What To Do With Old Pans – Great Repurposing Ideas

So, you just splurged and bought yourself a set of brand new pots and pans. You’ve decided that Ikea set your parents bought you during your sophomore year in college has finally reached the end of its usable life. No matter what tricks you try to revive them, you know they’re through. Now you’re probably thinking: what can I possibly do with these 10-year-old pots and pans? Do I recycle them? Throw them in the trash? Depending on how conscious you are about where your waste ends up, this question may be a difficult one to answer, as well as potentially time-consuming to properly fulfill.

Well, the good news is you don’t need to just throw them away. There’s a few different ways to upcycle your old pots and pans in the comfort of your own home and/or garden! This is a great way to save money buying purpose-built items for your home whilst also adding some unique decorative touches wherever you decide to place the repurposed old cookware. The possibilities are almost endless – the only limit is how creative you want to be! 

Here are some of the best ideas of what to do with old pots and pans.

Give An Old Pan Some Extra Time By Turning It Into A Clock

Since most pots and pans are designed in a circular shape, it makes this idea pretty simple! And even if yours isn’t in a circular shape, you can still use it – who says squares aren’t cool? What makes this idea so fun is that you can design it however you want. You can keep it simple and rustic using just the old pan, or make it fun and funky by painting and decorating it to match your style.

Karen Kavett shares how you can make the transformation from pan to clock in a step-by-step video which you can see below. The only items you need are a clock mechanism and an old pan. How else you design it is up to you! 

Turn Your Old Baking Pans Into Picture Frames

Hold on to your memories in what used to hold your food by turning an old pan into a picture frame. You can make this as funky as you like by using something in a circular shape like a tart pan or you can keep it classic by using a baking pan or square frying pan, depending on what you have, of course. Arizona Craft Mom shares her easy step-by-step method for transforming a kitchen staple into a piece of art. All you need is:

  • Old baking pan
  • Spray paint 
  • Foam board or heavy cardboard
  • Artwork or photo
  • 3M Super 77 Adhesive Spray
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Wall hook + nail

Transform Old Pots and Pans Into Flower Pots

This is perhaps the easiest thing to do with old cookware whilst adding some novelty to your home or garden. All you will need is potting soil and the plant that you would like to pot. Whilst choosing the plant you should take a few things into consideration like whether it will be outdoors or indoors, how much light it needs, and if the pot or pan that you are choosing is big or deep enough to supply ample enough space for the roots to grow. 

If you’re keen on taking your handyman skills to the next level, or you already fancy yourself as a pretty handy person, you can try a different variation like hanging bundt cake pan planters. Sugar & Cloth go into much more detail about the supplies you need and give easy instructions to follow. 

Make a Succulent Planter from an Old Pot

Making a succulent planter is quite similar to the idea above, but the plants themselves are a bit more manageable. Planting succulents over more traditional plants allows you to use pans that are considerably shallower like a frying pan, or old skillet. However, just because they are more forgiving doesn’t mean they require no work at all. Succulents and Sunshine provide all sorts of helpful information to help you along your way when choosing and potting your succulents. 

Create a Decoration piece

If you want to try out your craft skills you can also use old pots and pans as blank canvases to fit the style that you’re going for. You can paint them, create tile mosaics, adorn them with bows, create thrifty seasonal decorations like this one for Halloween, paint them with chalkboard paint and use them as chalkboards as Cyndi Luyten at Greenblogging shows here, or, all of the above! Use your creativity to make something that is distinctly ‘you’. 

Turn Your Old Pots and Pans Into a Birdbath

Bring a bit of the kitchen to the birds, by turning an old pot or pan into a birdbath. This one can be as simple or as complex as you would like to make it. A user at Thrifty Fun shows us how little you need by placing an old pan full of water with a couple of floating decorations on an upward turned stone can be an extremely easy and cute addition to any garden. 

Or, if you want more of a challenge or perhaps you are looking for a different style you can attach one of your old pots and pans to the base of a lamp like Jessica at Chapman Place Blog to create something truly unique. 

Make Your Old Pots and Pans Into Musical Wind Chimes

There’s just something about having a wind chime in the garden that makes everything feel better. Whether it’s the soft afternoon breeze of a midsummer day or the crisp light wind winding through the orange leaves of Fall, the twinkling of wind chimes can improve the atmosphere of any garden. The fact that you can upcycle some old items in your home to make one, is even better!

You can use a variety of items, but our favorites are either a bundt cake pan or the lid to a pan or pot as these items are much easier to drill holes through rather than a skillet or frying pan. The only other things you need would be the chimes themselves – or if you have some old silverware lying around you can attach them at the end of the wires in place of the chimes. Pam Kessler at House of Hawthornes has a great tutorial on how to make one of these yourself. She uses a colander, but the principle is the same. You just need to drill some holes in your old pot or pan. 

Repurpose Old Pot Lids As Hangers

So, if you have made it this far, hopefully, you have used all of your old cookware in some unique and creative ways to add some funky flair to your home or garden. You might now be left with a few lids lying around with no pots or pans to match. But don’t fret! We have an answer for that. 

An easy way to repurpose your lids while also adding some extra usable space in the kitchen is to turn them into a hanging rack. You can see what this looks like courtesy of Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage. All you need to do is mount them on a board, then mount that board on a wall. This provides an easy and unique way to hang kitchen items like your aprons or towels. 

Using Old Pans for Camping

Whilst your cookware is a bit too battered for use in the kitchen, it may still be a perfect option for camping! When you cook over a portable stove or a campfire, you usually don’t want to risk your best cookware. Using your old pots and pans when you need to cook outside is a great way to prolong the life of your cookware and save the need to buy specialist pots for camping.

This idea works especially well for lightweight pots and pans such as those made from titanium. They’re easy to transport so are ideally suited to take with you when travelling.

How to Dispose of Old Pots and Pans

Unfortunately no matter how creative you are, sometimes you just don’t have any more space in your house or your pan is damaged beyond salvaging.

If none of the repurposing ideas work for you, the best thing to do is make sure you dispose of your old cookware in a responsible way. Ideally, you should avoid just throwing your old pots and pans out with the trash.

Here is how to dispose of your unwanted cookware if you can’t repurpose it yourself.

Donate to Others

If your cookware is still in good working condition and is free from rust or caked on grease, you should consider donating it. Whilst you may no longer have much need for it, your old frying pan may be ideal for another family.

Consider donating your unwanted, but still usable, cookware to charity shops. They will sell the pots at a knock-down price and donate the funds to charity.

Alternatively you may wish to gift your unneeded pots to friends and family – though we recommend you make sure they’re in great condition before you do!

Take it to Your Local Scrap Metal Facility

If your old pans are damaged, the best thing to do is take them to your local scrap metal facility or recylcing center. Regardless of their suitability for cooking, many pans have metals in them which can be stripped out and recycled.

If you’re taking non stick cookware to a scrap metal facility, you’ll need to mention the non stick coating to them. This is because non stick surfaces need to be removed before the metal can be recycled and not all facilities are setup to do this.