DIY herb planters

DIY clothespin herb planters

(Last Updated On: April 3, 2023)

The project was a lot of fun and really easy! Not to mention I enjoyed the accomplishment of completing a project inspired by things I’ve pinned. I was as happy as a bird with a french fry. A pig in a peach orchard. Here’s how it all went down…

What You’ll Need

To make a spiffy herb planter, you only need four things…

  • One 5 oz tuna can
  • 21 clothespins
  • Dark walnut stain marker
  • Oil-Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint

If you plan on doing more than one planter, just multiply the tuna cans and clothespins by the number of planters you’re making.

In my case, it was three, so I needed 63 clothespins and 3 tuna cans. As for the stain marker, for three planters, you shouldn’t need more than two pens.

The tip wears down by the time you get to clothespin # 32, making it hard to get the stain in the small grooves.

I started out by getting the most tedious part out of the way first: staining the clothespins. You can find stained clothespins on the internet, but most are around $10 for 10. I was able to get 80 clothespins from Ben Franklin Crafts for around $8, and the stain marker was about $7.

Even though staining them individually took a little time, it was a lot cheaper. Plus, DIY-ing is so much more satisfying, right? Right.

First, take each clothespin apart.

By doing this, you can easily get the stain in all of the nooks and crannies, and you don’t discolor the silver spring. Just make sure you don’t stretch the springs too much when you’re taking them off. Otherwise, when you go to clip the completed clothespins onto the can, they won’t hold on tightly.

Next step: color away!

I decided to go with a stain marker rather than using the brush/rag method because I figured it would be a lot neater. I was able to stain all of the clothespins while sitting at the bar in the kitchen watching a movie, and there was almost no mess at all – except for a little stain on my fingers.

There were lots of variations in the wood, so some ended up being lighter/darker than others. But that’s okay! When I got done putting them all back together, it gave them a cool, reclaimed wood look.

The stain really soaked into the clothespin pieces, and there was no real need to wipe them down, but you can if you want to – as the directions on the marker says, it’s optional. After laying out for a few hours, they were dry enough to put back together.

Wash the tuna cans

When it came to prepping the tuna cans, I started off by running them through the dishwasher because I wanted to make sure the tuna smell was completely gone. One thing I actually do know about rosemary is that it isn’t supposed to smell fishy! 

Since we went for a darker look, I decided to tone down the silver by applying a light coat of oil-rubbed bronze spray paint that I already had on hand.


Once the cans were completely dry, it was time to assemble the planters! The assembly process isn’t rocket science – just clip the pins onto the cans and rock ‘n roll. Just make sure the edges of the pins are touching each other on the inside of the can. That will make them nice and evenly spaced on the outside.

I transferred the baby herbs we picked out at Lowe’s (rosemary, dill, and chives) to our new planters, et voila… I’m one step closer to being Barefoot Contessa! Okay, it’s one baby step. But it’s a step nonetheless…

I put the three planters on a long, white platter that picked up from Home Goods (it was only $9.99) to add some contrast and make them easier to transport when I need to move them to cook/clean.

The cool part about this project is that it’s two-fold. If the herbs die – which won’t surprise me because I’ve killed every plant we’ve ever owned – I can use them as votive candle holders! Holla!