Hey it’s Vanessa here, I decided to jump on the recycling band wagon and upcycled some used milk formula tins simply by painting them, and planting herbs in them. Check out my super-simple upcycled herb planters.

I’ve been keeping all my son’s milk formula tins, unsure of what to do with them at the time, but I was convinced they would have a use at some stage!

I finally decided before Christmas they would look great as herb planters and I could gift them to my ‘secret Santa’ present recipient.

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Super, super easy folks, and they were light on the wallet. But the best thing about them was, they were made by me, myself and I with a little help from my oldest boy Jake.

I thought carefully about the herbs the person receiving the planters would use, and I thought about the sort of food they like they could use them on, it was a real buzz creating them. A handmade gift is truly a gift from the heart.

So give this one a go!

Upcycled Herb Planter Using a Milk or Milo Tin


What you’ll need

White primer
White acrylic paint
Paint brush
Clear enamel spray paint
Hammer and nail
Potting mix
Herb seedlings
Cardboard labels and ribbon

What to do

1. Before you start painting you need to put a few holes in the bottom of the tin if you are using them for herbs. I did this with a hammer and nail and 3 holes were sufficient.
2. I gave my pots 1 quick coat of the white primer to seal the can, inside and out. I painted 2-3 coats of the white paint and I finished them off with a spray of clear enamel. This just helps to seal the bright colour and prevent fading, or tarnishing.
3. When they were dry, I added potting mix and a selection of different herbs.
4. Finally, I decorated them with ribbons and cute labels.
5. I bought cheap saucers from a local plant shop to use as trays for the pots. But you could just as easily source cheap second-hand porcelain saucers, or just forgo the trays.

Keep the soil moist using a mister for at last a week while the herbs take. Then mist every 2-3 days until you give them away. Place your planters next to a source of good light, but somewhere fairly cool. You don’t want the herbs to go to seed before you have a chance to gift them!

I kept my planters really simple, I love the pure white effect with the handwritten planter tags. But you could go crazy with this idea – some of my ideas I want to try soon are

* growing cherry tomatoes or chillisHerb-planters

* use a stencil to create a cool geometric, or stripe pattern on the tin

* write a recipe in black marker pen on the tin in scripty handwriting to go with the herb

* paint the saucers in bright neon colours.

If you love this idea, then you should also check out our Upcycled tin can lanterns we made for Matariki.

Upcycled tin can lanterns for Matariki

Let me know how you use yours. And for more great DIY craft and gift ideas, check out our Creative arts and crafts section.

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Vanessa and Ingrid share food and photography as their passions. They started www.foodopera.com in 2009, when they both started having kids. Their blog is a journey through the ups and downs of motherhood with ideas and recipes that have helped make their busy lives a little easier and more enjoyable.It also has lots of fun features such as cook offs between the two sisters.

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