Up-Cycled Planter Ideas To Turn Trash Into Treasure

Tired of throwing away old items? Craving a touch of unique charm in your home décor? Upcycling to the rescue! It suits the environment, but transforming everyday cast-offs into beautiful planters allows you to unleash your creativity and cultivate a space that reflects your personality. This article is overflowing with up-cycled planter ideas to turn your “trash” into treasured plant homes, from vintage teacups to repurposed wine glasses. So, grab your favorite houseplants, a little ingenuity, and get ready to discover the joy of sustainable style!

#1 Copper and Brass Planters

Up-Cycled Planter Ideas

Copper and brass planters add a touch of timeless sophistication to any space. Their warm, metallic tones beautifully complement lush greenery, creating a vintage-inspired look. These materials are incredibly durable and weather-resistant, perfect for indoor and outdoor planters.

Here’s how to upcycle your copper and brass treasures:

  • Repurpose old pots and pans: Do you have a dented or unused copper pot or brass bowl lying around? With some cleaning and TLC, it can be transformed into a stunning planter! Drill drainage holes (if necessary) and add a protective layer of clear lacquer to prevent tarnishing.
  • Get creative with vintage finds: For a unique touch, look for vintage copper mugs, kettles, or watering cans at flea markets or thrift stores. These can be easily converted into charming planters with a bit of love.

Top Tip: Consider leaving a slight patina on your copper or brass to enhance the vintage feel. This adds a touch of character and tells a story about the vessel’s past life.

#2 Plastic Upcycled Planters

Plastic bottles are a common household item that often ends up in landfills. But with some creativity, you can transform them into fantastic upcycled planters! This project is perfect for those looking for a budget-friendly and sustainable way to add greenery to their home.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Classic Cut and Repurpose: This is a simple and versatile option. Cut the top part of a plastic bottle (soda bottles or water jugs work well) to create a planter. Depending on your chosen plan, you can get creative with the size and shape. Remember to poke drainage holes in the bottom to prevent waterlogging!
  • Painted Paradise: For a pop of color, unleash your inner artist and paint your plastic planters. Geometric patterns, polka dots, or a gradient effect can add a playful touch to your décor.
  • Hanging Gardens: Thinking vertical? Plastic bottles are perfect for creating hanging planters. Cut the bottle in half, add drainage holes, and secure some twine or rope for hanging. This is a space-saving solution for trailing plants or herbs.

Bonus Tip: Feeling fancy? Cut plastic bottles into strips and weave them together to create a unique, textured planter.

#3 Tin Planters

Tin cans – the unsung heroes of the pantry – can be transformed into surprisingly delightful planters! Their rustic charm adds a touch of whimsy to your décor, and their durability makes them perfect for both indoor and outdoor use.

Here’s how to breathe new life into your tin cans:

  • Clean and Prep: Remove any labels and thoroughly wash the cans. You can also lightly sand the surface to create a weathered look.
  • Drainage is Key: To prevent waterlogging, use a hammer and nail to poke a few holes in the bottom of the can.
  • Paint it Pretty: Give your tin planters a pop of color with a fresh coat of paint. Spray paint is convenient, but acrylic paint allows for more intricate designs.
  • Embrace the Natural Look: For a rustic vibe, leave the tin can unpainted and let it develop a natural patina over time.
  • Think Big or Small: Tin cans come in various sizes and are suitable for multiple plants. Use more giant cans for succulents or flowering plants and smaller ones for herbs or cacti.

Bonus Tip: Feeling crafty? Punch decorative patterns into the tin can with a hammer and nail for a unique touch. Add handles or embellish them with ribbons or twine for a personalized look.

Read Also: How to Make a Succulent Wreath in 4 Easy Steps

#4 Coconut Planters

They are calling all plant lovers with a touch of wanderlust! Coconut shells are a natural and sustainable option for creating unique and eye-catching planters. Their organic texture and tropical vibes instantly add a touch of paradise to your indoor or outdoor space.

Here’s how to craft your very own coconut planter:

  • The Great Coconut Crack: Carefully crack the coconut in half. Videos online demonstrate safe techniques using a hammer and screwdriver.
  • Clean Up Crew: Once cracked, remove the flesh of the coconut and any leftover husk. Warm water and a stiff brush can help with this process.
  • Drainage Done Right: Using a drill or hammer and nail, create drainage holes in the bottom half of the coconut shell. This prevents waterlogging and keeps your plant healthy.
  • Lining Up for Success (Optional): While not necessary, some gardeners recommend adding a liner made of sphagnum moss or coco coir to the inside of the coconut shell. This helps retain moisture and prevents soil from spilling out.
  • Planting Paradise: Fill your coconut shell with a well-draining potting mix and choose a plant that thrives in moderate moisture conditions. Succulents, air plants, and small ferns are all excellent choices for coconut planters.

Bonus Tip: Get creative with decoration! Paint the coconut shell with vibrant colors or add stencils for a personalized touch. You can even hot glue seashells or other embellishments for a genuinely beachy vibe.

#5 Chipped Teacup Planters

Don’t despair over a chipped teacup! These delicate mishaps can be transformed into charming and whimsical planters, adding a touch of vintage elegance to your décor. Upcycled teacup planters are perfect for small plants like succulents, cacti, or violets, creating a miniature fairytale garden on your windowsill.

Here’s how to give your chipped teacup a new lease on life:

  • Drainage Matters: While some teacups may already have drainage holes, most won’t. If necessary, carefully drill a small hole in the bottom of the teacup using a diamond drill bit (important for ceramics!). Ensure you place the teacup on a stable surface and wear safety goggles while drilling.
  • Embrace the Imperfections: The beauty of chipped teacup planters lies in their imperfections. Don’t worry about hiding the chip – it adds character and tells a story.
  • A Touch of Paint (Optional): If you prefer a more uniform look, you can paint the teacup with a fresh coat of acrylic paint. Consider colors that complement the existing pattern on the teacup or match your décor.
  • Saucer Power: Remember the saucer! It can act as a drainage tray to catch excess water and prevent damage to your furniture. You can even paint the saucer to match the teacup for a cohesive look.
  • Planting Perfection: Fill your teacup with a well-draining potting mix suitable for your chosen plant. Succulents and cacti are excellent choices due to their low water needs.

Bonus Tip: Feeling extra creative? Use a small figurine or miniature furniture piece to create a miniature world within your teacup planter. A tiny gnome peeking out from behind a plant adds a touch of whimsy!

#6 Wine Glass Planters

Who says elegance can’t be sustainable? Wine glasses can be transformed into sophisticated and unique planters, adding a touch of whimsy and recycled charm to your space. They’re perfect for displaying air plants, small succulents, or trailing herbs.

Here’s how to upcycle your wine glasses into chic planters:

  • Goblet Glam or Stem Simplicity: Both stemmed wine glasses and goblets can be used. Stemmed glasses offer a more elegant look, while goblets provide a broader base for sturdier plants.
  • Drainage Decisions: Unlike most planters, wine glasses don’t have drainage holes. This makes them ideal for plants with minimal moisture, like air plants or certain succulents. However, if you want to plant something that requires more watering, you can carefully drill a small drainage hole in the bottom of the glass using a diamond drill bit (essential for glass!). Remember safety goggles and a steady hand!
  • Planting Prep: For plants that don’t require soil (like air plants), place them directly in the wine glass. For those that do need soil, consider adding a thin layer of pebbles or gravel to the bottom of the glass for minimal drainage before adding a small amount of well-draining potting mix.
  • Light Fantastic: Wine glass planters work best in bright, indirect sunlight locations. Since they don’t hold a lot of soil, they dry out quickly, so be mindful of watering needs.
  • A Touch of Flair (Optional): Get creative! You can spray-paint the rim of the wine glass for a pop of color or tie a decorative ribbon around the stem for a whimsical touch.

Bonus Tip: Group several wine glass planters of different sizes and shapes together to create a miniature terrarium or a cascading herb garden. This adds a touch of elegance and visual interest to your space.

#7 Candle Jars Planters

Don’t toss those empty candle jars! They can be transformed into fantastic upcycled planters, offering a budget-friendly and stylish way to add greenery to your home. These work particularly well for smaller plants that thrive in controlled moisture environments.

Here’s how to breathe new life into your candle jars:

  • Clean-Up Crew: First, remove any leftover wax and wick. Fill the jar with hot (not boiling) water to melt the remaining wax. Once softened, wipe away the wax with a paper towel. Wash the jar thoroughly with soap and water to remove any residue.
  • Drainage Dilemma: Candle jars typically lack drainage holes. This makes them suitable for plants that prefer drier conditions, such as succulents or cacti. If you’re set on using a jar for a plant with higher moisture needs, you can carefully drill a small drainage hole in the bottom using a drill bit suitable for glass (diamond drill bit recommended). Wear safety goggles and be extra cautious when drilling.
  • Size Matters: Choose a candle jar proportional to your plant. Smaller jars are perfect for cacti or miniature succulents, while more giant jars can accommodate haworthias or aloe vera.
  • Potting Perfection: Fill the jar (with or without a drainage hole) with a well-draining potting mix specifically formulated for cacti or succulents. These plants are prone to root rot in overly moist soil.
  • Bright Light, Happy Plant: Place your candle jar planter in a location with plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. Most succulents and cacti need several hours of sunlight per day to thrive.
  • Label Love (Optional): For a touch of personalization, consider labeling your candle jar planters with the names of the plants. You can use a paint pen or cute little plant markers.

Bonus Tip: Feeling crafty? Give your candle jar planters a makeover! Spray-paint them in a solid color or create fun patterns with stencils. You can even add decorative pebbles or moss to the top of the soil for a finished touch.

#8 Earthen Ware Planters

Earthenware planters offer a timeless and natural aesthetic that complements any décor. Made from fired clay, these planters boast a classic charm and subtle variations in texture that add depth and character to your plant displays. Their breathability and durability make them a fantastic choice for indoor and outdoor use.

Here’s what makes earthenware planters so unique:

  • Natural Beauty: Earthenware’s inherent variations in color and texture create a beautiful, organic look. The natural clay tones often feature warm browns, reds, or even a hint of green, depending on the composition and firing process.
  • Breathable Buddies: Earthenware is a porous material, allowing for good air circulation around the plant’s roots. This is particularly beneficial for plants that don’t like constantly wet soil.
  • Weathering the Elements: Earthenware planters are generally durable, mainly when glazed. This makes them a good option for indoor and outdoor spaces, as they can withstand moderate temperature fluctuations.

Choosing the Right Earthenware Planter:

  • Size Matters: Select a planter that’s appropriately sized for your plant. A pot that’s too large can lead to overwatering, while a cramped pot will restrict root growth.
  • Drainage Decisions: Earthenware planters may or may not have drainage holes. If you plan on using a pot without drainage, choose plants that tolerate drier conditions. For plants that require more moisture, opt for a pot with drainage or create one yourself (drilling is tricky, so consult a professional if needed).
  • Glazed vs. Unglazed: Glazed earthenware offers a more polished look and helps prevent excessive moisture loss. Unglazed planters are more breathable but may require more frequent watering.

Bonus Tip: Earthenware planters look fantastic when grouped. Combine different sizes, textures, and glazed and unglazed finishes to create a visually exciting display.

#9 Car Tires 

Car tires – those retired workhorses of the road – can be transformed into surprisingly stylish and unique planters! They’re perfect for creating a bold, industrial statement in your garden or outdoor space. Plus, their durability makes them ideal for harsh weather conditions.

Here’s how to turn your old tires into conversation-starting planters:

  • Safety First: Before you begin, ensure the tires are completely deflated and debris-free.
  • Cleaning Crew: Scrub the tires with soapy water to remove dirt or grime. You can also wipe them down with rubbing alcohol to ensure better paint adhesion (if you plan to paint).
  • Sharpen Up (Optional): For a cleaner look, you can use a utility knife to carefully cut off the top sidewall of the tire, creating a rimmed planter. Exercise caution and wear gloves while doing this.
  • Drainage Done Right: Drainage is crucial to prevent waterlogging. Use a drill with a metal bit to create several holes in the bottom of the tire tread.
  • Paint it Bold (Optional): Car tire planters look fantastic in bold colors or with stenciled designs. Use outdoor-grade paint specifically designed for rubber surfaces.
  • Planting Power: Fill your tire planter with a well-draining potting mix suitable for your chosen plants. Since tires retain heat well, opt for plants that thrive in warmer temperatures and don’t require frequent watering. Succulents, cacti, or small ornamental grasses are all excellent choices.

Bonus Tip: Feeling extra creative? Stack two or three tires of varying sizes to create a tiered planter feature. You can even paint them different colors for a truly eye-catching display in your garden. Just remember to ensure proper drainage at each tire level.

#10 DIY Fabric Planters

Fabric planters add a touch of softness and personalization to your indoor décor. They’re a fantastic way to upcycle leftover fabric scraps or breathe new life into a favorite old shirt. While they won’t work for all plants, they’re perfect for smaller plants that thrive in controlled moisture environments.

Here’s how to craft your DIY fabric planter:

  • Gather Your Supplies: You’ll need fabric (waterproof or water-resistant fabric is ideal, but not essential), scissors, sewing thread, a needle (or sewing machine), and a pot that fits your desired planter size.
  • Measure Up!: Measure the circumference and height of your pot. Add a few inches to each measurement for seam allowances and to create the depth of your fabric planter.
  • Fabric Fun: Cut out two rectangular pieces of fabric according to your measurements. You can use a single fabric or create contrasting patterns for added visual interest.
  • Sewing Savvy: With the right sides facing each other, sew the two long sides of the fabric rectangles together. Leave the top and bottom open for now.
  • Bottom Basics: For the base of your planter, cut a circle of fabric slightly larger than the base of your pot. Place this fabric circle on the right side together with the bottom raw edge of your sewn fabric rectangle. Sew them together to create the planter bottom.
  • Optional Lining (for extra moisture control): If you’re concerned about moisture seeping through the fabric, you can cut a liner out of plastic sheeting or sphagnum moss. This liner would sit inside the fabric planter and hold the potting mix.
  • Top it Off: Fold the top raw edge of your fabric planter inwards by about an inch and sew a hem to create a clean finish.
  • Planting Perfection: Place your pot inside the fabric planter. Fill the pot with a well-draining potting mix suitable for your chosen plant. Remember, fabric planters retain moisture more readily than traditional pots, so select plants that don’t require frequent watering. Succulents, air plants, or certain ferns can thrive in these fabric planters.

Bonus Tip: For a decorative touch, you can embellish your fabric planter with buttons, ribbons, or fabric paint. You can even add small handles for easy carrying. Just remember that these embellishments should maintain the integrity of the planter and prevent proper drainage (if using a fabric liner).

#11 Bottle Planters

Plastic bottles are a common household item, and instead of tossing them in the trash, you can transform them into vibrant and versatile bottle planters! This project is perfect for those looking for a quick, easy, and colorful way to add greenery to their home or garden.

Here’s how to breathe new life into your plastic bottles:

  • Pick Your Plastic: Choose a plastic bottle size that suits your plant. Small soda bottles work well for herbs or violets, while larger water jugs accommodate trailing plants or small flowering varieties.
  • Sharpen Up: Cut the bottle in half horizontally or at about two-thirds from the bottom. The bottom section will become your planter. Use a sharp craft knife or box cutter, but be cautious and wear gloves.
  • Drainage is Key: Drainage holes prevent waterlogging and root rot. Use a hammer and nail to carefully poke several holes in the bottom of your plastic bottle planter.
  • Colorful Canvas (Optional): Plastic bottles offer a blank canvas for your creativity! Acrylic paint allows for hand-painted designs or intricate details. Spray paint is a quicker option for a solid color block. Let the paint dry completely before planting.
  • Go Vertical (Optional): For a space-saving solution, create hanging planters. Punch two small holes near the rim of the top bottle section (the lid part). Thread twine or yarn through the holes and tie them together to create a hanger.
  • Planting Power: Fill your bottle planter with a well-draining potting mix suitable for your chosen plant. Water moderately, keeping in mind that plastic retains moisture. Succulents, herbs, or certain flowering plants like African violets can thrive in these upcycled planters.

Bonus Tip: Feeling fancy? Cut plastic bottles into strips and weave them to create a unique and cozy planter for your glass bottle planter. This adds a textural element and insulates the roots from temperature fluctuations.


Are upcycled planters good for the environment?

Absolutely! Upcycling reduces waste and gives new life to everyday items. This helps conserve resources and keeps them out of landfills.

Do I need to drill drainage holes in all upcycled planters?

Most upcycled planters, except those designed for air plants, will need drainage holes to prevent waterlogging and root rot.

What kind of plants are best for upcycled planters?

The ideal plant depends on your upcycled planter’s material and drainage situation. Generally, choose plants that tolerate drier conditions for containers without drainage holes. Succulents, cacti, and air plants are popular choices for upcycled planters.

Can I paint my upcycled planters?

Yes! Painting is a fantastic way to add personality and style to your upcycled planters. However, ensure you use the appropriate paint for the material (e.g., outdoor paint for car tires).

Where can I find inspiration for upcycled planter ideas?

There are endless possibilities! Online resources like Pinterest and gardening websites offer a wealth of upcycled planter inspiration. You can also get creative and reuse items you have around the house!


Upcycling everyday items into beautiful and functional planters is a fantastic way to embrace sustainable living and unleash creativity. The possibilities are endless, from charming teacup planters to statement-making car tire creations! This article has given you a glimpse into the beautiful world of upcycled planters. So, gather your pre-loved treasures, grab your favorite houseplants, and get ready to transform your space with unique and eco-friendly planters that tell a story. With some planning and resourcefulness, you can turn trash into treasure and cultivate a thriving indoor or outdoor oasis that reflects your style. Happy planting!

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