I like to find ways to reuse items that I would otherwise throw out. I especially like to turn empty tin cans into pots for the garden.

tin can garden pots with plants

Tin can garden pots are easy and inexpensive to make. They are also lightweight and eco-friendly. Once the plants die out, you can recycle the pots.

You probably have the materials necessary for this project lying around in your home, so you don’t need to purchase any additional materials.

It only takes a couple of hours to make a set of pots. Most of your time will be spent waiting for the ice to freeze in the can. The ice will stretch the metal of the can as it expands. This makes the can more pliable when hammering drainage holes into it. 

The pictures show just one pot, but the instructions are written assuming that you will make a bunch of pots at once.


Tin Can Garden Pots



tin can with a flat bottom that is easily removed with a can opener.





brown paper



gloves (optional)




Freeze ice in the cans

Remove the labels (if any) from the can. Clean each can with warm soapy water. Allow the can to dry, then wipe clean.

empty can for tin can planter

Fill each can ¾ of the way with water, then place the cans in the freezer.

water filled in tin can planter

Leave the cans in the freezer for a couple of hours or until the ice is frozen solid but clear.

If you leave the cans in the freezer for too long, then the ice will stretch the bottom of the cans which will make them wobbly and unstable on a flat surface.


Add drainage to the cans

Place the cans on a towel. Flip each can over so that the bottom is facing up.

Hammer holes into the bottom surface of each can with the nail. Make certain that there are enough holes to provide adequate drainage for each can.

nail holes into can for tin can garden pots

Next, lift the cans from the ice (if the ice has melted). Dump the ice into a sink and allow to melt. If the ice is still frozen, let it melt for a couple of hours before removing from the cans. Dry the cans.


Add the plants

The can is now ready for the plant. Before adding the plant, wet a piece of brown paper. Line the can with the wet brown paper.

line tin can garden pot with brown paper

Add a combination of sand and soil before adding the plant. Place the plant on top of the soil. Add extra soil around the sides of the plant until you reach the top edge of the can. Trim the excess brown paper.

Here is an old picture of one of my tin can garden pots with catnip:

plant in tin can garden pots


I would love to know if you tried making this project. Please contact me through the Comments section below.

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Until next week, keep crafting and sharing.

Thanks for visiting!

Spinster Simone 🙂

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