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DIY Repurposed Cooler Planter

I was recently cleaning out my garage and found an old cooler up in the rafters. Since I couldn’t remember the last time I’d used the cooler, I starting thinking of what other uses it could have. Around that same time, I had started planting our vegetables in the backyard and was quickly running out of room in the garden. And a thought came to my mind: the cooler would make a great planter for my extra kale plants!  I planned to keep the planter close to my back door where I could quickly harvest the kale leaves for my morning smoothies.

I chose to freshen up the cooler with a bright lime green colour.  Although this step is not necessary and the cooler could be left unpainted, the finished planter looks pretty cool (pun intended).


  • old cooler, any size
  • Indoor/outdoor spray paint (optional)
  • drill with ½” diameter drill bit
  • small rocks to layer bottom of cooler
  • garden soil
  • kale plants (or any vegetable)

Before you begin planting your veggies, you’ll need to drill holes through the bottom of the cooler to allow for proper drainage. In my case, I drilled approximately 10 holes.

This next step is optional. I purchased 1 can of a combination indoor/outdoor spray paint intended for plastic, multi purpose materials. I taped along the top edge of the cooler as well as over top of the branded logo. I wanted the edges to be smooth and thought it best to leave the logo visible.  Ensuring the surface of the cooler was clean and dry, I began spraying the paint evenly over the cooler. This required several even coats but each coat dried very quickly.

Note: You can find another useful and beautiful spray painting idea here and see how we gave a brass lamp a makeover with spray paint!

Once fully dry, I carefully removed the tape and began to line the bottom of the cooler with a layer of medium sized rocks I’d collected from the lake.

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Thursday 8th of September 2022

Can you tell me what size and kind of drill bit you used?


Wednesday 20th of April 2022

Wow what a great idea. Thought of this last week as I began a cellar downsize. Painting is a great way to eliminate the””cooler” look. THANK YOU

Jane and Sonja

Tuesday 3rd of May 2022

Thanks so much, glad that you liked it!


Tuesday 14th of June 2016

That is so cute! I have a small beverage cooler that had a broken lid from the time we bought it. I should have returned it, but I waited too long. I'm thinking it might be cute with a small plant in it!

Melissa Vera

Monday 13th of July 2015

What a great way to repurpose an old cooler. I am thinking of recovering one with an old pallet.

Jane and Sonja

Wednesday 15th of July 2015

That sounds really interesting Melissa. Would love to see it when it's done. It's great co-hosting the #HomeMattersParty with you. Thank you for stopping by!


Sunday 12th of July 2015

I love the idea of keeping some of the veggies in a (very cute!) planter right next to the door so you can grab some easily when you want use them for a meal.I'm enjoying co-hosting the #HomeMattersParty with you this month. Can't wait to see what you share next!

Jane and Sonja

Monday 13th of July 2015

So true Alayna. We're also looking forward to seeing how long we can extend out growing season by bringing the cooler indoors, or at least onto the porch. Would be great to have kale for our smoothies into November! Thank you for stopping by.

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