Ideas for Old Washtubs


Old, galvanized washtubs in all shapes and sizes make excellent yard-art pieces, portable, movable planters, or even an outdoor pendant light over your garden shed in the back of the yard. If you know how to operate a drill, and tighten nuts and bolts, you can complete one or more of these ideas in a little over an hour, or come up with your own when repurposing these once everyday household appliances replaced by the modern washer.

Portable Planters

  • With three casters spaced evenly apart in a triangle on the bottom of the washtub, you can create a portable planter to roll into place on your patio or backyard deck. Secure the casters with nuts and bolts, instead of screws, through drilled holes in the bottom of the tub. Add a circle of drilled holes in the center of the tub for drainage if it's to be used outside, or add layers of gravel and rock to the bottom for an inside planter. Paint in pastel or bold semi-enameled colors designed for metal surfaces, or leave the tub as is, and fill with dirt and your favorite flowers or plants for an instant mini-garden.

Tiered Planter

  • Collect at least three galvanized tubs in graduated sizes from large to small to place in your back or front yard for a one-of-a kind decorative display. Drill a few holes through the bottom of each tub for drainage, and fill the large, bottom tub with dirt. Center the medium tub in the middle of the bottom tub; fill it with dirt, and repeat for the smaller tub atop the medium-sized one. Add petunias, baby's breath or sweet alyssum in the dirt of each tub. Hang a galvanized watering can above on a shepherd's crook pole with ivy trailing out of it to complete your landscaped yard art.

Garden-House or Porch Light

  • Drill through the bottom of a smaller old washtub to secure a lighting fixture inside it. Attach a long old, but light, chain to the bottom of the tub on either side of the light fixture and secure it with bolts and nuts. Mount the light fixture inside the tub and hang it by its chain above the stoop to your garden house or on your front or back porch. You can leave the tub surface as is, or paint it with a metal paint on the exterior for a fresh look.

Washing Machine Tub

  • You can use an old enameled washing machine tub to create a hideaway for that troublesome and tangled garden hose next to your house. Drill a hole on the side of the tub near its bottom with a bit large enough to accommodate your garden hose. Add a rubber sleeve over the cut edges of the hole to keep them from cutting the hose. Thread the hose all the way through the hole, and coil it inside, around the center post of the tub so that the hose end rests on top.

Drinks on Ice

  • For a casual party, indoors or out, set old galvanized tubs filled with ice around the yard or house. Insert your favorite craft brews or soft drinks inside the ice for an instant bar caddy. You can set the tubs right on the ground or floor, or atop tables or stools designed to fit their size and weight. You can also keep wine bottles or other drinks on ice for backyard events. Just drain and refill with ice and drinks as needed.

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