23 Amazing Ways To Repurpose Pots And Pans To Use In Your House And Garden

Old and unused pots and pans often pile up in cupboards and storage, where many people keep them "just in case." While the occasional household donation or toss-out purge may tempt you to say goodbye and good riddance, you might want to hold onto your old cookware. The internet is filled with many ingenious and practical uses for unused or broken pots, pans, and cookware elements, including some great DIYs that solve many storage and decor problems. 

Need a birdbath? A new planter? A holiday wreath? We have you covered. Stainless steel and copper cookware are usually durable enough to last decades however you use them, with vintage pots and pans from the mid-century often possessing beautiful detailing and carving that cannot be found today. By repurposing them for clever new uses, you can hold onto these great containers and save them from cluttering up landfills. The ideas below are also great for using pans you've picked up at thrift stores, flea markets, or garage sales that you want to find a good use for. 

1. Wall art or decor

One of the most creative ways to use old pots and pans is to turn them into art. Use the pan's surface as a canvas for acrylic or enamel paints. Great options include landscapes, botanical images, and still-lifes. Use some Mod Podge to decoupage paper on your pan or add mixed media elements, like lace, die cuts, floral butterflies, buttons, small trinkets, and more. Use the pan's handle to hang on the wall or a simple easel to display your work of art on a tabletop or counter. 

2. Hanging planters

Give second-hand pots and pans a second life as hanging planters, indoors or outdoors. Just install some chains or ropes around the side handles to suspend them. Add some rocks or sand and get succulents or hanging plants to fill the top. You could also use soil to plant other flowers in deeper pots like roasting pans or soup kettles. Leave them as-is for a rustic or industrial look, or paint them your desired shade with spray paint. Pots and pans make great outdoor planters, especially when you drill holes in the bottom to allow water to drain. 

3. Wall clock

Make your old frying pan, cake pan, or pie tin into an adorable wall clock. Drill a hole in the center of the pan, then add a clock kit to the hollow of the pan on the back. Decorate the pan to fit your decor, or leave it in the original finish for an industrial-style accent. For a large clock, use a circular pizza pan as a base for your clock. Create the clock with the bottom of the pan up front or turn it around to create a recess for 3D elements like bird nests or flowers.

4. Fairy or moss garden

Use a shallow pan to grow a selection of moss and other natural plant life indoors or out. The container will keep the plants safe from other, more invasive plants when placed in the ground in your garden. Or add some small figurines, faux butterflies, pretty stones, or other accents to create a charming, whimsical, and magical fairy garden amidst your plantings. As the moss grows, you can also swap out the current container for larger cookware like roasting pans and woks that allow you to add more plantings to spread out.

5. Pedestal stand

Make a simple tray using an overturned pie plate or cake pan atop a pillar candle pedestal. Just add some glue to keep them together. This makes an excellent tray for collecting items in a kitchen or bathroom or a sweet spot to store or display baked goods, particularly if you add a glass bell jar lid or glass fishbowl over the top. Use the pedestal plate as a raised centerpiece with a thick pillar candle on top and some surrounding flowers or greenery, or create a cute cloche with dried flowers or small decorative objects. 

6. Bundt pan wreath

With their round sculptural shape and signature hole in the middle, old bundt cake pans make adorable alternative wreaths. Just add a thick ribbon tied through the center for an easy way to hang. Leave it silver and add flowers or other accents like lace, burlap, or gems, or paint the entirety with enamel spray paint a shade to match your decor. For a cute rustic holiday arrangement, use a mix of larger and smaller bundt cake pans on a wall or window suspended with ribbons.

7. Bird bath

Because of their shape and durability in the outdoors, old pots and pans make excellent bird baths when placed in a garden or yard. For a simple bird bath, suspend a shallow pan or pie tin from chains by drilling some holes in the perimeter. You can also add a small disc fountain that will keep the water aerated and moving, which will help attract more birds to your garden and keep mosquitoes from breeding there. Adding pebbles or rocks will help keep the water level high and create resting spots for visiting birds. 

8. Ice bucket

Since most pans are made from stainless steel, you can easily use an old stock pot or kettle to create an ice bucket for your home bar or outdoor gathering. For a simple outdoor bar setup, cut a circular hole in the top of an old potting bench and suspend the pot inside. Add ice and a few bottles to keep them cool. You can also create a cute modified table with a hinged door that encloses the ice bucket inside. The larger and deeper the pot, the more drinks and ice it will accommodate.

9. Holiday snowman

An old pot lid with a central handle is key in making an adorable snowman decoration. Paint the lid all white and add a cute face in paint or 2D materials like felt or vinyl cuts. For a finishing touch, paint the handle bright orange for the carrot nose. Drill a hole at the top and add some festive ribbon for hanging. Hang three together with ribbon or wire in various sizes to create an entire snowman body. For lids with a knob instead of a handle, create a reindeer with some paper antlers and a red nose.

10. Rasied tray

Create a beautiful decorative storage tray with a cake pan to help corral items on a counter or another surface in your home. Add some large wood beads as legs to each bottom corner of the pan to raise it. Shallower pans make great desktop caddies or jewelry holders, while deeper pans are great for holding bottles and jars in the kitchen or beauty products in a bathroom. For an even more polished look, paint the pan and the feet the same color or add other accents like ribbon or hand-painted details. 

11. Tiered organizer

If you're looking for a cute way to organize a room using vertical space, a series of shallow pans (pie tins and cake layer pans are perfect) can create a vertical organizer. For a simple DIY, use taper candle sticks or pillar candle pedestals between each level, adhered with glue to the bottom of the pan. Or drill a hole in each pan to accommodate an old rolling pin with one end cut off. Use it to hold spices or small containers or place flowers or greenery inside for decor that's perfect as a stunning centerpiece. 

12. Wall shelves

Screw a pot or pan directly into the wall for a cute round shelf or rectangular shadow box. Fill the pan with grass, moss, greenery, and cute accents like birds, florals, or figurines. Or add another piece of wood or metal to the bottom front of the container to hold items inside securely. You can create a whole wall of variously sized shelves to hold small plants like succulents. Leave them as they are for an industrial look or paint them with spray paint. You can also add some decorative paper to the back of the shelf. 

13. Shallow everything dish

If you're stuck with a novelty cake pan or metal jello mold with a cute shape but aren't much of a baker, repurpose the distinctively shaped container as the perfect catch-all bowl on an entryway table, nightstand, or dresser for items like keys, hair accessories, and jewelry. While many molds are beautiful in silver or copper patina, you can also paint them with enamel paint to match your decor more precisely. Tiny individual bundt cake molds also make great tiny dishes for holding your rings near the sink or bed. 

14. Raised sink

A large pot you love can be easily repurposed into a shallow sink perfect for small bathrooms that don't have space for a conventional, deeper-mounted sink under the counter. Just create a hole in the bottom to accommodate a drain and plumbing. For a durable paint finish, use a waterproof enamel and sealant to protect the surface. For a deeper sink, use an oval or rectangular roasting pan. This solution works great in tiny homes, RVs, or other spaces with very narrow vanities, where a repurposed pan is much less expensive than dedicated bowl sinks.

15. Garden mushrooms

Pans and other circular metal dishware can be turned into adorable mushrooms for your garden or yard. Place the pan over a cylindrical object like a vase or milk bottle with a few dabs of hot glue to keep them together. You may want to add some sand or pebbles to the bottom container to keep it from tipping. Paint the bottom piece white, then use your favorite color on the top, adding a few spots with more white paint. Seal them with a clear sealant to keep them looking good as a whimsical addition to your yard.

16. Junk sculpture

Use discarded pots, pans, and other metal objects to create fun sculptures in your yard. This is a great chance to express your creativity and use up objects that may otherwise wind up in a landfill by turning them into garden sculptures. While you will get a much more secure hold by welding objects together, you can also use other hardware or a sturdy adhesive like E-6000 to meld objects together into their finished form. EIther leave the objects used in their original conditions or use waterproof paint on all or some of the sculpture. 

17. Votive holder

Individual or single-serving bundt cake pans make great votive holders; just place a real or LED votive in the hole in the center for a cute addition to any centerpiece. Shiny metal or copper pans will cast a sparkling glow over other items in the centerpiece. Use them upside down to show off the intricate grooves of the pans, or turn them right side up and add greenery, pebbles, or glass marbles around the candles for texture and color. You can use a larger bundt cake pan to hold a larger pillar candle in the same way. 

18. Seed starter

If you have an old cupcake or muffin pan you are not using, repurpose it in your garden. The compartments are a great holder for small seedlings at the beginning of the planting season. Just place some baking liners inside the tray cavities and fill them with soil and seeds. The liners will make removal and plating easy later on. Or, press a muffin tin into slightly dampened soil as a mold to create perfect cutouts to directly sow seeds in a garden. The result will be perfectly uniform and neat rows of flowers or vegetables. 

19. Sink caddy

Use a rectangular loaf pan as the perfect sink side caddy for holding dish soap, sponges, brushes, and other washing essentials. The deep container will help keep them out of the sink and within easy reach. It's also narrow enough to sit securely between the lip of the sink and the backsplash in most kitchens. If you don't want water to collect inside, drill some holes in the bottom for it to run back into the sink. Or place the loaf pan in a dish drainer or attach it with magnets to the side of the sink cavity. 

20. Fire pit

A large restaurant-style wok pan can easily be repurposed into an outdoor fire pit with very few modifications to the wok itself. Just place the large pan on any fire-safe surface or support (like the iron legs), add some logs and kindling, and enjoy a compact backyard fire pit setup. With a wire grill across the top or tripod, you can also turn it into a DIY grill for cooking. Because it comes apart and stores in pieces, it makes an excellent portable alternative to heavier and larger grills or fire pits for outings like picnics and camping. 

21. Light fixture

Colanders and other perforated pots and pans can be ingeniously repurposed into cool industrial light fixtures by simply adding a corded lamp kit, which can often be found for sale online or available at crafts stores. Drill a hole large enough in the bottom's center to accommodate the bulb setup and follow the kit's instructions for adding a bulb. You can also make a non-wired version by gluing LED puck lights or battery-operated twinkle lights inside the colander, a tactic perfect for outdoor spaces without an accessible outlet.

22. Chalk message board

If you have a pan with a shape or details you love but don't want or need to use it for cooking, consider turning it into a mini-message board. Paint the pan with chalkboard paint and glue a cut-down Scrabble holder to the interior to hold some chalk for writing reminders and messages. You can also use a larger, deeper pan and store chalk along the bottom rim. Large pizza pans make a large surface with a lot of room to write and draw. You can also stick up paper notes with cute magnets.

23. Bird feeder

Shallow frying pans, cake rounds, and pie tins make great bird feeders. For a rustic wall-mounted version, screw the base and side of a pan to a simple metal L-bracket and hang it along a fence or exterior wall. You can also create a multi-level hanging bird feeder by stringing several shallow tins together with a chain or rope. Hang it from the porch overhang or a tree. If you paint the pan itself, ensure you use a bird-safe and eco-friendly paint anywhere the surface will touch the bird seed.