It’s a known fact that exposure to a bit of nature does wonders for the human spirit. Amongst many benefits, plants can lower our level of anxiety and also boost creativity. A great way to add a unique touch of green into your space is by using old items to house your plants. You’d be surprised at the number of household objects you might already have that could be used as an upcycled planter. Whether you have a little balcony, medium-sized courtyard, spacious backyard, or even no outdoor space at all, we’ve got some tips and tricks to get you upcycling!
Small Spaces and Apartments
1. Toilet Paper Roll Planter
Instead of throwing out all your toilet paper rolls, consider using them to grow some herbs. They are a fantastic way to get seedlings growing in your indoor space. These little seed starter tubes eliminate the need to go out and by expensive peat pots. The great thing about these is that you can pop them directly into a bigger pot or your garden bed when they need more room to grow. No need to remove them from the cardboard!
2. Tin Can Planters
Save all your empty tin cans, they’re perfect upcycled planters for little herb gardens. We particularly love these ones from Rae Ann Kelly, that have been painted and labelled to really bring new life to these old food tins. A hot tip for getting your herbs to thrive in the cans is to drill a couple tiny holes in the bottom so that water can drain freely through the planters.
3. Milk Bottle Upcycled Planters
The humble old milk bottle is fantastic to use as a planter. The plastic is strong and a 2-litre bottle is the perfect size for herbs. You can cut slits into the bottle to make hanging pots or simply cut them into little boxes to sit flat on the floor. Similarly to the tin cans, its good to cut a few holes in the bottom for water flow and it’s advised to give the bottles a good clean with hot water before planting.
4. Egg Carton Upcycled Planter
The egg carton is an excellent way of propagating succulents for more rooms in your house or to give as a gift to someone special. You only need the smallest cuttings to start growing new plants and they super cute in the egg cartons. Give the cardboard a lick of paint to add some colour, it’s a nice and easy personal touch.
5. Light Bulb Terrariums
It really is amazing how a little bit of creativity can completely transform old objects. This upcycled planter project requires a bit of patience and care, but we think the results are totally worth it! The combination of the industrial looking light bulb with organic plant life creates an interesting and harmonious decorative ornament. Let your ideas run wild and fill the bulbs with whatever you like.
6. Paper Bag Upcycled Planters
What can you do with old bags of flour, sugar or coffee? Turn them into upcycled bag planters! These are perfect for the natural or rustic home, and small versions look lovely sitting on a kitchen window sill. Simply line your bag with a waterproof coat – you can use wax, shellac, or just some clear contact paper from the newsagent. If you happen to have a sewing machine you can even upcycle wrapping paper or gift bags into a planter. Pop a layer of contact onto the paper and stitch it up to make a little pot shape and voila!
7. Wine Crate Herb Boxes
Fantastic for small patios and balconies, these wine crates are awesome for a small veggie garden. You can dedicate one crate to one vegetable or have a go at companion planting and mix up what’s in each box. This is an item that you may not already have lying around at home but a quick trawl on eBay or Gumtree will show you how easy they are to source.
8. Glass Jar Terrariums
These are similar to the light bulb terrariums but you can use bigger jars and make them even more detailed. Thoroughly wash out the containers and fill them with soil, rocks and small succulents, herbs and then some! A pair of chopsticks or a set of long tweezers come in really handy for neat organisation on the inside of your jar.
9. Succulent Holder Books
A beautiful addition to a room is an upcycled book planter. We’re definitely guilty of having too many books in the house that we just don’t read anymore. So this is a brilliant way of still keeping the books that you love but giving them a second life. If you can’t bear the thought of cutting up your old books, (don’t worry, we get it!) then head to an op shop to grab a couple of hardcovers for a just couple of bucks! Creating the planter is really straightforward, just use a stanley knife to cut out a rectangle and seal up the pages with some glue. We recommend adding some cling wrap or clear contact to the inside of your rectangle to protect the pages too. You can fill your book with succulents, moss, rocks, even silk flowers. An ideal little planter for your reading zone!
10. Upcycled Teacup Planters
These teacup and saucer pots are a sweet and feminine way to decorate a space. You don’t even need to match the cup to the saucer, we think the mismatch effect is really cute and eclectic. The potting process is relatively simple but you will need a drill. Make a hole in the cup, fill it with rocks and soils and then pop your plant in! It’s that easy and they look so wonderfully elegant! These are also a fantastic DIY idea for vintage inspired weddings or parties.
11. Upcycled Pallet Garden
Are you lucky enough to have a backyard space? Then consider setting up a full blown veggie patch with some recycled wooden pallets. You can strike gold with Gumtree here, with many people giving pallets away for free or selling them at reasonable prices. Here’s a really helpful and quick guide to setting these up in your home. The pallets can work as both flat or standing options, choose the one that best suits your space. Hey, it might even be both!
12. Car Tyre Upcycled Planter
Take a look at this fantastic tutorial from Addicted 2 DIY on how to turn an old car tyre into a simple and elegant outdoor planter. This one, in particular, is for a standing planter but you could also not worry about attaching legs and just pop the tyres onto the ground and even stack a few on top of each other. These make beautiful pots for colourful, seasonal flowers and you can decorate them however you like to give it a personal touch. Cover the tyre with twine, fabric, paint, glitter, sequins, what you will! You can really make a unique planter to match your style and space.
13. Old Shoe Planters
We’re confident that you’re still holding onto some old shoes that you haven’t worn in ages. You might be surprised but they actually can make really cool flower planters. Boots generally work best as the tall shape can hold a fair bit of soil and keep the stems of your plants upright. These look really cool lined up in a row in your garden and are also a great way to upcycle kids shoes. Those little munchkins grow at rapid speeds so why not transform their boots into little planters? It’s also a great way to encourage your kids to spend some time in the garden with you!
14. Old Shoe Organiser Wall Planter
These fabric shoe organisers are really nifty accessories for small houses. They help to keep your shoes neatly tucked away and out of sight. But they are also super handy to use as wall planters in your outdoor space. You can even label each of the shoe pockets with the type of plant inside to keep your hanging green space organised and easy to navigate through!
15. Hanging Colander Upcycled Planter
Transform an everyday kitchen object into a cute hanging planter. Colanders are no-fuss DIY pots because they already come with holes for water drainage, no need to get the drill out for this project! All you have to do is pack your colander tightly with soil and pop in your choice of plant. These can sit flat on a surface but we think they look great with some twine tied to the handles and hung up against a wall or off a pergola.
If you love the idea of an upcycled planter but DIY isn’t really your thing, don’t fret. We have an excellent range of Truck Tube Planters at Upcycle Studio. You could get your upcycled garden up and running in no time with some herb planters and the Indoor Green or Homegrown books for some inspiration and guidance!