Potting Shed: The Chain Gang

My galvanized watering cans were collected over the years from flea markets and antique malls, some European, but most made in USA. They’re a rag-tag bunch, complete with dents and missing roses. While I love to find them in mint condition with their roses intact, I’m fond of those that were well used, imagining all the flowers and gardens they watered. I hung part of my collection on the corner of my Potting Shed a couple of years ago, where a rain chain would hang, but to be decorative rather than functional.

I’ve had a lot of questions and emails about my watering can chain recently, and I realized I never did a post to be able refer you to.

Here’s some answers to your questions about the ‘chain gang’ ;) and how to put one together if you have a collection of watering cans, to hang along a garden fence or by a tool or garden shed.

I used a length of 10 foot chain I found at Lowe’s. The chain is light-duty and meant to hold 35 pounds, which means I’m probably close to maximum capacity with 12 watering cans hanging on it.

The chain hangs on a heavy-duty screw eye or threaded eye hook. I used a pair of pliers to open the first link in the chain to hang on the hook under the eave of the roof.

I used a set of metal shower curtain rings that I picked up at Walmart. The rings are clipped on the chain and flex to open and close to attach the handles of the watering cans.

The bottom of the chain is attached to the siding with another screw, so the watering cans are anchored and don’t bang around if there is a breeze.

I don’t usually have to worry about the cans filling up with water with it hanging under the eave. I positioned the watering cans at the bottom of the chain so they point down rather than up. After a storm or heavy rain, I’ll check the cans towards the bottom of chain and empty any water that collects.

If you live where you get a lot of rain, and worried about standing water breeding mosquitoes, you can use Mosquito Dunks.  I use them in the summer months in my bird baths. They’re available at garden centers and online and kill mosquito larvae. They’re safe for use in fish ponds, bird baths and animal drinking troughs. Each dunk or “donut” works for 30 days and can be broken into pieces to treat smaller areas, like watering cans, flower pots or anywhere where water stands.

I’ve added flags to watering cans celebrate the Red, White and Blue for Independence Day. . .

And added greenery and pinecones to the watering cans to decorate for Christmas.

You can find vintage galvanized watering cans on eBay and Etsy as well as flea markets. New galvanized watering cans can be found at hardware stores and garden centers.

You can find more Watering Can Love, here.

Update: Momma Squirrel decided to build a nest in the top watering can.This particular watering can is also popular with birds in the spring and has a high occupancy rate as it has a small opening and is protected underneath the eave of the shed.

Read about our squirrel adventures and what to do do if you find abandoned baby squirrels, HERE.

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Sharing with:  Metamorphosis Monday

  48 comments for “Potting Shed: The Chain Gang

  1. Sue Hartzell
    April 19, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Sigh, I share this addiction to watering cans. What is it about them? Yours look great displayed on the chain.

  2. zoeoct10
    April 19, 2017 at 8:16 am

    All clever.. all precious… I have the red round compass rose… have it hanging in our studio on a brick wall.
    Always love your blog and look as I get ideas.. My husband says.. stop stop.. I get too many ideas.. haha.. I am NOT stopping!!! Raining in Virginia.. It always rains in April and October.. that’s why it’s so green here! Fine with me.. I go out and plant inbetween showers!

  3. April 19, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Truth be told, I never thought about needing to position those charming watering cans to avoid having them fill up with water & then rust!! Very clever method of hanging them as well as decorating! You creative mind never fails to amaze me, Mary!

  4. Linda Schmidt
    April 19, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Love your blog, so fun always

  5. April 19, 2017 at 8:38 am

    That is so cool, Mary. Thanks for the tutorial. I have a collection of cans, maybe someday I’ll have a shed. (Dream it, and it’ll come, right?)

  6. April 19, 2017 at 8:43 am

    You always have the best ideas! Thank you for sharing your heart!

  7. April 19, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Mary, I have always loved seeing your watering cans hanging, thanks for sharing with us the how-to. Happy Wednesday!

  8. Ellen Stillabower
    April 19, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Good idea!!! Thanks for sharing!!

  9. April 19, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Love all your collections! Can’t wait to get into my garden shed …still too cold here , but I have a nice stack of seed/ plant catalogs to daydream with.

  10. Sandy Park
    April 19, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Thanks Mary, I love your watering cans. And I learned that the thingy that screws on is called a “Rose”. Thanks, I never thought it would have an actual name.

  11. Mary Boger
    April 19, 2017 at 11:11 am

    What a fun display!

  12. franki
    April 19, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Gosh that’s cute!!! franki

  13. April 19, 2017 at 11:39 am

    How fun, love all the pics from the different seasons for ideas!
    I too am inspired, love all the ideas you share with us…I may need to shop for a few more watering cans!!!
    Thank you!
    Hugs, Debbie

  14. April 19, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Such a cute idea Mary, and who knew old dented watering cans could look so fabulous!!

  15. Sue
    April 19, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Everything always looks so cozy and welcoming. Just wondering, though, do you ever have to worry about snakes getting in your shed or surprising you in any of the pots/pails/watering cans?

    • April 20, 2017 at 7:12 am

      Hi Sue, I have ever seen any snakes around my shed. Lots of bunnies, birds and some foxes though :)

  16. Paula
    April 19, 2017 at 7:16 pm


    Thanks for sharing, I always enjoy peeking around your garden shed :) so many wonderful things to look at !!!


  17. April 19, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    You make anything look pretty, Mary, and your method for your chain gang is great! How clever to steady all of them by attaching a screw to the siding to avoid them banging around.

  18. Cyndi Raines
    April 19, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    I only have 2 old galvanized and 3 newer painted ones, but I do love them. As Sandy (above) mentioned, I also didn’t know the “sprinkler: was called a rose. How fitting. Hope to make my garden hose wreath tomorrow!

  19. April 20, 2017 at 1:11 am

    Who knew old watering cans could look so good ? Must be your creativity and fine photography skills too.
    In the second photo, what is the rectangle with raised figures between the gate and the rock ? I am fascinated by it.

    • April 20, 2017 at 7:21 am

      Hi Myrna, It’s a terra cotta frieze panel from a building. I purchased it from architectural salvage place about 20 years ago. I don’t know its history or what building it’s from, I just like the decorative scrolling and fruit motif as a garden ornament. :)

  20. April 20, 2017 at 10:00 am

    I love your chain gang!!! I “hope” to have a mini greenhouse/potting shed in the house we plan to build…so having a “chain gang” is on my wish list!!!!

  21. April 20, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Fantastic idea you came up with. Love how grouping them all together gives it a great dramatic effect.

  22. April 20, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. It is so much fun and I love how it looks. I am envious of your sweet shed! Hope you have a wonderful weekend. xo Diana

  23. Dotty Harrington
    May 6, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    That is such a cute idea-I too have a love for watering cans! I hang them by their handles on the pickets of my fence. I have to make sure they don’t collect water in the winter time to keep them from freezing with water on the bottom. I’m glad I collected most of mine when they were affordable and not as popular.

  24. Kathleen
    June 8, 2018 at 1:20 am

    You have the cutest potting shed ever. Love how you have it decorated and painted. The watering cans make a lovely collection on the chain. You’ve given me an idea to reuse my old shower curtain rings!

    • June 8, 2018 at 6:56 am

      Thanks so much Kathleen! 🌺🐝🌸🌱🦋

  25. Pam
    June 12, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Oh my gosh..I love it.

  26. Laurie
    February 7, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Please tell me where to find a bee skep …have been searching for one …I love yours

    • February 8, 2019 at 5:27 am

      I’ve had them forever from my retail days. Google ‘bee skep’ and then click on the ‘shopping’ tab and see what pops up.

  27. p martino
    April 7, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Absolutely lovely. You are a true artist layering one design upon another. Brava!

  28. Conni
    April 7, 2020 at 10:50 am

    I want your shed and everything on it.Awesome

  29. Lisa
    April 12, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    Beautiful!! What an awesome idea!!!

  30. Toni Teague
    April 12, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    I love this eclectic idea. You are so lucky to have a potting shed such as yours.

  31. Elaine
    April 12, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Loved your ideas and will copy them for my shed.
    Really loved the collection of watering cans.

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