Upcycled Planters Are Kind To The Planet, And Our Wallets

Upcycling isn’t just hip and fashionable; it’s also planet-friendly. Reusing items is almost always a good thing, and one great and easy opportunity to upcycle is planters. Sure, we’ve all thrown a plant in an old can and created a pretty cool flower display in a used tire. But for this list, we’re going beyond the obvious and creating planters from items you probably have around the house but never considered using for plants (until now)!

Upcycled planters are kind to our planet, and our wallets.


Yup, we’re starting big! Do you have an old dresser you aren’t using anymore? Well, before you try to get $50 for it online, why not consider the planter possibilities? It might not seem obvious at first, but think about it… What is a drawer if not a large planter box (thus making a dresser a unit of multiple planter boxes)? Make sure you pull the drawers to different depths, so the plants have upward space to grow.

Shoe Organizer

Shoe organiser hanging on a wall and being used as a planter for green and purple plants.

You know those hanging shoe organizers we all buy, thinking they’ll be a great addition to our closets? Well, if yours is still in your closet and filled with shoes, then more power to you. But for the rest of us whose organizational aspirations lasted two weeks before the shoe organizer found a permanent home on the closet floor, pick it up, hang it up (not in the closet), fill the pouches with dirt, and add some plants.

Shoes and Boots

That’s right. You can use the shoe organizer and the shoes themselves. Depending on how old and worn they are, you might not have to add any drainage holes. Based on how wet my socks get when I wear them, I know I have at least a few pairs of shoes that won’t need any extra holes added. If yours aren’t at that stage, a drill, hammer, and nail will do the trick. Then add some rocks, dirt, and a plant.

License Plate

Recycled license plate container being used as a planter for a green plant, sitting beside a box of tomatoes and several wooden spoons.

This one requires more manipulation than the previous items on this list. However, you can turn a license plate into one with DIY sweat equity. You can find tutorials online, but the basic idea is to bend the license plate into a curved, can-like structure without a base and then hold it together by attaching the two ends. This may be cheating because the tutorials I saw used a glass jar as the planter within the curved license plate. But, as long as you don’t let anyone pick it up or look too closely, who’s gonna know?!

Light Bulbs

This is the most DIY-intensive project on the list. But when completed, it looks really cool. You will want to research this one and follow the instructions carefully because it involves removing the filament and the black glass stopping you from getting to the filament. However, once you clear out the bulb, you’re left with a beautiful, small glass jar perfect for fresh or dried flowers. I would recommend hydroponic planting in these, as there’s no way to add drainage. Also, the roots growing in the water provide a nice visual element.

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Jesse grew up obsessed with movies and so it only makes sense that he graduated from McGill University with a degree in Political Science. He then put that degree to good use with a job at a video store. After that he spent months backpacking around Europe - a continent that he has been back to visit many times since. Jesse is super curious and loves to learn and explore new subjects. For the last 15+ years he has been writing online for a number of different sites and publications covering everything from film and television to website reviews, dating and culture, history, news and sports. He’s worn many hats - which is ironic because he actually loves wearing hats and he has many different ones.