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Barrel Bucket Flower Pot Makeover

June 12, 2019

A barrel bucket flower pot adds instant charm and the feeling of home to your outdoor space. Find out how I refreshed this vintage barrel bucket with a quick and easy makeover to give it a splashy new look for some showy flowers!

Today is show day for our monthly Thrifty Chicks challenge! Each month this group of creative DIY bloggers tackles a new thrifty project based on a common theme, and for June we are featuring upcycled flower pots.

Thrifty Chicks DIY projects based on a common theme.

Come see what we have done to give our flower pots a fresh new look! You will find links to all the projects at the end so you can follow along and pin until your heart’s content. If you missed last month’s mosaic challenge, you can pop over to see my beach rock mosaic garden border here.

A Barrel Style Flower Pot

A barrel style flower pot has been on my ‘bucket’ list for a looong time, so when I spied this vintage teak stained pail in the thrift store I didn’t have to think twice. I knew this little find was coming home with me!

A teak stained barrel bucket with handle and brass strapping bands.

This bucket is neat because it has a built-in divider that creates two sections in it. Right away I could see it potted up with herbs, but for my project I wanted to put showy flowers on display instead.

A teak stained barrel bucket with handle and brass strapping bands.

As soon as I saw this bucket up close I knew there wasn’t going to be a huge, involved makeover needed to give it a new life. Barrel buckets are kind of awesome that way. All I really wanted to do was give it a refresh, but in a different colour stain from its original teak stain colour.

Steps to Re-Staining Barrel Bucket

I started by giving the wood a light sanding all over. I didn’t want to completely sand out the scratches and marks, but I did want to blend them in a little bit – less gouge, more wear. I used a sanding block for this.

Upcycle a barrel bucket into a flower pot for your garden or outdoor living space.

After wiping off the sanding dust I set the barrel bucket on a plastic bucket turned upside-down, and then applied the stain with a clean rag. I used a black stain because I knew it would go black in the scratches and worn spots, but would turn a deeper, darker brown overall due to the light touch with the sanding.

A teak stained barrel bucket is upcycled into a flower pot using black stain.

Giving Shiny Brass an Antique Look

I also went over the shiny brass bands with the black stain. The brass was pretty scratched up in some spots, but even if it wasn’t I would still do this. My goal was to antique the bands and give them a more worn, aged look. Out with the brassy brass!

Black stain over a teak stained barrel bucket gives it a rich chocolate brown finish.
Black stain applied to shiny brass bands creates an antiqued brass look.
Black stain over a teak stained barrel bucket gives it a rich chocolate brown finish.

Drilling Drainage Holes in Bucket

Once the stain was dry I had a few more tweaks to make starting with drilling holes in the bottom of the bucket for drainage. I did this by starting off with a small drill bit to establish the holes. Then I re-drilled the holes with a larger bit to make the holes bigger.

Applying Protective Wax Finish

The last tweaks were to protect the stain and wood of the bucket by applying two different layers of wax. I thought the wax would help to semi-seal the wood and make it a little more water resistant.

I didn’t buy wax specifically for this project, I just used what I had on hand. I applied Annie Sloan’s Soft Wax in clear, and worked it into all the surface areas of the bucket. Then I finished with a dark wax to deepen the colour of the bucket.

Prepping Barrel Bucket for Flowers

Finally, the last steps were to line the bucket with rocks for drainage and fill with dirt. I chose to plant bright red geraniums I bought a few weeks ago with this project in mind. I knew they would be showy and would look amazing in this pot!

I went thrifting for a plate or tray large enough to fit the 11″ base of the bucket. I didn’t love anything I came across so I picked up this old vintage flan pan instead. It’s a great fit size-wise, and I’m thinking about rubbing some of the black stain over it to tone the shine down. What do you think? Would you leave it as is or give it a little touch of the stain?

I did this project over 2 days, but only because I did the staining in the evening. If you got going in the morning, you could have your own barrel bucket makeover finished in the same day!

Pinned & Shared at Audrey Would

Below are links to the rest of the Thrifty Chicks flower pot projects. Click on the link beside their blog name to go to their posts and find more inspiration for upcycling your own flower pots.

Upcycled Flower Pot Projects

  1. Itsy Bits and Pieces – A Simple Flower Pot Project
  2. Little Vintage Cottage – Upcycled Clay Flower Pots
  3. Lora B Create and Ponder – Repurposed Croquet Candlestick
  4. And ME 🙂

Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Thanks for stopping by!

Audrey Would Vintage Home blog

Photographs © Audrey Would! Vintage Home unless otherwise indicated.

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  • Reply Marie June 22, 2019 at 7:19 am

    The barrel looks so much better stained dark and makes those lovely red geraniums pop! Love the idea of a unique fluted flan pan base too. Pinned 🙂

    • Reply Sheila Zeller June 23, 2019 at 12:37 pm

      Thank you Marie! I’ve always loved how geraniums look in old barrels so I’m happy this makeover worked out. I need flowers that are not a lot of work or they die on me. These ones seem to like their new home. Whew!!

  • Reply Tammy L Caldwell June 21, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    I love it. It looks so much better now. I would definitely stain the pan as well after seeing how well the brass turned out. Now I will be looking for one. Have a great weekend. Tammy

    • Reply Sheila Zeller June 23, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      Thank you so much Tammy! And I appreciate your input on the pan – I have been so undecided on that so it’s nice to have your feedback 🙂

  • Reply littlevintagecottage June 13, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    That looks amazing! Love the darker color!


    • Reply Sheila Zeller June 13, 2019 at 9:09 pm

      Thank you Tania! With your encouragement I pushed through, and I am so glad I did!!

  • Reply Tuula June 13, 2019 at 11:30 am

    This is beautiful! The dark stain is so rich, and I love that your barrel is sitting in a fluted quiche pan.

    • Reply Sheila Zeller June 13, 2019 at 9:08 pm

      Thank you Tuula! And thank you so much for your comment – I appreciate it! 🙂

  • Reply Repurposed Croquet Candlestick - Lora B. Create & Ponder June 12, 2019 at 9:02 am

    […] Audrey Would, “A Barrel Bucket Flower Pot” […]

    • Reply Sheila Zeller June 12, 2019 at 5:26 pm

      Thank you Lora! I have a few smaller ice buckets that are similar to this big bucket, and now I’m thinking I should be giving them a makeover too! It’s amazing how a touch of stain can make such a difference, and with not a lot of effort… 🙂

  • Reply Lora Bloomquist June 12, 2019 at 8:49 am

    I like your updated version so much better than the original version, Sheila! I’ve never given those buckets a second glance, but now you’ve got me thinking;) Enjoy your fresh pot of pretty flowers!

  • Reply Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces June 12, 2019 at 6:22 am

    This is beautiful, Sheila! The black stain really gave the finish a rich, upscale look! Gorgeous project!

    • Reply Sheila Zeller June 12, 2019 at 8:47 am

      Thank you so much Linda! I really appreciate your feedback and look forward to the next challenge!

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