DIY Decorative Planters – 2 Simple Options Plus Bonus Gardening Ideas!

These decorative planters are easy, cheap, and quick to make. You can turn an otherwise boring old plastic trash can and a basic terra cotta pot into pretty planters for the cost of a can of spray paint. Add some inexpensive plants and you’ll be done with this project in about an hour!

It’s not as if I need one more thing to water this year when it comes to planters and flowers.  And I’m pretty sure I said I was done buying plants.  But. I’ve had these trash cans sitting in the garage for nearly a year just collecting dust so it was time to make them pretty!  And I found the terra cotta pot for around $4 at a garden store.  And they are perfect for these DIY planters!

Summer Garden Tour and Decorative Planters

I’m joining in with several other bloggers for a Garden Tour hosted by Kippi from Kippi at Home. Be sure to check out all the other fabulous ideas at the end of the post!

DIY Decorative Planters – 2 Simple and Affordable Options

Each year I go a little nuts when it’s finally warm enough to start adding plants to the yard.  There are so many beautiful flowers to choose from, but the planters can get expensive!  So I made a few new ones this year for less than $20 for three new DIY planters, including the plants and soil.  

Affiliate links provided – see the full disclosure here

Supplies for these affordable decorative planters:

  • 1 can of spray paint (this is the one I used, but I found it cheaper at Wal-Mart), I bought two but only needed one can and still have some left over
  • plastic trash cans – mine are from IKEA and were $1.29 each
  • terra cotta pot – I used an 8″ pot from Lowes for around $3.50
  • drill – already owned
  • soil and flowers ($5) –  I chose a 6 pack of Impatiens for $1.98, 2 Lantana plants for $4 each and potting soil

Trash Cans Upcycled Into Decorative Planters

First up – the trash cans.  I found these cheap plastic trash cans from IKEA.  They are 11″ high so they are not huge, but also not tiny.  If you don’t have an IKEA close by, check out a dollar store or even a thrift store for trash cans.  

  • Make sure your trash cans are clean and free of dust
  • Use a drill to drill four or five drainage holes in the bottom – this is super easy since the cans are plastic.  If you don’t have a drill, you can easily poke a hole through the cans with a nail and hammer (you can see I accidentally forgot to do this until after I painted – oops)
  • Lay out a drop cloth or old sheet and start with your cans upside down.  Spray an even coat of paint.
  • Let them dry, then flip over and cover the rims of the trash cans and a second coat all over.
  • If you’ve never used spray paint before, make sure to do short light strokes instead of one long spray.  Stay at least 12 inches from your object to avoid runs in the paint.  I sprayed one light coat of paint, let it dry, then sprayed another coat. 
  • Gloss paint is harder to use on flat surfaces because of the overspray.  If I were painting a flat surface of something other than a planter, I wouldn’t choose gloss.  It’s a personal preference because it’s tricky to get an even spray. 
  • Spray the inside rims of your cans too so you won’t see the original color. 
  • I am super impressed with the coverage of this paint even over a dark colored surface.
  • Let it dry completely, fill with soil, then add your plants.  Decorative planters made from IKEA trash cans
Decorative Planters with Lantana

I chose Lantana in a pretty purple hue for these pots.  If you’ve never planted Lantana, it’s a beautiful flower that grows as an annual or perennial depending on your planting zones.  They come in a variety of colors with tiny clusters of flowers ranging from pink, purple, yellow, red and orange.  They bloom all summer and have gorgeous dark green foliage. 

One plus about Lantana – they’re easy to grow.  You can use them in planters, gardens, or even container gardening.  Give them some room if you plant in the ground – they can get up to 5 or 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide in ideal conditions!  And butterflies and hummingbirds love these plants!

Decorative Planters

Affiliate links provided – this means if you make a purchase from clicking a link, we may earn a small commission.  See my full disclosure here.  

Shop Gardening Supplies Here

Decorative Planters – Terra Cotta Planter Makeover

My second cheap planter makeover is made from a basic terra cotta planter from the garden store.  You can usually find these at any local home improvement store (these are the cheapest option in my area), thrift stores, and junk stores.  If you get one that’s not new, I recommend cleaning it well with soap and water first.  

  • Clean your pot if necessary and let dry thoroughly – terra cotta takes a while to dry
  • Turn upside down and paint the bottom first, let dry, then flip over.  The terra cotta pots take longer to dry than the plastic
  • Use the same technique with the spray paint to paint two even coats
  • Terra cotta is a very porous material.  It soaks up the paint more and I liked that it didn’t cover completely.  It gave it a slightly vintage feel.  However, if you don’t like that, you can continue on with the third coat of paint. 
  • Fill with soil and add your plants!Decorative planters using spray paint

This DIY was so easy and so quick.  You can use any color paint you want or use a variety for a color-filled display on your porch or patio.  It’s a super easy way to add indoor or outdoor planters for much less money than buying new.

For this terra cotta planter, I chose Impatiens in red.  Impatiens are some of my absolute favorite annuals to plant each year.  They bloom continuously and grow quickly!  They are some of the best shade-loving plants, but they do make some varieties that can tolerate more sun.  And they are so easy.  Give them water, fertilize them periodically and you’ll have continuous color all summer.  

You can even do these for indoors like this planter makeover I made using acrylic paints.  Pick up a few small ones and let the kids paint their own too – it would be a perfect afternoon craft session for them!

Affiliate links provided – as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from purchases.  See the full disclosure here.  

Gardening Supplies

Here are my top recommended and favorite planting and gardening supplies to help you create a gorgeous landscape, flower or vegetable garden.

For more gardening ideas – check out these 7 Farmhouse Style Planters and the perfect Container Plants For Full Sun.

Pin For Later!

DIY Decorative Planters
2019 Summer Garden Tour

10 thoughts on “DIY Decorative Planters – 2 Simple Options Plus Bonus Gardening Ideas!”

  1. Wow! I love how super easy this project was. I am picking up some pray paint and giving my old pots a makeover. Pinned!!!
    Happy weekend,

  2. I would have never guessed you used trash cans for these gorgeous pots! I’m definitely going to try this. I also love the color you used. So happy to be joining you on this tour! 🙂

  3. 3 of my very favorite things: Cheap, easy & fast…DIY projects, that is, LOL! Too cute. I’ll be watching for trash cans, now. FYI if you have pets, lantana berries are poisonous for pets if the are plant eaters.

    1. Yes – cheap, easy, fast – 3 important parts of my DIYs! And I did not know that about Lantana! Thanks so much – I’m going to include that in my post. I appreciate the tip!

  4. I find this completely brilliant! I absolutely love the colour you chose for them too! I keep running out of flower pots lately I might have to snag a few of the trash bins around the house haha. It was so great to do this tour with you!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.