Colorful Paint Can Planters

Want to make your planters colorful and interesting? Learn how to make colorful paint can planters that will brighten up outdoor spaces.


Figure H

Figure H

Materials and Tools:

new paint cans
potting soil

Note: Always use new paint cans for this project. They're inexpensive and, unlike used cans, you don't have to worry about paint residue on the inside harming your plants.

  1. Turn the paint can upside down and punch some drainage holes in the bottom with an awl.
  2. With the can right side up, decorate the outside by dribbling paint down from the lip of the can. Use whatever colors you like; you can use a toothpick or wooden skewer to spread the paint down the side of the can, mixing colors as you go.
  3. Once the paint is dry, put a layer of gravel in the bottom of the can. Add your potting soil and plants. Michele Beschen recommends watering plantings in metal containers like these daily because metal containers retain more heat than those made of other materials.

Jell-O Mold Planter

  1. You can find funky old Jell-O molds at yard sales and thrift stores. Michele Beschen especially likes the bundt-shaped molds, because the hole fits over a picnic table umbrella.
  2. To use as a planter, simply punch some drainage holes in the Jell-O mold. Since the molds are so shallow, Michele Beschen doesn't add gravel. Instead, she just fills the mold with potting soil and shallow-rooted plants that won't be too crowded by the shallow container. She also spreads gravel on top of the soil and waters the planting daily, because the container's size keeps it from retaining water.
  3. Slip the mold around your picnic umbrella pole, and you have an instant—living—centerpiece!

Cinderblock Planters

Cinderblocks are cheap, tough and versatile, making them a natural for outdoor plantings. You can paint them with fun designs or even use glue and grout to create a glass rock mosaic.
One of Michele Beschen's favorite ways to use these blocks is simply to build with them for a serene, multi-leveled planter.

Materials and Tools:

exterior paint
potting soil
pretty rocks or other ornamentation

  1. Decide what shape your final planter will take. Michele Beschen chose a simple stairstep design for this project.
  2. Paint your blocks, using two coats. Make sure you paint the inside of the blocks as well as the outside surfaces.
  3. Build your planter. Set the lower-level blocks so their openings face to the front, with the top-level blocks opening upward.
  4. Fill the top-opening blocks about ¼ full with gravel, then add your potting soil and arrange your plants. Spread some more gravel on the surface of the soil around the plants. Water gently so you don't dislodge the gravel or soil.
  5. Fill in the front-facing openings with rocks or other ornaments of your choice; Michele Beschen picked large, white-painted rocks in keeping with the planter's black-and-white theme.
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