Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.
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:
- 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:
- 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
Using Furniture for Planters
Who knew that furniture could have such potential as garden planters? Just a few popular furniture pieces for planters include:
- 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.
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.
Using Gutters and Pipes as Planters
This is another concept that never would have occurred to me.
Gutters that are no longer suitable for your house will most likely work just fine as planters. The same is true for old pipes, including sewer pipes and PVC pipes.
Toys as Mini Planters
The Etsy shop that made these little guys in the picture above is no longer around, but the idea is still really cute.
If you're looking for a way to recycle some of your kid's plastic toys, consider giving this a try. Many plastic animals are hollow, so as long as you can drill holes accurately and safely, you should be good to go.
Shoes Make Easy Planters
Who knew, right? When your kids outgrow their shoes, or your boots wear out, turn them into planters.
Crocs are an easy planter because they already have drainage holes. Rubber rain boots are another good choice, as it is relatively easy to drill holes.
All of the photos that I had found shoes hanging or suspended, but there is no reason to feel limited to these options.
Light Bulbs and Light Fixtures
Until I started reading craft blogs regularly, I had no idea that there were so many ways to repurpose old light bulbs. Some people simply hollow out single bulbs and use them for small planters, while other people find ways to use entire light fixtures.
If you do choose to hollow out bulbs, please read all of the instructions carefully and follow the safety precautions.