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.

  • I love this! I want to try this and gift it to my daughter, it’s her favorite color. Thank you for the tip!

  • These planters are so darling! I need to make some for our home!


  • If you have any empty paint jars or even tins from your pantry (coffee, tomato sauce, etc.), they would work great! But if you don’t have any, and would like to buy something fresh and new, Home Depot should sell empty paint cans with their painting accessories. -Mandi

  • These are so cool! I have how they turned out!


  • Oh my gosh – I really, really love these! I’ve liked a lot of things on this site, but these take the cake.

    Any hints on where to find cylinders like that? Do hardware shops like Home Depot carry them (which is where I’m planning on getting everything else)?

  • This project is amazing. When I saw the first picture I thought i was going to be a tricky DIY. But it doesn’t seem tricky at all. Of course I’ll need some space to try this, but seems to be a project that I can make 🙂
    And they turned out so beautiful! I love this tone of blue.

    Thanks 🙂
    xo, deborah http://www.loveandeverythingblog.com

  • I absolutely LOVE these! I am totally obsessed with both of those trends so this is just perfect! I seriously need to give this a go!

    Holly X

  • I love this but looks a little challenging… I am going to sit down and take a look at this with my husband and see if we can make it for our new apartment (at this rate, all of our DIYs will be from your blog!)


  • Wow, they look wonderful! Almost like a world map, I really like that!

  • What a fabulous project! The turquoise and copper looks exquisite set against the green of the plants.

  • Oh wow – I love this! I love the colours that you get from it with the little hints of copper peeking through! I might have to give this a try!
    xo April | April Everyday

  • These look incredible! Definitely something I would like to try myself! x

  • These are stunning! What a great mixture of new and old materials. Love the tutorial as well. Very thorough and easy to understand. Thank you for the awesome new idea!


  • These are stunning! What a great mixture of new and old materials. Love the tutorial as well. Very thorough and easy to understand. Thank you for the awesome new idea!


  • I love how the turquoise pops!! Such a gorgeous make ☺
    Hannah x

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