Funkifying cans into colorful pots

  • Problem: Terracotta flower pots are expensive in this country, and I’m not big on the plastic kind. I can recycle cans, but then they’ll look ugly.
  • Solution: Scrapbook paper and Modge Podge!

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial for what I made today… the beginnings of our burgeoning urban balcony container garden.

Step 1 – Empty the right-sized can. In this country, tomato paste only comes in mammoth-sized cans (no idea why). So I emptied a can, and stored the paste in 1/2 cup portions in the freezer.


Step 2 – Cut drainage slits in the bottom with a can opener.


Step 3 – Cut a piece of scrapbook paper to size. I cut it to sit flush with the bottom lip and then fold over the top (I later changed my mind and cut the top flush with the upper lip).


Step 4 – Glue the paper to the can. I used basic Elmer’s glue and a paint brush to cover the surface. My goal was not perfection when I stuck the paper to the can – wrinkles and unevenness is good here, in my opinion.


Step 5 – Be creative with your available supplies! Then paint the outside with Modge Podge, which is a sealer that dries clear. This waterproofs the surface.



Step 6 – When the Modge Podge dries, fill with soil and your plant. Here’s my newly purchased basil on display in a lovely orange with brown polka dots. I’m using a plastic plate for drainage, but I’m hoping to find something else more creative and eye-catching. To the right is my 3-year-old daughter’s contribution, where we’ll probably grow basic grass, just for fun. We also Modge Podged her handprint for a splash of originality.


This can be done with all kinds of medium – look for fun images in magazines, wrapping paper, even fabric remnants. My plan is to scour for bigger cans and tubs to plant my larger plants, and then Modge Podge it all for a cohesive-yet-funky look.

Problem solved! A cheap, green alternative to overpriced terracotta or ugly plastic, and I get to expunge my creative juices with my daughter. A fun afternoon project.

Head over to Crystal to find more frugal ideas.

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. Very cool. I have been wanting to plant some spices but I don’t really want to spend the money on pots and planting them in my backyard isn’t really an option. I may have to try this out. Except I may have to use a coffee can since I have never seen economy sized tomato paste here.

    Someone Being Me’s last blog post..An Open Letter

  2. A coffee can would be ideal for herbs! Let me know if you do this – I’ll have to check it out.

  3. What a great idea, and they turned out so cute!


    Niki’s last blog post..Sunday Link Love

  4. Thanks, Niki! I’m actually stepping inside from an afternoon of more of the same craft outside. I’ll take a photo of my “grand finale” when I’m done!

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