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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!

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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!

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