Upcycle a Basket Into a Planter

Lingering winter weather can bring on a need to have green, growing things in our indoor surroundings. And those first signs of Spring often foster a desire to bring the outdoors in. Decorative planters are easy to get, but here is a very straightforward way to upcycle a basket into a planter.

Upcycle a Basket Into a Planter
A grouping of basket planters on an entryway table.

Whether you use some thrift shop finds, or baskets you might already have on hand, you can use these easy steps to transform them into inexpensive custom planters that fit your your décor!

A selection of baskets.

The first step to upcycle a basket into a planter.

To upcycle a basket into a planter, choose the right one first. Baskets woven from almost any material can work for this project, as long as it is sturdy enough to hold a potted plant. Make sure the weave is tight enough to hold in most potting soil. This ensures that the area around it doesn’t get messy, and to conceal lining materials. Also, the basket should be deep enough to hold a plant.

Base the size on where you might place the planter when it’s finished. Smaller planters work better for desks or window sills, and larger ones can be placed on a hearth or in a foyer. Medium sized baskets work well on an entryway table or a credenza. If you want to use them in a grouping, varying the sizes and using similar shapes help create visual interest.

Paint the baskets.

Next Steps.

First, clear the baskets of tags, and remove added decorations you don’t want to include. Also, clean off any dust or residues before continuing with the next steps.

You might find baskets with a color and finish that work well in a grouping just as they are. If that isn’t the case, paint them all the same color to make the grouping match better. Krylon Fusion all-in-one paint and primer covers just about any material, and comes in a wide choice of colors. I chose satin white, which might be the most versatile color there is. Grey tones or even black would look great in any contemporary setting. Choose a color that fits your style! If you decide to use the baskets outdoors, add a couple of coatings of a protective clear coat spray paint to protect the material of the basket, and make it more durable.

Line basket with plastic and coco liner.

Layer up the lining of your basket.

After each basket is painted and dry, start by lining it with plastic. Excess can be trimmed off with scissors, so that it doesn’t come up over the edges. This can be a piece of landscape sheeting, a storage bag, bubble wrap. I reused a sheet of plastic packing material. You can use anything that will hold in water and won’t easily degrade over time. This will keep soil in the basket, as well as stop water leakage. Next, add a piece of coco liner. This will also help hold in moisture and keep your plants from getting too dry between watering.

Add stones, etc. for drainage.

Before adding potting mix, add a layer of small rocks, potsherds, or wood chips to help with drainage. Foam packing peanuts will also work!

Arrange plants in your basket planter.

Now you’re ready to plant!

Carefully remove plants from their pots, keeping any soil packed that might be packed around the roots. Arrange them in a loose cluster so that they have plenty of room to grow, if you’re using multiple plants. In a mix of plants, the taller plants look better to the back, or in the center. Showcase shorter plants next to them. Be sure to have a good all-purpose potting mix on hand to fill in the basket, and to add below the base of each of the plants so that they are slightly below the top edge of the basket.

Upcycle a Basket Into a Planter
Adding moss to a basket of polka dot plant, flowering kalanchoe, dracaena Janet Craig, and silver lace fern.

Lightly pack in potting mix so that the basket is filled, then add decorative mosses or stones on top as a finishing touch if you’d like.

Water plants after repotting.

Brush off any soil from the top of the basket, and give those plants a drink before placing them in their new home!

Upcycle a Basket Into a Planter
Flowering kalanchoe, Boston fern and coffee plant.

Some houseplant pointers.

Houseplants can be beneficial because of their air purifying qualities, but if you have pets, make sure they are out of reach to them. Many houseplants can be mildly to very toxic to animals. There is a list of toxic and non-toxic plants on the ASPCA website. Some may cause some sickness, but others can cause serious illness if they are eaten.

Also, make sure the plants you choose are resilient to indoor conditions. Most garden centers and florists will sell houseplants, as well as having knowledgeable staff there if you have questions. Information about lighting conditions, watering and general care are usually on a tag in the pot. There’s also a wealth of information online about every plant species available!

Types of houseplants to use.

This flowering pink kalanchoe makes an good houseplant because they are low maintenance, and are actually a succulent! They are easy to care for and have pretty leaves and flowers, but they are toxic to cats and dogs! Be sure to place this plant out of reach of pets.

Boston ferns are often used as houseplants because they favor mild, stable temperatures, and as with most houseplants, doesn’t need a lot of sunlight.

Coffee plants like this one are a hardy, easy care houseplant that also prefers mild temperatures and indirect sunlight.

Upcycle a Basket Into a Planter
Parlour palm and pink brocade polka dot plant.

Parlour palms like the one pictured here like indoor conditions, and are easy to maintain and grow. If well-maintained they might need to be replanted, as they could possibly get up to 10-12′ tall!

The varieties of polka dot plants available can add a splash of color against most other other plants. They often have spotted or mottled leaves with a pink base color and green spots, like the pink brocade variety pictured here. There are also varieties with white, purple, red or deeper color leaves with brighter contrast available. Polka dot plants can be grown outdoors as an annual, but work well as a houseplant because they stay small when grown in a container indoors.

Have more questions?

There are so many houseplants available, you may find it hard to decide which ones to bring into your surroundings! If you need some pointers, go here for a handy reference to types of houseplants and their care.

Finding ways to upcycle a basket into a planter can be a fun and cost-effective project to enhance your décor and bring the benefits of houseplants into your indoor environment. However, if you’re convinced you have a black thumb, check out our Faux Succulent Wall Hanging. It’s easy to make and never needs tending!

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