DIY Recycled Herb Garden

Can you remember your favorite gift you've ever received? Or maybe a favorite gift you've ever given? My senior year of high school, I had moved away from the small town I grew up in to a completely new community. I was part of a small theatre class that had about ten or so students in it, and we all became close throughout the year, in essence that we were all never apart due to shows and fundraisers and clubs, etc. Which also meant we also grew to not enjoy each other at times, too! It was a fun class, and it taught me a lot about working as a group and opening my heart to new people and ideas. That year, our teacher wanted to a do a Secret Santa, and before we were given our chosen-secret-person to give gifts to, we had to fill out a chart on what types of gifts we enjoyed receiving. That was really hard for me to put down. Of course, there were things I wanted, but none of them were appropriate for a high school Secret Santa. I mean, if someone wanted to buy me a new Xbox that year... I probably would have felt sick to my stomach. So what can you put down for that?
It's a hard question to answer, right? But then I thought about what kinds of gifts I would truly enjoy giving, and those were little parts of me. Whenever I've given a really thoughtful present in the past, it's always been something that I personally enjoyed and wanted to pass on to someone else. This doesn't always work, but in the case of Secret Santa, I thought I would try it out. We had one week to give, and each day was themed. My Secret Santa gifted me colored pencils and a sketch book, her favorite music on a jump drive (the modern mixtape), and a few other things that she personally enjoyed. They were the best gifts ever! I loved every single one of them - I got to discover some new music and find out more about my Secret Santa's likes and hobbies. As for me, the person I was to gift to happened to be one of my very best friends. I had so much fun showing her some of the fun things I liked that I thought she also might enjoy. I ended up making her a decoupaged notebook where she could keep all of her new ideas. A year later, she gifted me a giant photo album of the same nature to keep pictures of my new babe on the way, inspired by my gift last year. It's those moments and gifts that I will always remember! And it's that type of gift giving that I hope to pass on to my son. He is still small now, but I want to try every year to introduce him to something new that he might enjoy in a gift instead of giving him a toy. Perhaps that means I give books until he loves reading (I'm working on that, which he does love doing already!!), or maybe he receives a set of paints and discovers he really loves making art. 

So, this year I didn't have to think too hard about what kind of personal gift I would love to give to someone else - plants! My love of plants has grown leaps and bounds this past year. I have learned so much about caring for herbs and succulents, what they can be used for, and how to use them. It was a "DUH" moment when I came across a gift idea similar to this DIY - this idea isn't new, but it's the thought of remembering to do it that counts (hey, mom brain!). Are you ready to make a recycled herb garden? Good! Me too! Here's what you need:


  • Tin Cans, recycled from canned goods. We eat a lot of canned green beans around here! I used 14.5 oz cans.
  • Canning Jar Lids
  • Twine
  • Copper Spray Paint
  • Chalkboard Paint
  • Chalk/Chalk Pen
  • Cute Container to keep your herbs in
  • Herbs, preferably established OR seed packets 
  • Soil (optional)
  • Rocks (optional)


  • Before we begin, it's good to note that I am making my recycled herb garden with already established herbs, which means it will be put together before I gift it. This is also so that you can see end results. If you are wanting the other person to put their herb garden together, you may opt to buy seed packets instead of already established herbs! And it would be cute to package the soil and rocks needed in a little paper bag.
  • Gather your cans. Three cans fit best in my little metal container, but you can obviously make as many as you want. Using your copper spray paint, paint the outsides of the cans until coated. Let dry completely.
  • I wanted a cute place to label the types of herbs that were going in my cans, so I painted some canning jar lids with chalkboard paint. This is a great way to make a label, too, because you can change it later! 
  • Once the chalkboard paint has dried, using a piece of chalk or a chalk pen (which works a lot better), write the name of the herbs you will be putting in each of the cans. With a hammer and nail, or a drill, make a hole in each of the lids. Thread a pie of twine through the hole and tie the label to your can.
  • Now it's time to transplant the herbs. I purchased mine at our local grocery store, which we're noticing a lot more grocery stores are selling kitchen herbs! I decided to buy Basil, Sage, and Rosemary - some of my favorites! If you're not sure which herbs to buy, some of the most common culinary herbs are:  Thyme, Oregano, Dill, Cilantro, Chives, Bay Leaves, Mint, Parsley, and Marjoram. 
  • Place a handful of small rocks at the bottom of each of your cans. This will allow for proper drainage. Fill the can up with soil about 3/4 of the way. If you have already established herbs, then you can probably just transplant the herbs into the cans straight away; they will have plenty of soil already. Fill in soil where needed - it needs to come up to almost the top of the can. 
  • Once all of your herbs are transplanted, clean them up, give them a little drink (they will be shocked from the move), and place them in your container. You're done!

I can't wait to give this gift idea to a few of my dear friends. They keep telling me how much they love my plants but don't know where to start. This is a perfect way to help them along and ignite their love for fresh herbs! Have fun making and gifting. 

xoxo Kayla