Recycled or repurposed planters are a fun and affordable way to jazz up your garden or patio. These types of DIY projects are also really enjoyable to make at home – for the whole family! So, if you’re wondering what to do with your random odds and ends, like plastic bottles, old shoes, and discarded kettles, look no further.
In this article, I’ll take you through 55 recycled planter ideas that are unique, imaginative, and creative. They’re sure to put a smile on your face and are practical for growing all sorts of plants to boot.
On this page
- 1. Make Creative Planters from Recycled Plastic Bottles and Containers
- 2. Find a Home for Repurposed Shoes and Bags
- 3. Repurpose Drums, Tins, and Cans
- 4. Don’t Throw Away Toilets and Toilet Rolls
- 5. Repurpose Old Mailboxes
- 6. Make Wall Hung Planters from Pallets
- 7. Reuse Old Watering Cans, Buckets, and Teapots
- 8. Make the Most of Recycled Cans
- 9. Reuse Egg Cartons for Seedlings
- 10. Turn Wheelbarrow and Bicycles into Planters
- 11. Recycle Tires into Large Flower Pots
- 12. Use Furniture and Accessories for Planting Flowers
- 13. Build Creative Metal Planters
1. Make Creative Planters from Recycled Plastic Bottles and Containers
Plastic bottles can feel like an inescapable part of our lives. And personally, I hate throwing them away, knowing they might not always be recycled. This clever idea for a vertical hanging garden incorporates the top halves of 2-liter plastic bottles painted with various beautiful, bright patterns. Perfect for growing herbs, you can set up your own mini hydroponics system to ensure your fresh greens get a consistent water intake. Disposable water bottles and straws come in handy here. This is a brilliant way to use old plastic bottles that won’t require any additional expense to set up.
These funny, decorative flower pots are perfect for your patio or backyard deck. Paint faces on your old milk or juice bottles by fashioning their handles as “noses.” For extra appeal, use old scraps of fabric as headscarves. Finally, adding gorgeous flowers to these planters will look like extravagant hats or hairdos. This bohemian DIY project is fun and simple to make. And just like in real life, each face can be unique.
What’s better than a recycled water bottle planter? A whole wall of them. This horizontal hanging garden has been cleverly designed by attaching old drinking bottles with cable ties to a chicken mesh support structure. Painted patterns are eye-catching and complement their rustic look. And once your flowers start to grow, your recycled planter wall will become an absolute feast for the eyes.
Hanging plants can add a charming touch to your garden, especially when painted in vivid colors. To achieve this whimsical look, suspend plastic bottles sawn in half from discarded fence poles with wire. Likely, you’ll already have most of the materials you need lying around at home. All that’s left to do is let your imagination run free.
Another take on recycled plastic bottle planters is this polka dot fiesta. Mini planters like this are great for growing seedlings and sprouts. And with the weight of the soil inside them, they can balance quite easily without assistance.
Are you looking for a rainy-day project for the kids? Turn your old plastic bottles into animals, like this bright pink pig planter. You can even use the bit of plastic you cut for the opening to make ears or a tail, depending on the animal, of course!
If animals aren’t up your alley, you can always try a car, using plastic bottle caps or thick doweling rods for wheels.
My personal favorite is this sweet, sleepy little fox planter.
Cut an old plastic bottle in half and shape some pointed ears on one side. Remember to include a drainage hole at the bottom, so your soil doesn’t get waterlogged.
Imagine a whole row of these for growing various herbs or seasonal flowers.
Pointy “ears” are also great for painting cat faces or bunnies. Bottle caps or googly eyes are perfect for making a variety of different facial expressions.
This fancy lady is made entirely from a recycled plastic soap container.
Cut off the end of your bottle roughly one-third of the way up. Then, form a hole in the end piece large enough for the bottle opening to fit into. You now have a “stand” to rest the headpiece on that looks like her chest and shoulders.
A painted face and scrap fabric headscarf complete the look. All you need to do is pop in a plant and watch it thrive.
Succulents are known for their hardiness. They can root almost anywhere as long as they receive plenty of sun.
For this fun mini planter design, fill a water bottle with soil and carve out a few holes all around the bottle. Mist the soil thoroughly and insert some succulent cuttings. In no time, your new baby plants will be shooting out in a most aesthetic manner.
I love how this hanging planter looks like a ship in the sky.
Using thin, barely-there wire or fishing line, hang bottles in darker shades of plastic from your ceiling or roofbeams. You can decorate them with hessian or twine to give them a rustic, nautical feel.
Have you ever heard of ecobricks? They’re an ingenious way of recycling plastic that aids the environment, and they’re incredibly structurally sound, too.
Fill old bottles with discarded plastic from wrappers or packaging, pressing them down with a rod or stick until the bottle is completely full. The result is strong, heavy “bottle-bricks” that you can use to build all sorts of different structures, like this beautiful circular raised garden bed.
The repurposed bottles are sturdy enough to stop the weight of the soil from collapsing them. And for added measure, this designer has painted them white and added a wooden swan’s head.
2. Find a Home for Repurposed Shoes and Bags
There’s no need to throw away those worn-out shoes that aren’t even good for the charity store. Instead, give them a new life by turning them into charming flower planters.
Add some bright laces or ribbons to help them stand out even more.
In my opinion, a whole row of shoes is even better.
Pair a mini rain boot planter with a repurposed cowboy boot planter to show the entire family’s ages, hobbies, and personalities. This fun DIY project has so much character and will always be endearing to look back on as the years go by.
Positioning your shoe planters in a specific way can also give them a super charming feel. Set down old boots like the wearer has abandoned them on the spot. Or alternatively, rest them on a log post like long-forgotten relics that sprouted flowers on their own accord.
This pairing of Tiffany blue high heels and a bright red purse makes my heart so happy. It looks like the stylish wearer set off on some grand adventure, leaving her belongings on the spot.
While plants are always beautiful, this kind of storytelling in a garden landscape really adds to the atmosphere and is a conversation starter for visiting guests.
Plus, it won’t cost you a cent. And you’ll get to give your old belongings a new purpose.
This pairing of a shabby vintage leather suitcase and stunning forget-me-not flowers is the perfect addition to a cottage or farmhouse garden.
Leather is durable and can easily withstand the outdoor elements, so instead of getting rid of an old suitcase like this, use it as an old-timey planter and fill it with bright flowers for summertime.
3. Repurpose Drums, Tins, and Cans
To avoid old metal barrels ending up on trash heaps or in landfills, you can repurpose them as rustic plasters. While they may go a little rusty, that will just add to their vintage effect.
Best of all, they’re sturdy, spacious, and durable. Drill in a few holes to ensure your soil can drain excess water.
You can also turn old barrels into charming cartoon planters to brighten up your yard or garden. This is a great project for kids and will surely bring a smile to the faces of passers-by.
Try his-and-hers planters, or even different sizes, to create whole families.
This inviting recycled rainbow planter idea will have guests feeling more than welcome and is a fantastic way to repurpose unwanted barrels. Planters and pots this size can be pricey if you buy them new, so why not reuse what you already have at home?
4. Don’t Throw Away Toilets and Toilet Rolls
Empty toilet rolls have been a staple in the world of DIY crafting for decades, but have you ever considered using them for seedlings?
Because they’re biodegradable, they make fantastic mini planters for seedlings during their sensitive growing phase. As a bonus, this is a fun way to show kids the different stages of plant germination.
And once they’re big and strong, you can plant them – toilet roll and all – straight into the soil. The cardboard will disintegrate over time, making room for roots to grow and thrive.
A bathroom upgrade might leave you with leftover parts you’re unsure of what to do with. Unfortunately, broken or excess toilets and basins are often made of ceramics like porcelain that can’t be recycled.
This repurposed toilet planter is an innovative use of a discarded toilet that is both amusing and charming. And there’s plenty of space in the bowl to plant colorful flowers.
In this example, a lovely succulent garden has found its way into an abandoned toilet. Sturdy and durable, there’s plenty of room for these plants to grow and trail over time.
5. Repurpose Old Mailboxes
Plants are the best kind of mail. And in the age where digital communication is steadily replacing “snail mail,” this is a lovely nod to the old postage system and a clever way to repurpose vintage mail holders, so they don’t end up on the trash pile.
They are also often a perfect design for mounting to walls or even trees.
6. Make Wall Hung Planters from Pallets
Personally, I can’t get enough of pallet crafts. While generally made with lower quality lumbar, pallets can easily be found unwanted or purchased for next to nothing. And by the nature of their design, they’re perfect for holding small pots and planters.
Best of all, they’re easy to work with, and you can carve or chop them into interesting shapes to suit your personal style.
Alternatively, keep your palettes in their original form but coat them with a lick of bright paint. Bold colors tend to show off the greenery of foliage, making for eye-catching garden accessories.
7. Reuse Old Watering Cans, Buckets, and Teapots
Before purchasing new planters, it’s always good to look around at what you have that can be reused. Here, old jugs, pitchers, pots, and small buckets have been painted a beautiful bright blue and converted into hanging planters.
Hanging them at different angles creates a gorgeous, rustic aesthetic.
This repurposed hanging planter is made from an old steel bucket painted with a beautiful floral design – a fun and rewarding DIY project that looks great and is very practical too.
Just ensure your bucket planter has good hanging support, as the larger ones can get quite heavy when filled with damp soil.
While old steel or tin kettles may have gone out of style, there’s no reason to get rid of them. Fill them with flowers or shrubs and use them as table centerpieces.
This type of decor is perfect for an outdoor tea party.
Painting faces on your discarded kettles or water pitchers give them a bit of personality. In this example, the tiny flowers look like a cute and unruly hairstyle – sure to evoke some laughter from the kids.
8. Make the Most of Recycled Cans
We all end up with unwanted tin cans at some point or another. They make excellent planters, being a good size, and they also insulate warmth really well (for those living in cooler climates).
Squish your cans to make them look incidental, or leave the top end partially attached to make them easier to mount. This is another fun DIY project for painting unique patterns and designs.
9. Reuse Egg Cartons for Seedlings
Egg cartons are the ideal size and shape for growing vegetable seedlings. And once they’re ready for the garden bed, you can plant the box straight into your soil.
Leaving the lid attached also creates some much-needed shade and protects baby plants from the elements when growing outdoors.
10. Turn Wheelbarrow and Bicycles into Planters
Do you have an old or unused wheelbarrow lying around? Fill it with plants for a lovely garden accessory.
This clever recycling hack also allows you to move your plants out of harsh winds or rain if necessary or into an area with more sunlight when the seasons start to change.
A gorgeous vintage bicycle is the heartwarming piece of décor you didn’t know you needed. Painted a beautiful, bright blue, this design uses the bicycle’s existing baskets as spaces for planters.
11. Recycle Tires into Large Flower Pots
Stack unwanted tires on top of one another and fill them with soil to build raised garden beds.
You can paint them with a fun design, like these Minions, or leave them plain. Either way, they’re sturdy, especially when filled, and can prevent your more delicate plants from getting trampled.
12. Use Furniture and Accessories for Planting Flowers
Do you hate throwing away old furniture? Don’t. An old chair can serve as the perfect resting spot for a wicker basket planer full of flowers.
This repurposed vintage chair planter has been cleverly converted to hold a shallow basin of succulents where the seat would have been. It looks beautiful and gives the garden a sense of nostalgia.
Converting an old chest of drawers into layered flower beds is the perfect way to repurpose old furniture.
You can paint the drawers or leave them plain and extend them inward or outward as much as you deem necessary space-wise.
If you already have a lot of ceramic or terracotta planters, jazz them up with a coat of paint and a warm “welcome.”
New paint makes everything feel fresh, so repurpose your existing pots whenever you need a change.
13. Build Creative Metal Planters
You never know what you mind find when you start looking through backyard sales or thrift stores. Interesting metal pieces, like these lovely yellow umbrellas, can become a great upcycle project for your garden. All you need is a little imagination.