DIYdiy projectsoutdoor

diy project: sabrina’s paint can planters

by Grace Bonney

today’s first diy project comes from art buyer sabrina bajaj in los angeles. sabrina is sharing a diy project that will turn leftover cans of paint into a quick and easy planter for your favorite succulents and household plants. our tiny utility closet is overflowing with half-empty cans of paint so i’m going to find a way to dispose of the leftover paint safely and then clean them out and try this project. thanks to sabrina for sharing!

CLICK HERE for the full project instructions after the jump!


-Paint can (any size)
-Water proof fabric such as oil cloth. You can also use decorative tape.
-Measuring tape


1. Clean and dry paint can thoroughly. If you’re using a new paint can, wash with soap and water and dry. If you’re using a used paint can, be sure to clean the can of any remaining paint, wash with soap and water and let dry. Then remove the label and any remaining glue or residue (Goo-B-Gone is great for that)


2. Puncture a hole at the bottom of the can using a nail and hammer. A small hole will be be sufficient. Just enough to let the plant breathe.


3. Measure the length and circumference of the can and cut out your fabric.
4. Apply adhesive to the fabric and carefully place it on the can.
5. Once it’s dry add soil and a succulent (or one of your favorite household plants)!



Suggested For You


  • Our garbage men will take paint remnants if you put kitty litter in it. I have never tried to get it out of the can after we put the kl in … but I would imagine if you poured the paint into a different container (old plastic take out perhaps) and put the kl in THAT – your can would be empty and ready to rock.

  • If you don’t have any old paint cans around, you can also go buy unused and unlabeled paint cans from the paint store. I found that out from a project I did for my fashion forecasting class. Super cute idea!

  • paint cans are easy to come by… but where do you find such lovely fabric?? online or local in nyc/brooklyn? thanks!

  • Another idea is to use empty baby formula cans. I throw away one every week (tiny apartment, can’t use them all) but I think I can try this idea for a few of them (much easier to clean up too). Thanks for the post!

  • also, If you don’t have any paint cans laying around, as you may have just taken them to the recycling depot…
    I have seen fresh, empty paint cans in various sizes, sold at hardware stores too! buy a whole bunch..I like to hang plants in those old vintage macrame plant hangers, I could envision something pretty cute with hanging paint cans!

  • Just the other day I used a lamp shade for a plant jazzer-upper-er. Just turn the lamp shade upside down and pop your planted pot inside! There’s a pic on my blog if you wanna check it out ~you can find old retro lamp shades at second hand stores and markets and they’re really cheap!

  • Bravo Sabby! These are colorful AND functional! I bet they’d be fun to make. I can just see a patio filled with bright-colored geraniums in these zany cans!

  • Someone asked above, but I didn’t see an answer and Google isn’t giving me much to go on: Where did you get that fabric? It’s awesome and I’d love to find something similar.

  • Unfortunately I don’t know the name of the store where I bought the fabric. It was a ma and pop shop in the east Village in NY.

    I have used old coffee cans and food cans as well. All of that will work as long as the plant has enough room to grow!

  • Putting a hole in the bottom of the can defeats the purpose, as far as I’m concerned. Instead, set your potted plant up on something inside the can so over-fill water stays in the can, but away from the roots. I do this with decorative wooden buckets; I don’t have to be too careful about how much water I add, nor do I worry about water running out on the table.

  • I forgot to mention that I lined the wooden buckets with foil; that’s why they don’t leak