Upcycled Candy Bucket Tutorial

Hi everyone!  I hope that your week is going beautifully and that your enjoying some of the best things about fall (I’m speaking of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, of course-wink wink).  Last month one of our team members, Kara Gause, had to leave her post as contributor.  Kara brought a unique perspective to The Southern Institute and I’ll miss her posts, as I know you will too.  Lucky for me, Kara is a dear friend who lives in Nashville too, so I get to keep on seeing her (when our schedules permits)!  Best of luck to Kara in her future writing endeavors!

I wasn’t looking to fill the void that Kara left right away, but Caroline introduced me to the gal who is responsible for today’s post, Amy Johnson, and said that she might be interested in joining the team.  I emailed with Amy and took a look at her blog, Maker Mama.  I fell in love with Amy’s blog and well, the rest is history!  Please welcome the newest member of The Southern Institute writing team and take a look at her bio page!



Still have your old candy buckets from last year? Don’t throw them away! Paint them instead for a fun, colorful upcycled flower pot–or customize the color to match your kiddo’s costume! Need a pumpkin pail? Stop by your local thrift store before heading to the superstore (you’ll save a few pennies and be donating to charity, too!).


Here’s what you’ll need to make your upcyled candy buckets:

  • A pumpkin pail (or two, or three)
  • Rubbing alcohol and tissue/cotton ball
  • Paint (I used Martha Stewart’s Multi-Surface Satin paint in Granny Smith)
  • Paintbrush (a palette is nice, too)
  • Newspaper (things might get messy)


Wipe your pumpkin clean with the rubbing alcohol to start, you want to remove any residue to help your paint stick. Begin painting your pumpkin in long, even strokes from top to bottom. Hold the candy bucket from the inside and turn as you go. You’ve finished your first layer! Make sure you let it dry–I put mine outside and it was dry in less than 30 minutes.


If you choose to paint the bottom of the bucket (you don’t have to if you’re just using it as a flower pot), make sure to hang it to dry between coats. I painted a total of four layers on my pumpkin, you may want to add more or less depending on how well the paint is covering. Also, if you’re worried about the paint scratching off, add a sealant like Mod Podge.


I painted a trio of pumpkins and added some flowers–just drop the nursery pot in there, no need to replant them! Or leave yours empty for your trick-or-treaters. Get as creative as you want with painting yours, and I hope you enjoy this simple project! How would you reuse your candy bucket?


  1. Neven says:

    Fantastic idea Amy, you are so creative.

  2. Ellen says:

    Oh my! I hate those ugly orange pumpkin buckets. But I LOVE what you did to them. Very creative.

    • Amy says:

      It was so great running into you today Ellen! Thanks for stopping by to check out my post and glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Louise says:

    I’ve been meaning to do this for the last couple of years! I finally got a pile of them last year, so I”ll have to get them out and painted this year!

  4. This is such a cute idea! I think I would add glitter to it. Im thinking maybe in candy corn colors would be awesome!

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