DIY Upcycled Planter Ideas

Succulent plants growing from a tea pot

Upcycling is the art of reusing old objects for a new purpose. It saves money, lets you celebrate a thing you loved but no longer have a use for, and helps reduce the garbage putting stress on our environment. Planters for flowers, shrubs, and herbs are especially easy and fun objects to create with upcycling. Make them from things you could otherwise throw away, and you'll be rewarded with a different kind of beauty adorning your yard and home.

Tea Tins

Loose-leaf tea or tea bags sometimes come in beautiful tins. Instead of getting rid of these once the tea has been consumed, use them as quirky planters for flowers or herbs. They’re a great size for a windowsill or small table.

Paint Cans

If you’ve recently completed a home painting project, chances are you have some empty paint cans lying around that you're considering tossing. Instead, use them to house beautiful plants around your yard. They're a simple, sturdy vessel, and they look great on a deck or set of steps.


What could be better for drainage than built-in holes? These strainers are also usually the perfect size for planting. Plus, their handles make them easy to hang, if that’s the look you’re going for.

Old Shoes

Shoes are another item that frequently end up worn out and, as a result, thrown out. Instead of creating more waste by chucking old kicks, use them as unique and beautiful planters. Every shoe from a rain boot to a clog can be used to host an array of plants. Succulents, tall flowers, or herbs can all be planted in these accessories, then scattered about your garden for some fashionable flair.

Old shoes painted white with plants growing from them

Book Planters

Calling all biblophiles! Anyone with an extensive library will have at least a few volumes destined for destruction. Upcycle them by cutting a square hole in their center and lining it with plastic. Add a small plant and you’ll have an artistic accent any book lover will adore.

Toy Trucks

Ready to declutter and finding miniature construction equipment your kiddos have outgrown? Plant some herbs or flowers in the back for one last haul. They make the perfect cool accent for a playroom or a deck.

Light Bulbs

With a little care, burned out light bulbs can make picturesque planters. Unscrew the bottoms so you can fill them with soil, then hang them from tree branches for a poetic afterlife.

Teacups and Teapots

Succulents and cacti pair especially beautifully with these porcelain containers. Those plants don't need much water, so the lack of drainage is less of an issue.

pink teacup with small cacti growing out

Old Tires

Tires frequently end up in landfills, so upcycling them is especially good for the planet. If you want a colorful look, start by spray painting the outside, then decide how you'd like to plant it. You can lay the tire flat, filling the opening with soil and using it as a raised garden bed. You can hang it from a sturdy tree branch and plant flowers in the indent, allowing them to overflow. You could even saw it up and use the segments as individual, smile-shaped planters.

An Old Desk or Dresser

If you have furniture you’re ready to replace, think again before you kick it to the curb altogether. You may be able to use an old desk or dresser, or even a bed frame, to house beautiful plants or flowers. Consider painting the furniture with a bright and vibrant color, using any drawers and openings to add lush flora that appears to be spilling out. This piece can make a major statement on a porch, in a yard, or bordering a walkway.

All of these upcycled planter ideas will make your home and yard more interesting. Plus you'll feel great about creating less waste. If you make something you're proud of, tell us about it in a comment, or share how you made it in our projects section!