Pumpkin Bucket Planter – Make it Yourself! DIY Outdoor Décor for Thanksgiving

What’s inside: Need some new DIY outdoor décor for the Thanksgiving season?  I’ve got it right here – a Pumpkin Bucket Planter.  This is so easy to make (I don’t even feel right calling this a tutorial) and looks great outside.  Read on to see how to make your own.

An Unexpected Road Trip

I always like to start a post off with a story.  And usually the story relates to the post.  Well, when sitting down to write this post today, I was stumped.  What story would mesh with my Pumpkin Bucket Planter?  So I thought about the time my parents, my sister, and I went on an impromptu road trip and ended up at a corn maze. I clearly remember how much fun we had and could even see the pictures we took in my mind, but I could not remember the details.  So, of course, I called my mom. And then I searched in the coat closet through all of the photo albums and scrapbooks for the scrapbook page I made to commemorate that day. Now, I made this scrapbook page 20 years (gah!) ago when the “Scrapbook” aisle at AC Moore consisted of only some funky-edge scissors and a few rows of patterned paper.

Picture this – Pennsylvania, November 1997.  I was 20 and home for the weekend from college.  My sister Michelle was also home for the weekend from her job in New York City.

Insert Scooby Doo squiggly lines here. I couldn’t find the Scooby Doo flashback squiggly lines, but this will do:

It All Started with Lunch

It was a lovely day and my mom wanted to eat at a Cracker Barrel restaurant.  We did not have one close at the time, so we had to drive to a different county to get to one.  We ate and after our very nice lunch, my mom decided that we needed to buy some pumpkins.  We must have been planning some outdoor Thanksgiving décor.  That is the point where everything fell apart.

A Trip to Buy Pumpkins Turns into an Excursion to…

My dad, in his infinite wisdom (which is usually spot-on), “knew” where we could buy some pumpkin, so we headed out and proceeded to get lost – I mean really lost.  Now, when my sister and I were together (after I grew up), we had a blast together and one of our favorite things to do was make fun of our parents.  And this road trip was no exception.  My parents were in the front of the car and we were in the back.  I don’t remember exactly what we said, but I do remember laughing – a lot.  I’m sure we gave my dad a hard time for getting us lost and probably gave my mom a hard time for getting us into the situation in the first place.  Of course, it was all in good fun.

As we continued to look for the fantasy pumpkin patch, we found a corn maze and decided to stop.  Now, remember, this was 20 years ago and at that time, we had never even heard of a corn maze.  So, we thought, “what the heck? Let’s give it a try.”  This was the epitome of all corn mazes.  When we entered, the staff gave us poles with flags on the end for us to use to signal the employees if we were too lost.  And along our way through the maze we saw numerous “lifeguard towers” overlooking the maze to make sure all were safe.  Certainly, I do not remember how long we were in that maze but at the time it felt like a lifetime.  We were lost for the second time that day.  Obviously, we found our way out of the maze and eventually returned home safely.  But, needless to say, we never bought those pumpkins!

Now, On With The Show

Pumpkin Bucket Planter - How To

I saw a couple of different types of these planters over the internet in the last few weeks.  I had made a single Pumpkin Bucket Planter a few years ago, so I decided to just add-on to it.  I pulled it down from the attic, luckily found the same spray paint I had used, and picked up 2 additional pumpkin buckets.  This is a super simple project – the hardest part is waiting for the paint to dry.


3 Pumpkin buckets

Spray paint – primer, color, and sealer

Thanksgiving–themed flowers, leaves, picks, etc.

Sand or rocks to fill the bottom bucket

Pumpkin bucket planter - materials

Prepare Pumpkin Buckets and Then Paint

Since I already had one pumpkin bucket painted, I only had to prep and paint 2.  I started by removing the handle, then sanding the outside just enough for the paint to adhere.

Pumpkin bucket planter - sanding

Now, I planned to prime, then paint, then seal my pumpkin buckets. But, all 3 cans of primer I had did not work.  I really did not feel like running out to get a new can of primer, so I scratched that step (I will probably regret that decision next year).  Remember – do as I say, not as I do!

As a result, I just sprayed 2 coats of my color and then coated with a sealer.  Since I was not able to prime my buckets, my paint peeled a little when putting everything together.  The peeling was not drastic but I still recommend you prime your buckets first – they will probably last longer that way.

Pumpkin bucket planter - spray painting

Once my pumpkin buckets were dry, I put them together.  However, before you put them together I suggest you fill the bottom bucket with sand or rocks.  This will make the planter more stable and, if you are putting it outside, less likely to blow away.  I did not do this – please learn from my mistake (the second one in this project).

I realized that I should have done this after the planter was completely finished.  It was so light and tipped over easily.  Although I really hate to admit I was wrong and also ask for help, I called Hubby and he came to the rescue.  He brought home some sand from work.  We drilled a hole in the back and filled the bottom bucket with sand using a funnel.  I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS METHOD!  This was time-consuming and a true pain-in-the-neck.

Assembling The Planter

The nice feature on these buckets is the bottom – it has a sort-of ledge that fits right into the top hole of the other bucket.  This makes them so easy to put together.

Pumpkin bucket planner

Consequently, I glued the buckets together matching the top of the bottom bucket with the bottom ledge of the top bucket. Did I say that right?

Pumpkin bucket planter - gluing together

When I had the buckets glued together, I filled in the gaps with hot glue to make sure that I had a secure bond.

Pumpkin bucket planter - filling in the gaps

Make Your Pumpkin Bucket Planter Pretty

After your pumpkin bucket planter is together, you can fill the top and decorate it any way you want.  I had a fake mum in the original bucket from a few years ago so I used that as a starting point.  To fill in the holes, I added some floral picks, dried baby’s breath, and leaves.  I also tied some raffia where the buckets are attached to cover the glue and the peeling paint.  And lastly, I took it outside to my Thanksgiving display (can you see my kids’ basketballs and super-huge Frisbee in the background? I guess I need to start putting all of those things away for the winter!)

Pumpkin Bucket Planter - Outdoor Decor

Pumpkin bucket planter filled with harvest goodies

That’s it – easy peasy!  I put this together in an afternoon (not counting the extra time I needed to add the sand) and I think it really adds some shimmer to my outdoor Thanksgiving display.

How are you planning to decorate your outdoor areas for the Thanksgiving season?  Do you have a favorite item from seasons past or are you going to DIY a new one?  Let me know in the comments below.

Make a pumpkin bucket planter to Add a Little Shimmer to your life today.

Nicole Warren-Missimer

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Nicole Warren-Missimer

Adding Shimmer to Life: A DIY lifestyle blog helping you add some shimmer to your everyday life.




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