Upcycling a rusty old bicycle into a planter for your cottage garden

If you've got a rusty old bicycle that has seen better days, don't chuck it out just yet - you can renovate it to give it a new lease of life, or upcycle it to use as a pretty planter in your cottage garden. Here's how to revamp your old bike...

Some items have been gifted

If you’ve got an old bicycle that has seen better days, don’t chuck it out just yet – you can upcycle it into the bike of your dreams. Or, if the mechanism is beyond repair, you could use it as a pretty planter in your cottage garden. It makes a lovely feature and you can change the flower display with the seasons. Here’s how to revamp your old bike…

This rusty old bike is a hand-me-down that I took ownership of in 2012. It was already decades old by that point and, although I got some use out of it, it wasn’t the most comfortable ride ever. In fact, I remember complaining of soreness on my blog all those years ago!


If you’re planning to ride the bicycle in the future, you’ll have to ensure that the gears, brakes, tyres and chain etc are all working correctly so taking it to a repair shop is essential. That way, you’ll be reassured that it’s road-worthy and that you’ll be able to use it. If you discover that it’s beyond repair don’t worry, let’s upcycle it into a garden feature instead!


Anything that you don’t want to paint should be either removed (if possible) or masked off. Be extra careful to cover all the mechanisms so that you don’t get any paint into the ‘inner workings’ of the bicycle. You might be able to remove the wheels, seat and handlebars altogether, leaving just the frame.


Start by giving the frame a good scrub to make sure there’s no loose dirt or dust on the surface. Ensure it is completely dry before you move onto the priming step. Give the entire frame a light dusting with primer spray paint. This gives the top coat something to adhere to and creates a smooth surface.


Choose any colour you like for the frame of your bike. I went for a cherry red spray paint in a gloss finish (that was gifted to me by Rust-Oleum about 5 years ago!) Build up fine layers of the paint until you have complete coverage. It’s better to spray paint in multiple fine layers (allowing the paint to dry between coats) rather than spraying a thick coat that may drip.


Did you know it is possible to refresh the old vinyl seat with spray paint? You just need to get the correct formula so that it doesn’t crack when applied to the vinyl. I used Rust-Oluem’s Direct To Vinyl spray paint in black to refresh the bicycle seat.


Once the paint is completely dry you can reassemble the bike. Before you use it on the road you should get it checked by a professional to ensure that all the mechanisms are correctly fitted and in good working order. Don’t head out onto the open road without a clean bill of health from a bike repair shop!


You can add baskets to the front and back of your bike to make it super-handy for carrying items. I got an old black basket from the car boot sale but I wanted it to match the white one at the front, so I used a primer and white spray paint to give the basket a quick makeover.


If you’re only using the bike as a feature in your garden, now’s the time to plant up the baskets with beautiful blooms. You can add a liner (the kind you get for hanging baskets) before filling with compost and flowers. Just remember that the frame may eventually go rusty again in the future after years of watering the plants in the baskets!

What do you think of the finished project? Would you revamp an old, rusty bicycle and turn it into a pretty planter? Let me know in the comments below.

Some items in this blog post have been gifted to me and the pink links indicate a gifted product, affiliate link or information source. All thoughts and opinions in this post are based on my own experience and I am not responsible for your experience 🙂

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Cassie Fairy
Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

One Response

  1. Wow . this is really awesome . love to see it thank you for sharing this post.

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