Turn Plastic Barrels into Decorated Planters

Why spend hundreds of dollars at a garden store buying painted clay planters when you can make your own with discarded plastic barrels? Cutting a few 50-gallon drums in half and utilizing your mismatched, extra paint from previous projects around the house can yield large planters that will look like the real thing once you're done and have established plants, vines, or even edibles in them.

DIY Decorated Planters

50-gallon drums
Drill with 1/2-inch drill bit
Small amounts of paint (any kind will do, as you can always seal the paint with outdoor poly coating)

  • Using your jigsaw, cut the 50-gallon drums in half and clean well (inside and out) with your rags. Allow to dry.
  • Drill holes every 8-12 inches around the base of your bins for drainage.
  • Decorate! We used a Southwestern theme, but be as creative as you like.
  • Place your planter where you'd like it.
  • Fill with dirt.
  • Plant!

Got a great upcycling project you'd like to share? E-mail us at info@betterfarm.org.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.