A Crazy-Cute Way To Up-Cycle Your Empty Drink Can

A Crazy-Cute Way To Up-Cycle Your Empty Drink Can

Recycling is a great start, but it's such a shame to throw some things away when they still hold so much potential. That's where upcycling comes in - one of our favourite words here at Expert Home Tips.

Upcycling is all about taking something old or used, and turning it into something new - usually something with a purpose. It's about giving a new lease of life to objects that would otherwise end up in the bottom of our bins.

Cans are a prime contender for upcycling projects. Every minute of every day, an average of 113,200 aluminium cans are recycled, which, whilst better than being thrown into landfill, requires a tremendous amount of resources. This seems like such a shame, as most cans these days feature some really cracking designs that are art in themselves.

I saved some of my favourite beer cans from our local craft beer shop, Inn at Home, and, once the beer had all been drunk - and thoroughly enjoyed - I came up with a simple way of upcycling them in a way that showcased their amazing designs.

DIY cactus planters using cans
The coolest cacti planters I've ever seen!

Cacti and craft beer cans? Have you ever seen a cooler pairing?

If you needed any convincing that upcycling is the way to go, this tutorial is it. It's quick, simple, customisable and, best of all, uses bits and bobs most of us will have lying around our home or garden.

Here's what you need:

  • Cool cans (soda/beer - anything goes)
  • Soil
  • Small stones/gravel (the fancy type you fill your fish tank with, or those found in your garden are perfectly adequate)
  • Small cactus/succulent (you can also opt for artificial plants if you're worried about caring for them)
  • can opener
  • beer glass


  1. Empty your chosen beverage into a clean, cool glass and set aside for afters.
  2. Rinse the can out under the tap.
    Cutting a beer can with can opener
  3. Use your can opener to cut around the inner section of the can. This should come away smoothly.
  4. Fill the empty can half full with soil.
  5. Place in your cactus or succulent.
  6. Fill the gaps around the edge of the plant with more soil until packed tightly.
    beer Can upcycling project for cactus planter
  7. Top up with small pebbles, arranging them evenly around the circumference of the plant.
  8. Great job! Now, time for that drink!
Can cactus holders
Crazy cute!

As you can see, the tutorial is insanely easy! It's one of the most simple but effective projects you can do, and so cheap too.

Thanks for visiting! If you try this tutorial at home, I'd love to see your results - share them with me on our Facebook, Twitter & Instagram accounts.

Stephanie C


Lover of all things fashion & foodie...I look to satisfy my tastes without obliterating my budget. Wannabe interior designer, I'm an avid cushion cover maker and charity shop hunter.

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  1. Author Andrew Gill on August 22, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    I suggest that you fill the can with multi purpose compost (found in any garden centre or DIY store) rather than soil from the garden. Otherwise you are bringing in all types of bacteria and small beasties into your home.

    1. Author Joanne A on August 23, 2019 at 11:16 am

      Great idea, Andrew!

  2. Author Stephen on June 23, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    Hi there, theses look great! Just wondering, how have these held up 3 years later? Still looking good? Any corrosion on the cans and are the plants ok?

    1. Author Joanne A on June 30, 2020 at 12:31 pm

      Hi Stephen! We would suggest adding drainage holes to make them last longer.

  3. Author Claire on June 27, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    Heya, dont you need drainage holes so the cactus roots dont rot?

    1. Author Joanne A on June 30, 2020 at 12:30 pm

      Hi Claire! Yes, it would be sensible to add drainage holes. Alternatively, you could use fake plants to avoid watering.

  4. Author Norman Howe on April 7, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    Have you thought they make nice pencil or pen holders. Decorate the cans and put something in the bottom to give it a bit of weight of the tin will fall over when the pens and pencils are put in.

    1. Author Joanne A on April 16, 2021 at 4:08 pm

      That's a fabulous idea!

  5. Author Nicholas Morgan on November 12, 2021 at 8:55 am

    What's the aftercare for these?

    1. Author Joanne A on November 30, 2022 at 11:51 am

      Aftercare depends on the type of plant you've opted for. If you want to go the low-maintenance route, we'd suggest artificial plants. You might also like to drill some holes in the bottom of the can for drainage.

  6. Author Luke on April 6, 2022 at 12:43 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I've also used empty cool looking/unique design beer cans as candles. I boil a large pot of water and place spent Yankee (or similar brand) candle jars in to melt the remaining wax as there's always lots left, then carefully tip into the empty can once a new wick has been placed in (can be purchased cheap online or at local craft store). They look great and you get an extra 10 or so hours of scent out of a candle otherwise destined for the bin!

    1. Author Joanne A on September 27, 2022 at 2:52 pm

      That sounds fantastic!


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