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Repurposed Garden Planters: Recycling Ideas for Indoor and Outdoor Gardens

Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

This article will share a wealth of ideas for repurposed old items to turn them into wonderful DIY garden planters.

This article will share a wealth of ideas for repurposed old items to turn them into wonderful DIY garden planters.

Ideas for Making Planters From Recycled Materials

Many of the ideas that I share here can be customized to fit indoor or outdoor gardens. Consider your space, preferences, and plants when choosing and customizing recycled items for your gardening.

Additionally, always make sure that you consider creating drainage holes. It is relatively easy to poke holes in thin materials (such as some types of plastic), while you will need to drill holes in other materials (such as rubber and metal). Happy gardening!

Using Recycled Tins, Jars, Baskets, and Containers as Planters

There really is no limit to the number of different jars and containers that you can use for gardening. Suggestions that I've found include:

  • coffee cans
  • wine bottles
  • baby wipe boxes (with the tops cut off)
  • Mason jars
  • tin cans
  • plastic soda bottles
  • metal soda cans
  • egg cartons
  • baby food jars
  • detergent boxes
  • bleach bottles
  • plastic milk jugs
  • cat litter buckets
  • any number of plastic food containers (peanut butter jars, yogurt cups, etc.)

Just make sure that you clean the containers well before filling them with dirt.

Recycled Paper Planters

Options for recycled papers to use for planters include:

  • newspaper
  • paper towel rolls
  • toilet paper rolls

If you use newspaper, stick to black and white pages. Colored inks may contain toxins, whereas black inks are made from soy and are safe to use around foods.

Using Kitchen, Garden, and Miscellaneous Household Items

There are a number of practical, easy to find kitchen and garden items that make great planters. If you're getting ready to get rid of one of these items, consider saving it for your garden. Alternatively, start scouting garage sales and thrift stores. Options include, but are not limited to:

  • colanders
  • mugs
  • teapots
  • oil cans and bottles
  • pots and pans
  • canvas coffee bean bags
  • metal wash tubs and water troughs
  • shower curtains
  • old planters (Did your plant die? You can still reuse the planter!)
  • paint cans
  • wheelbarrows

Using Furniture for Planters

Who knew that furniture could have such potential as garden planters? Just a few popular furniture pieces for planters include:

  • chairs
  • dresser drawers
  • whole dressers
  • night stands
  • filing cabinets

If you enjoy acquiring and refinishing furniture, this can be a fun option. It's amazing how a simple wood refinishing job and/or coat of spray pan can transform an old piece.

Lemon, orange, lime, and grapefruit peels can all be used as starter pots for plants.

Lemon, orange, lime, and grapefruit peels can all be used as starter pots for plants.

Citrus Rinds as Starter Planters

Do you start seedlings indoors? Citrus peels are one option for starter pots.

Lemon, orange, lime, and grapefruit peels all work well. Simply poke a hole in the peel before you fill it with soil.

Using an Old Tire

There are a handful of ways that you can use old tires, including bike tires, for planters. There are several methods for planting in whole tires as well as several methods for crafting tires into planters.

I love that many people include details and designs from the original tires in the planter designs that involved slicing the tires. This effort gives the pots a lot of character.

Using Bricks or Cement Blocks

I actually bought my first cement blocks to serve as tent weights for an outdoor craft fair. I couldn't believe that they were so inexpensive.

Even if you do not have old blocks on hand, this is still a very affordable planter. You can purchase them at just about any home improvement store. There are a variety of sizes and types (i.e. a different number of holes) available.

Alternatively, you can pour your own planters with recycled plastic containers (i.e. ice cream tubs, large butter containers, etc.) and cement that you mix at home. I have included a couple of tutorials for this process in the resources below.