Do you usually toss your empty tin cans into the garbage or recycle bin?
That’s what I always did until I found a creative way to recycle them.
In less than half an hour of hands-on time, you can turn an empty tin can into a textured planter that’s guaranteed to be as unique as your creativity.
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Here’s all you need for this project:
- empty tin cans, with labels removed – any size(s) you like
- spackle compound (I like Dry Dex brand)
- putty knife (a butter knife will work)
- an old toothbrush
- a plastic fork
- acrylic paint
Start by drilling a few holes in the bottom of each can for drainage.
Now you’re ready to smear the spackle compound on the outside of the can. If you can frost a cake, you’ve got this process mastered!
You want it to be thick enough to cover the ribbing of the can.
Once the can is fully covered, use the putty knife to smooth out your work.
Here’s a tip: Hold the can horizontally and look at it from the top. You’ll be able to easily see where it’s too thick and remove what’s necessary, or add more in areas that may be too thin.
If you want the sides of your planter to be smooth, just leave it as it is.
Adding Texture to Your Tin Can Planter
There’s a few fun ways to add some texture though, like dragging a plastic fork down the side to create ribbing.
Don’t worry about the “crumbs” this creates. We’ll deal with those later.
You can also add a plastered texture by smacking the compound with the putty knife. This will be a little harder to achieve with a butter knife since is narrow, but if you’re patient, you’ll get it.
Here’s how that texture looks once you finish.
Again, don’t worry about those sharp peaks you’ve created. We’ll easily fix them.
You can also create texture using an old toothbrush. This is very similar to what you get when you use the putty knife, but with a finer grain.
Once you have your tin cans covered with compound and have added any texture you want, just let them dry.
Remember me telling you I like Dry Dex brand? Here’s why. It goes on pink and turns white when it’s fully dry. You can see that the tin can on the right is already drying (an hour or so passed between coating it and the other two).
Drying time will vary, but since we’re Time-Crunched Creatives, it doesn’t really matter. Mine actually got 6 whole days to dry!
Of course, that wasn’t my plan, but life happens and when I was able to get back to my project, they were certainly ready to paint.
Normally, I allow 6-8 hours. Overnight is perfect. Depending on how thick you apply the compound, they can dry even quicker. Just go with what fits your schedule. They’ll wait for you. 🙂
And do you remember those little “crumbs” and peaks we created with the texturizing? Once they’re fully dry, gently rub your hand over the surface well and they’ll fall right off. As long as they’ve dried thoroughly, you’re not going to damage the texture.
Now, you’re ready to paint. Choose a single color like I did, or go with several colors or even more than one color on each planter. Get creative and have fun. If you don’t like what you get, just let it dry, apply a cover coat of paint, then start again.
Finally, add some potting soil, some pretty plants, and enjoy your unique planters!
These planters are so easy to make and I guarantee you won’t find another one like it anywhere! Plus, you’ve found a fun way to recycle an old tin can.
Would you like to see a video tutorial of this technique? Here’s a Facebook Live show I did earlier this year with Hometalk, where I shared the how-to, plus one more fun way to create texture.
Pin this project to save for later…
How to Make Inexpensive Planters from Recycled Tin Cans is part of the Summer Blogger Challenge.
Special thanks go to BonBon of Farmhouse40 for designing, coordinating, and leading our challenge this season. You can take a peek at all of the projects in the banner below. Be sure to visit these talented bloggers for more recycled tin can inspiration.
This post contains affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission if you make a purchase using these links. The price you pay, however, will not be affected. Thank you for supporting To Work with My Hands. View my full disclosure here.
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