Turning Vintage Tinware Into Unique Planters

by Robin Stever 12/01/2019


 Photo by Sabine van Erp via Pixabay 

There's a certain nostalgia associated with genuine vintage tins -- not the replicas you find at today's one-dollar stores. Genuine vintage tins had real purpose, usually multiple ones, in fact. They did double duty as tubs to wash both children and laundry. Or, sometimes, they held both lunch food and school supplies.

Today, many of these vintage containers are worth far more than they were when originally produced, especially if you can find them in mint condition. These are the vintage containers meant to be safely preserved and stored away behind glass for future generations to enjoy. The others, however -- the ones that have gone rusty and bent, and the ones that have holes in the bottom or pieces rusted through -- these ones make perfect planters to lend your front porch and windowsills a twinge of nostalgia from days gone by. We've listed our best ideas for upcycling vintage tins like these into precious planters for your home. 

Vintage Tin Cans

Back in the day, tin cans held medicine, spices, tobacco and oysters. In fact, there were few products that wouldn't fit inside a tin can. These types of vintage tins all had something in common: They were small. If you're planning to upcycle a vintage tin can into a planter, think succulents. Anything bigger will eventually need to be transplanted to prevent it from becoming root-bound. Burro's tail or hen-and-chicks work well in small containers. Simply drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage, use cactus soil for planting and be sure not to over water. 

Vintage Biscuit Tins

Biscuit tins were bigger than traditional tin cans, and they came in every shape and size. A word of caution, however. If you come into ownership of a genuine biscuit tin, even one that's in questionable condition, have it appraised before turning it into a home for your spider plant. These tins are highly collectible and sought-after pieces of history.

Traditional biscuit tins are long and flat, meaning you'll want a plant that can thrive with somewhat shallow roots. Herbs such as basil and rosemary fit the bill. So do bonsai trees and pothos. Again, drill holes for drainage before planting. 

Vintage Candy Tins

Traditionally, candy tins were bigger than both tin cans and biscuit tins, comparable in size to some of today's shoe boxes. Old candy tins held toffee and hard candies, among other confections, and they're the perfect size to upcycle into planters for Chinese evergreen or grape ivy.

Estate sales are tops for finding old, interesting tins that aren't in mint condition. These are the ones you want if you're going to turn them into fun and eclectic planters for your home. Keep them away from the elements, or spray them with several coats of sealer before placing your vintage tin planters outside. 

About the Author
Author

Robin Stever

A 30-year veteran of the real estate industry, Robin Stever has consistently ranked in the Top 1% of all Coldwell Banker agents in the country. She is a third generation Pasadenan and a lifelong resident. With a passion for Pasadena's unique architectural history, Robin is honored to have represented many of the city's most historically distinguished properties. As a Architectural and Global Luxury Specialist, Robin has been repeatedly recognized for her outstanding sales. She is committed to providing knowledgeable service to her clients and works hard to keep up to date on real estate trends and laws. She is a graduate of the Graduate REALTOR Institute, considered to be the most advanced and comprehensive training program available to real estate agents in North America. Robin's focus is on the details that assure the end result will be satisfactory for her clients. She is equally dedicated to providing service to her hometown and is currently an active volunteer with the Pasadena Art Alliance and The Pasadena Garden Club.