4 upcycled galvanized buckets and tubs

Buckets of style

I’m seeing them everywhere – featured in glossy decor magazines, for sale in chic decor shops and showcased on home reno TV shows. Everyday galvanized buckets, pails and washtubs are being up-cycled by crafters, gardeners and designers alike, giving these utilitarian vessels a more useful and, for some, a far more glamorous life!

Galvanized washtubs at a flea market. Photo by Karen Kirk.


They look lovely in a garden planted with flowers and vegetables – I use one for my clematis on the balcony – or turned into a unique water feature as shown below. I spotted this one on the back porch of Europa Antiques in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., a few years ago.

Washbasin water fountain by Europa Antiques. Photo by Karen Kirk.





Here’s another great use for these inexpensive, weatherproof tubs. Surround a tub with an expandable bamboo trellis and plant tomatoes or other veggies and vines in it. Don’t forget to poke holes in the bottom of the tub for drainage. At Christmas, fill it with a dwarf evergreen and add some lights or, better yet, birdseed ornaments.

Veggies thrive in tubs filled with rich soil and good drainage. Photo by Karen Kirk.


Here are some of my favourite new ways to up-cycle old galvanized buckets of all sizes and shapes. These upholstered seats can be made of outdoor fabric like colourful vinyl and can be used for seating around the pool or on the patio. For indoors, try using canvas, linen, or recycled flour sacks and linen tea towels. They make great laundry hampers or stools for the bathroom and storage ottomans or benches for inside or out.

Someone got very creative making tufted seats for these washbasins and pails. Photo by Karen Kirk.


Keep a lookout for vintage flour and grain sacks, table linens and towels to fashion cushions for fun tubs like these. McInnis Antiques in Cobourg, Ont., sells wonderful textiles from the late 19th and 20th centuries (see below), such as grain bags, tablecloths, pillow cases and linen yardage, that are perfect for making toss cushions, pillows and upholstered seats like the ones shown above.

Vintage linens from McInnis Antiques in Cobourg, Ont. Photo by Karen Kirk.


Solid, blue-striped and red-striped rolls of linen are available in various lengths and textures.

Cushions made of vintage grain sacks and table linens. Photo by Karen Kirk.

Have fun with these cheap and cheerful buckets and turn them into happy pumpkin lanterns!

Happy halloween lanterns. Photo by Karen Kirk


Have you found any metal decor accents in your travels? Inspire us and post a picture in the comments below.