Marissa Gallant & Suzanne Hauerstein 
Tower Hill Staff 

Did you know the average person throws away four pounds of trash each day? The next time you go to put something in your trash bin, think about how else it might be used and look at with a fresh pair of eyes. Sometimes all you need is a coat of paint to turn trash into treasure. Upcycling is the act of taking something that is considered waste and giving it a second life and a new function. Many times, your finished product is more practical and functional than it was before. Many of the things people throw away every day can be upcycled; all you need is a bit of imagination and creativity! Try reducing your waste and check out this simple upcycled craft. Use your new tin can planters to give your photosynthetic friends a new home or start a miniature herb garden right in your own kitchen. Our Online Garden Shop  has plenty of seeds to get you started.  

You will need: 

  • Empty tin cans 
  • White acrylic paint 
  • Assorted acrylic paints 
  • Mod Podge 
  • Scissors 
  • Paint brushes 
  • Awl and hammer or drill 
  • Large beads 
  • Hot glue gun 
  • Pencil 
  • Decorative paper, tissue paper, drawings, etc.  


Once you have gathered your supplies, begin by rinsing out your cans. Make sure they are clean and free of any food residue and let dry. Work with an adult to clear your cans of any sharp edges and have them use the hammer and awl or a small power drill to create drainage holes on the bottom of your cans.  

Cover your workspace with newspaper or a paper bag. Paint each of your cans with a coat of white acrylic paint or another light paint color and set out to dry.  

Draw a design on your cans using pencil then use your remaining acrylic paint colors to fill in your design and decorate.  

Once your design is dry, add feet to the bottom of your tin can planters using beads or small blocks. Use superglue or hot glue to affix your beads 

Instead of painting your cans you can also decorate the outside with old photos, drawings, maps, scrapbook paper, and more. Once you have cleaned out your cans, created drainage holes, and painted your cans white, paint a layer of Mod Podge on the outside of your cans. Layer on your decorative paper and follow with another layer of Mod Podge.  

Once your designs are complete, they are ready for a plant! Fill with soil and plant a seed to create a miniature kitchen herb garden or repot one of your smaller houseplants. Tin can planters also are a great place to display your air plants!