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DIY: Make Your Own Awesome Planters

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To be honest, I really admire you green-thumb types. I’d actually love to come home to a house full of green leafy things in colorful pots and know all their Latin names and what kinds of medicinal uses they have. However, that is not my reality. I am much better at accumulating cobwebs than caring for
conifers. But that doesn’t mean I’m not capable of throwing together an awesome repurposed planter. I am, after all, a crafty lady… who has a bunch of random crap in her house. Let’s see how many different things I can repurpose into planters, shall we?

1. Bricks: either straight up bricks, or something more along the lines of cinder blocks. Either way, you can work something out; for brick, spray down your brick with water, then carefully drill out a hole for a succulent to live in. A classy upgrade is to also drill a hole for a votive candle. Cinder blocks are a bit easier, all you need to do there is create a bottom (more cinder block and liquid nails, or broken plate), fill with dirt and place plant inside.
2. Galvanized metal canisters: in case you’re on an antiques finding mission, or at a Farmers Market in 1952. Pretty straightforward here, make sure there’s drainage of some sort and put your green things inside.

3. Cans: With bolt cutters, you can carefully cut metal cans in two, then spray paint them and seal to wall with liquid nails or a brace of some sort.
4. Canvas: Any kind of canvas or heavy fabric bag can be repurposed into a quick planter. If you’ve just got canvas fabric, you can sew a bottom and stencil letters onto it to make it look more like a Hessian or burlap bag.
5. Shoe Organizer : This is especially good if you have cats because they are pesky suckers and will eat your herb garden. Just get a hanging shoe organizer, throw it over a door, fill the pouches with soil, insert herbs, water, and bask in your fresh basil.
6. Shoes: Preferable leather, or natural materials. Again, drill holes, fill with soil, go to town.

7. Drawers/Dressers: Wooden drawers and dressers are ideal for new life as a planter box. After all, what better to grow something in …than something that was growing? Right? Stagger the drawers in dressers, and drill holes.

8. Wood Pallets: You guys. I saw a pallet on Clement Street two weekends ago and now I’m bummed that I didn’t grab it. Because painted pallets, mounted on a wall and filled with plants is super sweet.
9. Bathtubs: Fortunately, you won’t need to drill here, because hey! Drain. So, that’s easy enough. Let some water pool in the bottom and the plants will do the hard work. If photosynthesis is considered hard work…

10. Books: Because books will degrade with moisture, this one is best for succulents, cacti, things that like being planted in rocky soil. Measure the hole, and cut carefully by layers. It might help to clamp the sides of the book down so the pages don’t move. Glue around the edges to hold in place, plant.

11. Tea Cups: It’s… hard to drill into ceramics and china. So, use a thin drill bit and best of luck with that. If you’ve got a steady enough hand to do that, you can also drill three holes into a saucer to mount with a chain.

12. Birdcages: Much like pallets and bathtubs, this is really a matter of paint, mount, plant. Bonus points because bird cages are very cool.

13. Kids Toys: Ah, plastic dinosaurs. So full of nostalgia and awesome decorating potential. Cut a hole in the back of your toys (they should be hollow), paint if needed, fill with plant.

14. Floppy Disks: Two words: Hot glue. Seriously. That’s it.

15. Typewriters: I’m pretty sure just setting a plant in it and leaving it outside will do the job here…

16. Suitcases: We’ve talked before about how awesome suitcases are, so if you find cheap old ones, stock up and add planter to your list of things to make. Drill holes. Get dirt. Continue.

17. Egg Shells: This is nice for tiny, delicate buds and feminine centerpieces. I’ve got no tricks for you here; somehow, you’re gonna have to break off just the top of the egg, rinse it, dry it, paint it (optional but nice) and then fill it with dirt and a stem. Not a craft that goes well with drinking.

18. Cork: Yay cork! Drill tiny hole, fill with tiny succulent. Optional: tiny magnet to put on your…tiny fridge?

19. Milk Cartons/Yogurt Containers: Both milk cartons and yogurt containers make really quick and easy planters if you’ve only got ten minutes for a house warming gift. Just cut down a milk carton, wrap with linen, fill with plant. Yogurt containers can be painted (metallics are nice here) and holes can be punched in the bottom with scissors. Easier than taking care of an orchid.

20. Colanders: Ready made holes = ready to be a planter. Fill with dirt and plant.

21. Pop bottle: It sounds super cheap-looking, but the cut-in-half-and-tuck seedling version and mounted-horizontally options both look more clever and crafty to me.

22. Mason jars: Yes, mason jars are still awesome. Paint, fill with dirt then plant. Note: this is for plants that like to be ‘misted’ and can survive in a window sill, so nothing water intensive.

23. Light bulbs: Yes, you can unscrew a lightbulb, remote the electrical parts and then carefully create a terrarium, or a bud vase. There are a couple of ways to do this, including a version with a stand and a hanging version.



Images courtesy, Apartment Therapy,,,, Home and Gardening,,,,,,,, and

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Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

A freelance writer, blogger and poet based in San Francisco, Amber has written for PC World, InfoWorld, and the 16th & Mission Review. She has performed at City Hall, Litquake, the Brainwash, 16th & Mission, BlueSix, and SFSU among other places. Amber is also consummate fan of swearing, organizational freak, yoga practitioner, music geek, caffeine addict, and tattoo enthusiast who enjoys platform shoes, making out, thumb wrestling and fighting the good fight. She owns a bicycle named Gretel, a motor scooter named Elroy and a cat named Simon. She can be found in various virtual locations all over your interwebs.