Upcycled Coffee Can Planter

Introduction: Upcycled Coffee Can Planter

About: I'm a guy, I like to play video games and eat pizza. Making and fixing stuff is one of my favorite pastimes.

My co-workers and I drink a lot of coffee and empty coffee cans are great to re-use! This Instructable will show you how to make a small planter out of an empty coffee can. It's really easy, super customize-able, will save you money by not having to buy a brand new planter and keeps some plastic out of a landfill.


  • Empty plastic coffee can and lid
  • Drill
  • Dark Spray-paint color (I had a can of dark green)
  • Light Spray-paint color (I had a can of white - this is optional for a label)
  • Permanent marker
  • Box cutter
  • Wire cutters
  • Potting soil or dirt of your choice
  • 1-2 cups of gravel or a few handfuls of small stones (optional)
  • 1 piece of cardboard (optional for label)
  • 1 used gift card
  • 2-3 feet of flexible wire (this is optional if you want to make a hanging basket)

Step 1: Get an Empty Coffee Can

There are many different brands and sizes of available coffee cans but for the purpose of this instructable, we're going with plastic Maxwell House. Drink all the coffee till it's empty (compost the used grounds if you can) and you'll have an empty coffee can like we see above.

Step 2: Drill Your Drainage Holes

Next, we will want to flip the can over and use our drill to put several small holes in the bottom for drainage (I went with 6-7 for this one). The size of the holes is up to you, I'd recommend smaller holes.

While you're drilling the holes, put one hole near the edge of the rim of the lid, this will make sense in the next step.

Optional: If you'd like to hang this, put one hole on each side of the "neck" of the can (this will be used to put the wire through).

Step 3: Remove Inside of Lid

Using your box cutter, start cutting away the inside of the lid - be careful as the plastic is pliable, but still quite strong.

Step 4: Paint the Coffee Can

Take your can and place it bottom side up on a piece of cardboard.

For best results, when you begin painting, hold the spray paint can a bit further away and using sweeping motions, rotate the cardboard that the coffee can is sitting on. Let it dry for a few hours and flip the can over and finish with your color.

Bonus points if you want to paint your lid a different color than it already is - I liked the gold with green so I didn't paint it.

Step 5: Create Label Cutout and Paint Label

I fashioned a label stencil by tracing an old gift card on a shoe box top and cutting it out. After I cut it out, I placed the box top where I wanted the label to appear and spray painted it white.

Step 6: Finish Label

After the paint dries, check to make sure you like how the label looks - I wasn't completely happy with it, so I did a bit of cleanup by placing the gift card I used for the stencil over the white and spray painted green.

After cleanup is finished (if needed), write down the name of the plant you're going to put in the planter (I chose tomato)

Step 7: Add Wire to Hang

Cut the wire (I used some old audio cable I had lying around) you're using to the desired length - I went for roughly 3 feet.

Tie a knot in one end.

Slip it through the left side hole we drilled earlier so that the knot is on the inside.

coming around from the other side, guide the wire in and tie a knot so that both of your knots are on the inside.

Step 8: Add Rocks, Dirt, Plant and Lid

Add in your rocks or gravel (maybe an inch or so)

Add in your dirt 1/2 or so full

Put your plant in and cover with dirt

Grab the lid that we cut out and guide over the wire and plant and snap in.

Step 9: Hang Plant and Enjoy!

Hang up your planter and enjoy!

Make sure you water your plant regularly.

Thanks for reading this! Follow and share if you enjoyed :)

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    3 years ago

    Love this upcycle!


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you!