How to Upcycle Castoff Cans Into Beachy Planters

Your houseplants need a vacation — and with this easy upcycle you can turn kitchen castoffs into pretty pots that bring a taste of the tropics to any room of your home.

Photo by: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Materials Needed

  • clean, empty metal food cans
  • bamboo slat table runner
  • woven jute placemats
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • heavy-duty scissors
  • potted plants that fit your chosen cans
  • gold or brass spray paint
  • painter's tape
  • razor blade or utility knife
  • optional: preserved moss

Clean Cans + Remove Labels

Raid your recycling bin for cans, large or small, that'll fit your chosen plants. For ours, we used a #10 can of green beans (the family-size version at your local grocery store) and a standard coffee can. First, throughly clean the cans inside and out and peel off the paper labels (Image 1). Use a razor blade or utility knife to remove any leftover glue (Image 2).

Spray Paint Cans

On a disposable surface, like leftover shipping cardboard, paint cans' exterior and top and bottom rims with gold or brass spray paint.

On a protected work surface, like on an old piece of shipping cardboard, throughly coat the cans' exterior and top rim with gold or brass spray paint.

Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

Wrap a Can in Bamboo Slats

We used a bamboo slat table runner for this project. Inexpensive, readily available and easy to cut with scissors, this added the perfect amount of trendy natural texture — plus, the runner's stitched design and finished edges and ends make it easy to cut the material with minimal worry of fraying. First, roll the runner around your can to determine where you'll cut along the stitches, then note it with a bit of blue painter's tape (Image 1). Unroll the runner and continue marking where you'll cut by following along the runner's stitched line and adding pieces of tape, then cut along the taped line (Image 2). Wrap the runner around the can to also determine where to cut off the excess, allowing for a little overlap, then use a line of hot glue to prevent the cut end from unraveling (Image 3). To attach the runner, add a bead of hot glue to the can (Image 4), then push the cut end (that you just secured) into the glue. Continue adding lines of hot glue to the can, then attaching the runner, till the can is fully covered. Create a clean end by overlapping the cut end with the runner's finished edge (Image 5).

Wrap a Can in Woven Jute

First, wrap the woven material around your painted can to determine where you'll cut (Image 1), then cut along one of the material's horizontal lines (Image 2). When you've cut a section that's the proper length and height to wrap the can with a bit of overlap, add a line of hot glue to secure one end (Image 3). Rolling the can as you go, continue adding hot glue to sections of the woven material, then pressing it onto the can (Image 4). Finally, create a finished seam by slightly overlapping the material, then hot-gluing it in place (Image 5).

Add Potted Plants

Leaving the plants in their nursery pots, just slide your chosen plants into their beachy new cachepots. Optional: For a pretty finishing touch, add a layer of preserved moss to the top of each pot.

Photo by: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Display for a Tropical Touch

Perfect for adding a laidback beachy vibe, these upcycled cans look like trendy (and pricey!) accessories — only you'll know how easy and inexpensive they were to craft. Display them with other tropical-inspired touches for a beachy grouping that'll make every day feel like vacay (Images 1 and 2).

Next Up

Easy-Breezy Tropical Leaf Art

Need art — on a budget? We got you! Turn fresh or faux monstera, palm or fern leaves into textural fabric art with our handy-dandy trick for turning leftover chalk paint into DIY spray paint.

How to Make Giant Gift Bows

A larger-than-life gift deserves a larger-than-life bow. Learn how to make giant gift bows for big gifts or for holiday decorating — all you need is scissors and duct tape.

How to Upcycle a Cutting Board Into an Address Plaque

Is your cutting board a bit too small to make the cut? No problem. In just a few steps, you can upcycle it into a stylish stand-in for a front door wreath that also doubles as a pretty address plaque.

How to Give Your Christmas Tree a Rainbow-rific Makeover

Put a trendy, rainbow-inspired spin on your fresh or faux Christmas tree this year without emptying your pockets.

Upcycled Flannel Holiday Gift Wrap

Start saving those empty dry-good containers now to upcycle into festive fabric-clad packages that can be used again and again.

How to Make DIY Reusable Produce Bags

Make a sustainable change by crafting your own reusable produce bags to bring to the grocery store or farmer’s market. This is an easy sewing project, perfect for DIY beginners who are just learning how to use a sewing machine.

Turn an Old Tomato Cage Into a Storage Basket

Make a colorful, fabric storage basket out of a tomato cage and cotton twine with this simple and super-affordable tutorial.

How to Make a DIY Upcycled Bookend Vase From an Old Cereal Box

This trendy DIY upcycled bookend vase looks like clay, but it’s actually made of cardboard! Transform an old cereal box to give your bookshelf a boho-chic look for cheap.

How to Turn an Old Tire Into a Pretty Planter

Don't toss those spent tires! Turn them into chic planters with a little paint and a few basic materials from the hardware store.

Upcycle a 5-Gallon Bucket Into a Fun, Fabric-Covered Planter

A ridiculously easy DIY planter that's also ridiculously cute? Sign us up! This project takes less than an hour and uses five simple materials you probably already have sitting in the garage.

What's New in Handmade


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.