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Save your milk cartons for this clever craft for kids

Don’t toss those milk cartons in the recycling bin — repurpose them instead with a coat of chalkboard paint and fresh herbs.

We all know that one of the best ways to get our kids to try new things is to involve them in the dinner prep. We’re taking that one step further and asking them to get their hands dirty with planting the herbs they’ll be using in those family dinner recipes. If they had a hand in growing the herbs, they’re more likely to want to go out on a limb and try them in a new recipe.

Great herbs for kids to start with are basil, oregano, parsley, mint and cilantro. We planted mint because the kids love mint chocolate chip ice cream and this mom loves mojitos.


Chalkboard herb container | - supplies

  • Milk cartons (one for each herb you’d like to plant)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors or sharp utility knife
  • Gesso or white primer paint
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Chalk or chalk pen
  • Herbs
  • Potting soil
  • Small pebbles
  • An eager assistant


1. Cut and clean cartons

Chalkboard herb container | - step 01

Have your child thoroughly clean the milk cartons with dish soap and water. Allow them to dry completely. Have your child measure the milk carton to the desired height and then hand the cartons off to you to cut them for him.

2. Paint the cartons

Chalkboard herb container | - step 02

Have your child apply a coat of gesso or primer to the inside and outside of the carton. Set aside and allow to dry thoroughly. Have your assistant repeat the process with a second coat of gesso. Once the gesso is dry, apply a coat of chalkboard paint to the outside of the carton. Repeat the process with another coat of chalkboard paint.

3. Add pebbles

Chalkboard herb container | - step 03

Add a layer of small pebbles to the bottom of each carton to assist with draining.

4. Add potting soil

Chalkboard herb container | - step 04

Add potting soil to each carton.

5. Plant herbs

Chalkboard herb container | - step 05

Remove the potted herbs from their containers and add them to the cartons. Have your child press down on the soil around the herbs to keep them in place. Water your herbs, but don’t overwater since these containers have no drainage holes.

6. Label the herbs

Chalkboard herb container | - step 06

Write the name of each herb on the side of the container. Optional: Have your child add his or her name for the final touch.

More gardening with kids

Gardening with your kids: Planting the seed
Garden planning with your kids
Gardening with young kids

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