the containers – Whether you’re painting coffee and cans or adding glitter to an old candle jar, you can decorate the household items to match any indoor or outdoor space. Be sure and get some rope for your hanging planters.
  • Line porous containers – If the containers can’t be exposed to water, line them with plastic sheeting or coco liner.
  • Add rocks – Add small rocks or pebbles to the bottom of the container so the water can drain better.
  • Fill the upcycled planters – Once your paint is completely dry, you can add potting soil and plant your seeds or flowers. Be sure and place your upcycled planters where your plants get the proper amount of sun.

15 Upcycled Planters

You can make an upcycled planter from practically any old household item. From upcycling gift baskets to re-using what would otherwise be garbage, you can find a host of containers just waiting to be upcycled by simply walking around your house.

Want to upcycle old containers and household goods for your personal garden, to give as a gift or even to start a small business? The following 15 upcycled planters should give you some ideas:

1. Upcycled Paint Cans

With some colorful paint, old paint cans make the ideal planters. Take your empty paint cans and adorn them with craft paint, creating whatever designs match your garden decor. You also can add images or messages to the cans, fill them with plants and offer them as unique and memorable gifts.

2. Colander Hanging Planters

Old or new, colanders make ideal hanging planters since they come equipped with their own drainage holes. You can line the colander if you’re concerned about some dirt spilling out, and you easily can tie some rope to the handles to hang your planter from the ceiling.

3. Upcycled Tires

upcycled planters

What can you do with old tires? What might otherwise spend forever in a landfill can be transformed into a beautiful outdoor planter with nothing more than some paint or some rope.

You can stack multiple tires to create elevated planters, use a single upcycled tire planter on your patio or even create a row of matching tire planters along your sidewalk or garden path.

4. Upcycled Rain Boots

upcycled planters

Have your kids outgrown their old rain boots? Want to adorn your backyard with adorable upcycled planters? Old boots are durable and ready to hold a pocket of posies. Give them new life and use a single boot, a pair or a whole row of multi-colored boots to create a memorable garden scape.

5. Upcycled Gift Baskets

What do you do with the basket leftover from gifts of flowers, soaps or snacks? It’s already perfectly designed for a second life as an upcycled planter. You might decide to line the basket, and you are free to paint beautiful designs on the outside. Upcycled gift baskets also make perfect gifts!

6. Old Coffee Tins

upcycled planters

Old coffee tins are the perfect size and shape to be upcycled planters. Kids have fun painting coffee cans for art projects, and the containers can take on any design or decoration. Want a unique container to present a gift bouquet to friends or family? Just paint an old coffee tin with a one-of-a-kind design.

7. Shell Planters

upcycled planters

Looking for a great idea for upcycling organic products? Make a tropical- or nature-themed hanging planter by upcycling empty coconut shells! Using the proper tools, you’ll want to open up the top and drill holes to hang rope. You also can design a unique herb garden using emptied eggshells or beautiful seashells.

8. Old Tea Tins

Tea drinkers easily can accumulate a surprising number of old tea tins. The metal containers are so cute, they can be hard to throw away! Instead, upcycle the tea tins into beautiful household planters.

If you don’t like the tin’s design, you can paint it or wrap the container in decorative fabric. Don’t forget to drill holes in the bottom to let water drain!

9. Upcycled Wheelbarrow

Do you have an old wheelbarrow taking up space in your backyard? You can plant a gorgeous garden inside of it. You can repaint the wheelbarrow to match your garden design if you choose, then it’s ready to add some soil, plants and flowers. Wheelbarrows are portable, and make great mobile gardens!

10 Upcycled Coffee Table

An old coffee table might already be perfectly designed to upcycle into a raised planter. In the above example, the skilled upcycler found an old table at a flea market, and it’s glass top was already removed.

In other cases, some minor reconstruction might be needed to create a container for small plants like herbs and lettuce.

11. Used Candle Jars

What do you do with the jar after you’ve finished burning the candle inside it? Most people probably toss them in the trash, but there are a variety of ways to upcycle used candle jars.

They can be painted or left in their original state and used as upcycled planters, filled with beautiful succulents or small herbs.

12. Upcycled Troll Dolls

Remember when troll dolls were all the rage? Whether or not you can, you’ve probably seen these once-trendy dolls lining shelves at yard sale and flea markets. By removing the doll’s hair and the top of it’s rubber head, you can add soil and small plants. You also can upcycle the heads of other dolls made of similar materials.

13. Laundry Baskets

A variety of options are available to upcycle laundry baskets and hampers into gardening planters. You might want to use the basket in it’s original state, perhaps adding a colorful coat of paint.

Or, you can wrap the basket in fabric, such a in the above example. Laundry baskets offer an inexpensive material to make a large planter at a low cost.

14. Old Chairs

upcycled planters

If you’re looking for an unusual planter for your backyard or garden, try upcycling furniture into beautiful flower pots. Even an old chair can become an upcycled planter by removing its seat and inserting an appropriately sized flower pot. Watch as your flowers grow up and bloom through the seat of the chair!

15. Upcycled Soda Bottles

Instead of sending them to the local landfill, why not upcycle plastic soda bottles that you’d otherwise consider trash? Upcycling soda bottles is simple: Just cut off the tops, drill drainage holes in the bottom and decorate them for fun. The ways to design old soda bottles are nearly endless.

Ideas for Upcycled Planters Summary

Upcycled ItemDescription
1. Paint CansUsed paint cans repainted and decorated to serve as colorful plant holders.
2. Colander PlantersColanders utilized as hanging planters, taking advantage of built-in drainage holes.
3. TiresOld tires painted and fashioned into outdoor planters, potentially stacked or lined along paths.
4. Rain BootsOutgrown rain boots repurposed as whimsical, durable plant holders.
5. Gift BasketsLeftover baskets from gifts converted into decorative planters, possibly adorned with paint.
6. Coffee TinsUsed coffee tins transformed into personalized, artistic plant containers.
7. Shell PlantersCoconut shells, eggshells, or seashells creatively upcycled into natural, themed planters.
8. Tea TinsAccumulated tea tins turned into chic, compact household planters, with potential decoration or fabric wrapping.
9. WheelbarrowUnused wheelbarrows repurposed as spacious, mobile gardens, with optional repainting for aesthetic purposes.
10. Coffee TableOld coffee tables upcycled into raised planters, requiring varying levels of reconstruction.
11. Candle JarsEmptied candle jars reused as stylish planters for succulents or small herbs, with optional artistic redesign.
12. Troll DollsRetro troll dolls (or similar) converted into unique planters by modifying the doll's head to accommodate soil and plants.
13. Laundry BasketsVarious laundry baskets or hampers transformed into sizeable planters, potentially with added paint or fabric wrapping.
14. Old ChairsDerelict chairs creatively upcycled by replacing the seat with a fitting flower pot, allowing plant growth through the frame.
15. Soda BottlesPlastic soda bottles cut and decorated into convenient, customizable plant holders.

Where to Sell Your Upcycled Planters

Are you experienced at upcycling planters, and now you’re ready to launch your small business and sell them? There are a variety of outlets where upcycled planters can be sold, including online marketplaces.

You can start by finding out how to sell on Amazon Handmade and follow up with how to start a small business on Etsy. At the same time don’t forget to ask where to sell handmade items locally.

Locally, you can sell your planters by setting up a shop, renting a booth at a flea market, or even setting up space at craft fairs and festivals.

From Hobby to Business

Starting a business by upcycling planters taps into the eco-friendly market, combining creativity with environmental consciousness. Here’s how you can expand your venture from a hobby to a thriving business:

  1. Master Your Craft: Before anything else, perfect your upcycling skills. Create a diverse portfolio of upcycled planters, experimenting with different materials and designs. Ensure your products are durable, visually appealing, and meet practical gardening needs.
  2. Market Research: Conduct thorough market research to understand your competition, pricing strategies, and target audience. Identify gaps in the market that your unique planters can fill, making them stand out among standard options.
  3. Business Plan Development: Write a detailed business plan outlining your business’s objectives, strategies, and financial projections. This plan is crucial for both your direction and potentially securing any funding or loans.
  4. Legally Establish Your Business: Register your business and handle all legalities, including business name registration, taxes, and permits. Open a business bank account, and consider getting insurance to protect your business and comply with local laws.
  5. Choose Sales Outlets:
    • Online Marketplaces: Learn the intricacies of selling on platforms like Amazon Handmade and Etsy. These platforms have large, built-in customer bases and are user-friendly for small businesses.
    • Local Opportunities: Explore local flea markets, craft fairs, and gardening festivals where your planters could have a physical presence. These spaces often attract eco-conscious consumers who appreciate handmade items.
    • Own Online Store: Consider setting up your own e-commerce website. This option gives you the most control over branding, customer relations, and profits.
  6. Stock Preparation: Based on your research and chosen outlets, prepare your stock. Ensure you have a good mix of items, considering various plant types and settings, and enough stock to meet anticipated demand.
  7. Marketing and Branding: Develop a strong brand identity and a marketing strategy. Utilize social media, create content that showcases your products in use, and consider blogging about upcycling and gardening to boost your online presence.
  8. Community Networking: Connect with local gardening communities, environmental groups, and craft circles. Networking can lead to collaborations, higher visibility in the community, and word-of-mouth referrals.
  9. Customer Service Excellence: Establish a reputation for excellent customer service. Be responsive, helpful, and professional in all your customer interactions, and consider implementing loyalty programs or promotions.
  10. Feedback and Improvement: Use customer feedback and sales data to refine your product range and business strategies. Stay open to evolving trends in upcycling and gardening, ensuring your products remain desirable and competitive.

How do you reuse plastic plant pots?

How do you reuse plastic plant pots? Rather than throwing them in the garbage, there are a variety of ways to upcycle old planters. By painting new designs on them, you can transform old worn-out pots into fabulous floral containers. You can upcycle plantic plant pots to hold flowers outdoors or indoors, to hold flowers, herbs, succulents or vegetables.

Which repurposed planter is best for planting herbs?

No single repurposed planter is best for planting herbs. A variety of used containers are the appropriate size to create an herb garden, whether you prefer to use shells, jars, cans or even teacups. Most of these containers can be decorated with a pop of color, and they already are a handy size to plant just a couple of seeds.

Image: Depositphotos

Samantha Lile Samantha Lile is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 3 years. She is also a freelance writer and journalist who contributes to a variety of web publications from her home office in the heart of the Ozarks.