How to Turn an Old Shoe into a Plant Pot

How to Turn an Old Shoe into a Plant Pot

How to Turn an Old Shoe into a Plant Pot


Turning an old shoe into a plant pot is a fun, creative way to reuse and repurpose something you’d normally throw away. With just a few simple materials and tools, you can upcycle your old shoes and give them new life as a unique planter.

This easy DIY project is also a great activity for beginners or kids. Customizing your own plant pot allows you to add personal flair and make it truly one of a kind. And caring for a plant in your homemade creation adds special meaning and sentimentality.

Below I’ll walk through the complete process, from choosing a shoe to decorating your finished plant pot. I’ll also provide tips to ensure your shoe planter functions properly and show examples for inspiration. Let’s get started!

Choosing a Shoe

The first step is picking out an old shoe to transform. Consider the following when selecting a shoe:

  • Size – Opt for larger shoes like boots or tennis shoes which will provide ample room for soil and plant roots.

  • Condition – Make sure the shoe is still fully intact, with no holes or separating seams that could lead to leaks.

  • Material – Shoes made of natural materials like canvas or leather work better than synthetics which won’t breathe as well.

  • Style – Go for a simple, basic shoe style without too many embellishments or a thick platform. More minimalist shoes highlight the plant best.

Ideally, select a neutral colored shoe without too much wear. This provides a blank slate for you to customize later. For your first shoe planter project, start with an inexpensive or worn out sneaker.

Preparing the Shoe

Before filling your shoe with dirt, it needs some tweaking to convert it into a functioning planter. Here are the key steps:

  • Clean – Use soap and water to thoroughly clean the exterior and interior of the shoe. Remove any debris, dirt or stains.

  • Disinfect – Spray the inside with a disinfectant or a mixture of vinegar and water. This removes odors and prevents mold growth.

  • Waterproof – Seal the interior seams and random holes with a flexible silicone or other waterproof sealant. This prevents leaks.

  • Elevate -Glue a couple small blocks, pebbles or rocks in the toe area. This elevates the base so water can drain out properly.

  • Line – Place a plastic liner bag inside the shoe to contain the soil and roots while still allowing drainage. Poke a few holes in the bottom for water flow.

  • Fill – Add an inch or two of pebbles in the bottom above the plastic liner to further aid drainage.

Planting Your Shoe Garden

Once you’ve prepped your shoe, it’s time to get planting! Follow these tips for success:

  • Soil – Use a well-draining potting mix, not garden soil which may contain diseases. Aim for a lightweight soilless blend.

  • Plant Selection – Opt for a small houseplant like succulents, spider plants or pothos that will thrive in the shallow shoe depth. Make sure your plant gets adequate sunlight.

  • Planting Steps – Partially fill the shoe with soil, gently remove the plant from its nursery pot, place it in the shoe and fill soil around it to cover the roots. Pack down lightly.

  • Watering – Water thoroughly after planting, then whenever the soil dries out. The plastic liner helps you gauge moisture levels. Don’t overwater or soil will get soggy.

  • Drainage – Check drainage holes periodically and remove any debris so excess water can flow out. Keep the shoe elevated so the drainage holes stay clear.

Customizing Your Shoe Planter

Now for the fun part – making your shoe planter unique with paint, decoration and embellishments!

  • Paint – Spray paint the shoe any color you’d like. Use acrylic craft paint to add patterns, designs or faux stain effects.

  • Decorate – Affix ribbons, buttons, lace, rhinestones or other trims with hot glue. Add dimensional details with clay or craft foam.

  • Markings – Use permanent markers to draw or write on your shoe. Stencils and transfers work great too.

  • Attachments – Glue on small figurines, mini flowers, moss or other 3D elements. Wire lets you shape and bend attachments.

  • Seal – Once decorated, seal with an acrylic finisher spray to protect your design.

Go bold and sparkly or keep it simple – either way, putting your personal stamp on the shoe makes it extra special. The options are endless!

Helpful Tips for Success

Follow these pointers to help your shoe planter thrive:

  • Use good drainage materials like pebbles and plastic liners.
  • Select a moisture loving plant suited to the shoe environment.
  • Water carefully – not too much but don’t let it dry out completely.
  • Provide adequate sunlight for your chosen plant variety.
  • Check for mold or odors and remediate quickly.
  • Repaint or touch up decorations as needed over time.
  • Consider removing the plant and refurbishing the shoe interior each year.

Inspiring Shoe Planter Ideas

For a burst of inspiration, check out these clever ways to turn shoes into planters:

  • Bright colors and patterns – Vibrant paint or fabric dresses up plain shoes.

  • Text personalization – Share quotes or fun sayings via handwriting, stamps or vinyl lettering.

  • Mini garden theme – Use small plants, moss and mini accessories to create a lush landscape.

  • Holiday decor – Red and green shoes work for Christmas, orange and black for Halloween.

  • Company logo shoe – Turn a classic Converse or Vans shoe into a branded planter.

  • Worn and rustic – Play up distressed leather or fabric for a vintage vibe.


With this comprehensive guide, you have all the information needed to successfully craft your own custom shoe planter. It’s an easy, enjoyable DIY project for all skill levels. Get creative reinventing and decorating your shoe while giving it renewed purpose. Then have fun watching your tiny garden grow in this unique vessel. Your handmade shoe planter is sure to be a conversation piece and cherished decoration for years to come!