Bluesky at Home » DIY Projects » How to Turn an Ugly Plastic Container into Gold

How to Turn an Ugly Plastic Container into Gold

You’ve heard the saying you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? Well, I beg to differ. I thought it was the perfect time to show you how to turn an ugly plastic container into gold ~ well, not exactly gold ~ that really would be something. But, something that looks like gold.

You can take the ugly, the cheap and the discarded and make it into something pretty, expensive~looking and useful. That’s what I did as part of our dining room makeover as part of the One Room Challenge.

As part of our dining room makeover, I wanted a pretty plant in the corner with the window.

Plants give color and a natural organic feel to any room. And whichever plant we chose, it would need a planter to sit in.

Since my metal accent of choice for the room is gold, I searched for a gold container. Alas, not a one to be found.

What to do when you can’t find the thing you need and want? You make do ~ with spray paint, of course! So I’m going to show you how to turn an ugly plastic container into gold ~ for very little cash (or gold).

How to Turn an Ugly Plastic Container into Gold

This post contains links to products that I love and use. If you should purchase any product through this site, I may receive compensation. I wouldn’t steer you wrong.

It really is possible to turn an ugly plastic container into gold. This is such an easy project and a fast one, too. I know because I had one afternoon to finish the One Room Challenge and when I couldn’t find a gold container in any size that would fit our newly purchased Janet Craig dracaena, I was having a design panic attack. I just couldn’t sit a plant in a plain pot from the nursery on our dining room floor, especially with all the other pretty new things in the room. 

After a fruitless container shopping search, I remembered an ugly plastic container that I had bought a year ago for another project ~ one that I never got around to completing. It was the right size and shape, but that was all it had going for it.

Fortunately, I was at Hobby Lobby when this revelation hit me. Why not try to spray paint the container gold? I’ve never known spray paint not to solve a myriad of design problems. I beelined to the spray paint aisle and grabbed (no, I had to stalk a salesperson to unlock the spray paint cabinet) a can of Krylon Gold Metallic Spray Paint. I’ve used this particular color before and knew it to be a true gold.

The Ugly Container Reveal

OK, I wasn’t kidding when I said that this container was ugly. My original intent was to paint it to look like a galvanized bucket for trash for the backyard. Never happened. I bought it ugly because I knew I was going to paint it. Now I’m so glad that I ever did.

painting green plastic planter

Painting the Ugly Container Gold

I’m sure that showing you how to turn an ugly plastic container into gold for your home will inspire you to buy ugly containers in the future ~ or maybe not. But at least you will know not to let ugly keep you from buying one if the shape and size is what you need.

The first thing I did when I got home was make sure that the container was still on the side of the house with our other discarded pots. A quick moment of panic: “What if Sweet Shark had thrown the container away?” Fortunately, it was still there, if not a little dusty. I hosed it down and set it out to dry while I set up my painting station.

I laid down a drop cloth on the garage floor and then I set up my HomeRight Small Spray Shelter. This thing is like the little engine that could. It just never stops being useful. I found a cardboard box in the garage and put it inside the Spray Shelter and covered it with another drop cloth.

green plastic planter

My only other supplies were the can of gold spray paint and my Rust~oleum Spray Grip, another must-have if you ever spray paint. This little tool will keep your hand from cramping and your finger from getting paint on it. Because you’re not thinking about your hand cramping, you can concentrate on nice, light coats of paint.

Krylon gold spray plaint

Then I set the container on top of the box, upside down. I gave the container one light coat of paint and left it to dry. I don’t think I’ve ever spray-painted plastic so I wasn’t sure how the plastic would take to the paint. Then a second coat for insurance. The coverage was great and it dried really fast.

Then I turned the container right side up and painted the top about 4 inches deep. Oops, didn’t take a picture of that.

The Ugly Container Turned Gold Result

When Sweet Shark came home with the new plant, I already had the transformed container sitting in the corner of the dining room. “I thought you couldn’t find a gold pot.”, he said.

“I didn’t”, I replied. I love setting him up for my paint surprises. “Do you like it?, I asked.

“Yea, it looks fine.”, he replied. (He knows all the right things to say.)

“Remember that ugly green plastic container? That’s it.” Actually, I think he knew the answer since the Spray Shelter was still set up and he couldn’t pull his car in the garage.

With my extraordinary resourcefulness and DIY paint skills established, he placed a plastic tray in the bottom of the container and then we raised it a few inches with a piece of styrofoam.  Then with a drumroll, he set the dracaena in the now beautifully gold container. The finishing touch was to arrange some Spanish moss around the base of the plant.

gold painted planter

Ta~da. Easy DIY project. Turning this ugly container into a pretty gold one was one of the quickest and most successful little projects.

Necessity is the mother of invention, I believe. I’m actually happy that I didn’t find a gold container. I killed 2 birds with one stone: got the perfect gold container for our dining room makeover and got rid of an ugly container.

And the cost? To be honest, I have no idea how much the ugly green container cost; I bought it a year ago at At Home and the price tag was gone when I hosed it down. So in the interest of full disclosure, let’s call it $2.00. The only other cost was the can of paint at Hobby Lobby: $6.99 + tax = $7.57. I know I couldn’t have found a pretty gold container for 4 times that amount.

gold painted planter with plant

Lesson learned: never look an ugly container in the mouth, it may be a ugly duckling waiting to be turned into a swan ~  or a silk purse. Now that you know how to turn an ugly plastic container into gold, I predict a run on ugly containers at the stores.

blog signature


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. When I saw this post on Happiness is Homemade, I wasn’t surprised that it was yours. For some reason I can just see that you can turn pretty much anything that is not so pretty into something gold (not moneywise, but beautiful). I love seeing how you transform things into beautiful things. I think that it is definitely a gift that you have. Thank you for sharing on Happpiness is Homemade.

  2. Come warm weather, I almost always have something in the front yard waiting for another coat of spray paint. This week it is a small white shutter that I think will display jewelry! With the breezes we have had (good curtain-drying weather), your spray shelter would have been very helpful! Your gold pot came out well and your room is gorgeous!

  3. Such a pretty and smart money saving idea!! Your room turned out great and including live plants was a must. The gold adds so much. 🙂

  4. I love spray painting flower pots. I have many around my yard! It’s often the cheaper alternative than buying something pre-made. Visiting from Snickerdoodle Sundays.

  5. Love the gold. Spray paint is my favorite makeover tool. Now if they just made one for my wrinkles, I’d be set! 😉

  6. Carol- this is wonderful! I always love seeing green plants inside something gold.
    As always you are right on target! 🙂