DIY Decor


clothespin planters 3 tray

Confession: I want to be Barefoot Contessa. Okay, let’s back up a sec… One thing that has always been in the back of my mind when cooking is the fact that I would love to cook with fresh herbs — like Barefoot Contessa. In her super-calm, Hamptons way, she’s all like, “Now we’re going to add some fresh rosemary. Mmmmm, that smells good. I always use fresh herbs from my garden.” Yeah. The only rosemary I know is Rosemary Clooney who played Betty Haynes in White Christmas.

Last week, Katie (from Bower Power) and Sherry (from Young House Love) issued this season’s Pinterest Challenge! The whole concept of the Pinterest Challange is going beyond “pinning” and moving toward the “doing” side of things. Having been busy pinning herb planter ideas to my heart’s content, I had a perfect set of projects in mind to pull inspiration from…

Okay, here’s what we’re looking at…
1. I love the clothespin idea! It’s simple and sweet–not to mention easy to assemble. Project pinned here from here.
2. The idea of having three different herbs to choose from is nice, and it’s something I think I would like in our kitchen. I also like how they’re unified by a white tray. Project pinned here from here.
3. I really like the old, reclaimed wood look of this herb box. I’m literally obsessed with reclaimed wood finishes right now. It gives the piece character, and really pops out against the white wall. Pinned here from here.

So, in the spirit of the Pinterest Challenge, I smooshed all of these inspirations together, and this is what I came  up with…

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…

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, DIYing 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. (Like inspiration #3.)

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. Greg actually ended up putting them back together for me because he’s nice like that – and his hands are stronger.

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! On inspiration photo #1, you can sort of see the can through the spaces between the clothespins. Since they kept their clothespins natural, it looks fine. But 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 transfered 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 (like inspiration #2).

DIY Clothespin Planters //

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!

Now I’m off to make use of that tuna by making some tuna salad! ; )

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  • Reply
    Lori H
    March 14, 2012 at 9:12 am

    I love your version with the stained clothes pins! Looks perfect with the herbs.

  • Reply
    Melanie @ Mailbox Journey
    March 14, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Those are super cute, Ashley! Awesome job. I’m pinning! 🙂

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Super cute! Having herbs in the kitchen is a must!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Clever and so very simple. I may have to copy this idea.


  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 9:50 am

    SO CUTE! Great job.
    (ps. I lovvvving that you guys are posting everyday this week.)

    • Reply
      March 14, 2012 at 9:53 am

      Yay! We’re trying out a new schedule by doing small (yet hopefully helpful) posts on Tuesdays in addition to the MWF posts. Not quite committed to Thursdays yet, but we’re getting there. Baby steps… haha!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 9:52 am

    I love them. I’m totally pinning and have to try this.

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Love what you did!!! I grow herbs (and other veggies) but have found that I can’t grow them indoors. Originally they were on our porch for convenience but then I couldn’t get the rosemary and parsley to grow like I wanted. I then transplanted both to our garden and they work out so much better! If I had as much light as you do in your kitchen I’d totally do this! Just remember to water the plants, but not TOO much. Usually once a week at the most!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I LOVE your version! Looks great!!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 11:02 am

    These are fantastic! I’m thrilled about these Pinterest challenges…it’s so fun to find new to me blogs like yours!

    • Reply
      March 14, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Same here! Glad you found us : )

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 11:41 am

    These turned out adorable, and I love how simple and inexpensive they are. They are going on my ‘inspired to try’ pinboard! Fellow blogger from the YHL Pinterest Challenge 🙂

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I love this! I saw it in the link-up on Sherry’s blog and didn’t realize it was from a blog I already read! 🙂 Very, very cute.

  • Reply
    Jenny @ DIY Newlyweds
    March 14, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Very cute, I love your version!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    I love how you made all the ideas come together for your very own version. So cute!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Quality Cheap Home
    March 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    I like the stained look. I saw white ones on Ten June Blog, but she didn’t recycle the cans like you. I think I might try this for my egg tree base. Super cute! I’ll have to get my dad to save his tuna fish cans for me.

    • Reply
      March 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      Great idea! These would look so cute for an egg tree base!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    amazing idea!!!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Oooh these are so cute! I’ve been wanting to try and grow my own herbs for a while now but all of the planters I’ve stumbled upon are either too big or just plain ugly haha Thanks for inspiring me to make my own 🙂

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I love this idea…..perfect finish on the clothespins! Thanks for the inspiration. I am pinning from the pinterst party….LOL!


  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Voted and now off to buy clothespins and tuna!

    • Reply
      March 14, 2012 at 5:39 pm

      Awesome! Thanks for your vote! : )

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Looks awesome! You did a good job using the ideas from all three of your inspiration pics! I also love all the posts this week!!!

  • Reply
    Linda @ it all started with paint
    March 14, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    I love this and I pinned this!



    • Reply
      March 14, 2012 at 8:47 pm

      I wish! haha ; )

  • Reply
    John @ Our Home from Scratch
    March 15, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Those came out great Ashley! Nice job!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2012 at 10:07 am

    these are too cute!!! love them as candle holders too. great idea

  • Reply
    Catharine @ Your Modern Couple
    March 15, 2012 at 10:41 am

    What a cute idea! I can’t keep my herbs alive either, but these pots are way cuter than what I had come up with. I also love love love the votive idea! Those would make great centerpieces! 🙂

    • Reply
      March 17, 2012 at 11:25 am

      Thanks! And thanks for your vote! : )

  • Reply
    Erin @ The Great Indoors
    March 19, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    This is lovely! What a cute and easy idea, especially with things that everyone probably already has on hand. Great job, and thanks for linking up to the Winter Pinterest Challenge!


  • Reply
    September 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    What a great idea! Simple, yet very clever.

  • Reply
    Ruth Ann Anderson
    September 26, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Clothespins so useful( think the new name is chip clip ha,ah) here’s a quick way to stain.I keep liquid brown shoe polish diluted with water in an empty plastic container. Just put the pins in..let soak to desired shade. Also, if a crafter wanted the white washed look..use white shoe polish. I have used it to “rough up “dark vases,etc. get too much on..just use a rag to distress the look. This allows one to have a temporary fix..then wash off when desired for another “look”. Maybe with a tint of food coloring in the shoe polish for an Easter project.

    I have just found your site…looking forward taking a tour of your home. I’m impressed y’all want to be resourceful and DIY. We can’t change the mortgage payment, but a nice cozy,loving home can be established with patience and ETSY.

    Saving a lot of money growing the herbs too. Remember, some start to dry( die) just help them along that path …spread on paper towel and after completely dried,put them in a labeled plastic bag.

    Let’t keep in touch…a senior homemaker… RAA

  • Reply
    Deanna Tardive
    November 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I LOVE this!!!

  • Reply
    January 6, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    I use clothes pins all the time, painted and stained.
    Use painted( to match house), to attach outgoing mail to mailbox.
    Painted with magnets attached to hold things on fridge.

    You can buy hug plastic ones(from dollar store)and use for numerous outdoor things during the summer.

  • Reply
    January 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    LOVE!!!! I am so gonna have my 7 children make these as gifts for their grandma on Mothers Day this year. I seriously can’t get enough of your blog. Amazing stuff!!!

    • Reply
      January 12, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      Thanks so much! 7 children?! Oh my! I’m sure you’re one busy lady : )

  • Reply
    November 9, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Love, Love, Love!!! 🙂

    I have a question about the cans.. How do they look so smooth on too? Is it a special can opener or the kinds of cans that have that peel-away lids?

    ❤️ And the oil spray, can you buy that at any hardware store?

    Thank you! 🙂

    • Reply
      November 9, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      Thanks! We just used a normal hand-crank can opener. Yep, oil-rubbed bronze spray paint is available at Lowe’s and Home Depot.

  • Reply
    September 21, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Hey! That’s so cool and so very cute, I love it! 😀
    I wondered what sort of plant was it in the very first picture, the one that looks like basic grass?

    • Reply
      September 23, 2014 at 9:32 am

      Thanks! I’m not totally sure (since that wasn’t a photo of our project, but rather the inspiration project). If anyone else knows, please chime in! : )

  • Reply
    January 27, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    This is super cute but I wonder are the tins deep enough to successfully grow plants? Most plants require several inches depending on the length of their roots.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2016 at 9:55 am

    hi just found this via a link from better homes and gardens website 🙂

    might i suggest some holes drilled into the bottom of the tins to stop the plants from rotting.

  • Reply
    July 10, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Fabulous just fabulous!! I will surely do this. I was wondering about the depth of the tuna cans, because of the roots, I think I’ll use a deeper can.

    • Reply
      July 10, 2016 at 1:53 pm

      Thanks! Yep, if you’re planting something “substantial” a deeper can will be best.

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