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! ; )