Upcycled Oxidized Copper Planters

Upcycle Old Cans into Stylish Copper PlantersYou gotta love it when two beloved trends get together for a simple DIY project — especially when houseplants get in on the action too! The two trends I’m talking about are copper and marble, and the two of them pair up nicely with these oxidized copper planters. Upcycle empty paint cans, jars, or tins with the help of gardening and cleaning supplies, transforming empty containers into new planters loaded with style… and, well, soil too.

Upcycle Old Cans into Stylish Copper PlantersMaterials:
-empty can or jar (must be a straight cylinder)
-copper flashing or copper sheet like this
rhododendron plant food
-construction adhesive (if not using adhesive-backed flashing)
-heavy duty cleaner (if using polished copper)
-polyurethane (not shown)

-spray bottle
tin snips or other device to cut metal
-abrasive cleaning pad
-safety devices (gloves, mask, goggles)

Upcycle Old Cans into Stylish Copper PlantersStep One: Mark the height of your container onto the copper sheet and draw a line as a cutting guide.

Step Two: Use tin snips or heavy duty cutters to cut your copper sheet to the height marked in step one.

Upcycle Old Cans into Stylish Copper PlantersStep Three: Most likely your copper sheet is coated, so you will need to remove the coating for the oxidation process to take place. Dissolve a heavy duty cleaner like TSP in water, and then use an abrasive pad and a little elbow grease to remove the copper coating.

Step Four: Mix 1/3 cup of vinegar with 2 tablespoons of plant food and shake to dissolve in a spray bottle.

Step Five: Mist the copper sheet with the mixture and allow to rest for about two hours until the wet spots have created a beautiful blue oxidized pattern.

Upcycle Old Cans into Stylish Copper PlantersSeveral light coats of misting will result in more depth in the blue splotches, while pooled liquid sprayed all at once will create more solid fields of oxidation.

If you don’t like how your oxidation patterns developed, you can flip over the copper sheet and do the other side, or clean again and give it another go.

Upcycle Old Cans into Stylish Copper PlantersStep Six: Bend the copper to the shape of your containers.

Step Seven: Use construction adhesive to secure the copper sheet to the jar, and tie them in place until the adhesive cures. I used rubber bands, but you could use string too. Just don’t use tape; it may pull away some of the oxidation.

Optional Eight: (Optional) Seal the oxidized copper with polyurethane to prevent further corrosion.

Upcycle Old Cans into Stylish Copper PlantersUpcycle Old Cans into Stylish Copper PlantersI love the turquoise color against the copper metal, and the natural marble pattern created by the oxidation is gorgeous! This is a great technique to add texture and color to special copper craft projects, and I think the effect looks really nice against clean and modern design elements. –Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

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