Make a Coffee Can Flower Pot


Winter, when there’s not much to do but dream with seed catalogs, is a perfect time to play with the fun and crafty garden projects you won’t have time for later when you’re over here hoeing. You’re going to be over here with your hoe, right?

It’s suddenly so quiet.

You can recycle all sorts of things around the house into flower pots, but one of the easiest is a metal coffee can. It’s just the right size to make a nice flower pot. You can drill holes in the bottom for drainage, or just pile some rocks in there. The metal also makes a great surface on which to play.

First, drink ALL the coffee so that you are completely spazzed out and filled with energy! Knock out those winter doldrums! Then get rid of the plastic label and thoroughly wash out the can.

If you want the bachelor pad look, you could use the shiny can just as it is, but there are so many crafty options with paint and decoupage, either by themselves or in combination. Or you could glue little things onto the pot–seeds, beans, cord, and so on. If you’re feeling artsy, you could make pictures or other designs. I used metal paint in two colors for a two-tone pattern. After I finished painting the pot, I sealed it with a polyurethane spray.

Yes, it’s too cold to paint.

That’s not stopping us! Plus, painting in the cold makes paint go all blobby and weird, which is awesome.

I spread out some newspaper and placed the can on a box so it would be easy to pick up the box to bring the can inside (without having to touch the wet can) to dry where it’s not 20 degrees. Cold or no cold, spray painting has to be done outside.

I did a first very light and deliberately uneven coating with a matte copper. Once that dried, I sprayed a matte silver around the top, only spraying down a few inches. The silver paint had actually been stored outside. The thick, cold paint made for a nice textural effect. Then I sprayed some more with the copper, lower down on the can, deliberately allowing for some drips.

I perused my results and found them primitively and imperfectly perfect. I don’t like perfect stuff. Imperfect is so much more interesting.

I can hardly wait to see some flowers blooming in this pot!

This is a relatively quick little project that makes a pretty and unique pot almost for free, repurposing the coffee can and using small amounts of craft supplies that you probably already have on hand. And it makes Spring feel a teeny bit closer.

Like you just wrote her a love note.


  1. Nic, SD says:

    Never woulda thought to use the paint that was outside and weird, and the silver bit at the top is the best part! That’s really cool.

  2. maryann says:

    Don’t forget that you can make luminaries out of the cans too for decorating your stairs come summer.

  3. greensborodailyphoto says:

    Coffee cans are quickly being replaced by plastic containers with molded handles. These planters will look nostalgic even with the wrappers left on! At any rate, bring on the growth. This barren look is getting old!

  4. joycee says:

    Dear Spring,
    I think my heart will break if I can’t see you soon. It’s been so long and I can’t get you off of my mind. I love everything about you, how green you are, how warm you are, how sweet the flowers smell. Please come soon, I need you!

  5. Linda says:

    Love this idea…..I am also working on a project and had to do some painting outside in 20 degree weather and brought it in to dry. I love to paint…makes old look new and so refreshing.

    Thanks for sharing……….

  6. Penny says:

    I did something like this a few years ago. I painted the cans in Christmas colors. Then, I cut pictures out of cute wrapping paper and decoupaged them on. Then I filled the cans with homemade candy. I gave them as Christmas gifts.

  7. Window On The Prairie says:

    If painting a pot will make spring come faster, I’ll do it. Heck, if standing on my head would bring spring faster, I’d do that too. Thanks for the tutorial Suzanne. I like what the cold does to the paint. Neato.
    Stay warm,

  8. jane says:

    Great idea. A great idea Penny also. I have done several sized cans and painted them and put holes with wire for handles and decoupaged on them, buttons, objects, santas and put cloth in them with candy and cookies. also you can go to the school cafeterias and get their vegetable cans. they are good too, sprayed them, put fall folliage and pumpkins on them and then a fall arangement in them. sold at craft sales.

  9. Carmen C. says:

    I love it! Almost makes it look rusty, which is a GOOD thing:D Thanks for sharing this idea!!!

  10. Shelly Messier says:

    I have just the coffee can, its almost empty. Not sure exactly how I will decorate it yet but I can think of ideas today… thanks. I dont want to brag but its going to be 72 degrees today in California where I live. I should get some bright ideas!

  11. texwisgirl says:

    I miss a good old-fashioned metal coffee can. I miss pinching the top into a spout and using them for feed scoops or watering cans. Plastic schmastic…

  12. jan~n~tn says:

    What great ideas for old/new cans. Love the handle idea, thanks Jane. Not only are you using the cans (1), but you are also getting rid of (2) some of those pesky unused hangers.

  13. lilac wolf says:

    Cute idea – and if you don’t drink coffee can coffee..can probably get someone to give you them from freecycle.

  14. Ramona says:

    I’ve got a bunch that I was thinking about using for herbs….

  15. glenda says:

    The silver is the best part! I thought at first you had used a stencil of some kind.

    Looks terrific.

  16. Julia says:

    A cute idea. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Leann says:

    Love this idea! Love the primitive look of the can and love the excuse to start thinking about planting! Thanks, Suzanne. 🙂

  18. Mintamichelle says:

    @maryann Tell us about how you did the luminaries!!

  19. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    I just did a blog post last week on using tin cans for candles. Love the idea of using coffee cans for flower pots. Thank for the idea!!

  20. Runningtrails - Sheryl says:

    No that’s a cool pot! You could fleck and sponge it to look like stone too! Hmmm…I have some coffee pots around here, somewhere.

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