The City Magazine Since 1975

Show Your Metal

Show Your Metal
April 2014
Recycle unwanted silver-plate pieces or garage-sale finds into interesting and elegant containers

Have a pile of vintage chafing dishes or other old silver-plate pieces collecting dust in the garage? Repurpose those castoffs as unique planters.

First, make sure the item is not a collectible or a prized family heirloom. Just check the manufacturer name or stamp on the bottom and look it up on servingware websites such as If it’s not a true treasure, it’ll make for an elegant stand or container for myriad plants. Next, check that your piece has proper drainage. If not, drill a few holes using a one-quarter inch or smaller drill bit specifically made for metal. Note: be sure to secure the piece so it cannot move before you drill.

Finally, select a plant or two appropriately sized for the vessel. Vintage casserole caddies are perfect for those with shallow root systems, such as wheatgrass, bulbs, and succulents, and chafing dish bases make great stands for garden globes. Group them together for a polished look on your porch or patio.