Family Portrait Planters


Family Portrait Planters

Family Portrait Planters
Family Portrait Planters

The entire family will love putting together these self-portraits on recycled tin cans. They will look amazing decorating a windowsill, or even sitting on your front doorstep to welcome guests to your home. You can make these planters as realistic as you like by adding glasses, braids and even hair bows. Oh, and fake plants will look just as amazing sitting in the tins if gardening is not your thing!

Low Messiness
Approximate Time: 30 minutes
Medium Adult Involvement

Materials List

  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Empty recycled tin cans (labels removed, cleaned and dried)
  • Scissors
  • EVA foam or colored construction paper
  • White school glue
  • Washi tape
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Succulents, plant cuttings or young plants purchased from a garden center
  • Potting mix*

    *Warning! If you are making a planter, remember to use potting mix outside or in a well-ventilated area.


  1. Paint the tin cans with acrylic paint and allow them to completely dry. You may need more than one coat to get even coverage.

  2. While the paint is drying, cut the EVA foam or construction paper into facial pieces. Cut out a nose, mouth, eyes, eyebrows and any other details you’d like, such as cheeks or eye lashes. Cut one set for each planter you’re making.

  3. Next, paste the facial pieces onto the tin cans with glue and allow the glue to dry completely.

  4. While the glue is drying, cut the washi tape into short strips and press the strips onto the tin cans as hair. Twist pipe cleaners into glasses and attach with glue. This can be tricky! First, fold one of your pipe cleaners in half to mark the center. Then take both ends of the pipe cleaner and twist them to the center. Open the two eye holes to create a glasses shape and then twist one new pipe cleaner to each eye piece to make the ear rests. You might need to trim the length of the ear rests to fit snuggly to the sides of the tin.

  5. Finally, head out into your garden with an adult and take a cutting of a succulent or another flower suitable for transplanting. Alternatively, you can visit a garden center with an adult and pick out young plants to put in your planters. Fill the planters with potting mix and gently place your plants into them. Have an adult help you water the plants regularly, and keep them in a sunny location to help them grow.


Most plants require five things to grow: light, air, water, nutrients and space. Plants generally get the light that they need to grow from the sun, although some plants are able to grow under artificial light from a lamp. Plants also need good airflow, regular watering and nutrients found in soil. All living things, including plants, need space to grow. So, please make sure that you select a variety of plant that will be able to survive within the confines of the tin can that you use. Have an adult help you choose just the right plant for your space.


Try using all sorts of different materials to make facial features on these planters, such as bottle tops, buttons, straws, googly eyes and beads. These planters would also look amazing with alien heads, robot faces or even your favorite animals.

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