Upcycling a Decanter Tantalus as an Herb Saver

Upcycling a Decanter Tantalus as an Herb Saver

As you know, my garage is the only “thrift store” I have access to right now. So, it’s been fun for me to discover all of the treasures that I’d collected but not yet upcycled. When I came across this wooden caddy, I did a little research and discovered that it’s a decanter tantalus. That means it’s a lockable liquor holder, but I decided it would be perfect as an herb saver.

Wooden caddy for liquor decanters at a thrift shop

My friend, Maliasmark, recently introduced me to Google Lens, which is a Google app that helps identify objects in a photo. Which is GREAT for weird vintage or thrifted things that you aren’t sure of!

And through Google Lens, we discovered that my little wooden caddy was, in fact, a decanter tantalus that was missing its lock and key. And the glass decanters, of course!

Decanter tantalus from a thrift store for a repurposing project

I’ve had this in my garage for 18 months, and all that time, I thought it was supposed to hold oil and vinegar bottles. But nope, it’s meant to liquor decanters!

But regardless, I decided to give it a quick makeover and use it as an herb saver or herb caddy of sorts. I’m doing SO much cooking right now, so kitchen gadgets are definitely on my mind.

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Transforming a Decanter Tantalus

First things first, I needed to dismantle the caddy to make spray painting it a bit easier. Because it was constructed with itty bitty hardware, I used our precision screwdriver set to take off the doors.

Removing the doors from a decanter tantalus for spray painting

I liked the black metal accents on the tantalus, so I covered up what I could with painter’s tape. I also used a “craft Chapstick” on the door latches to keep the paint from adhering.

Preparing a wooden caddy for spray painting with painter's tape

My craft Chapstick is a cheap-o lip balm that was a freebie from the dentist. But I’ve dedicated it to uses in craft projects instead!

Then, I set up my spray painting station outside to paint the entire caddy white.

Spray painting a wooden caddy for liquor decanters

No more dowdy, scratched-up plain wood! You know there are times when I love a rich wood finish…but this piece needed a makeover for sure.

White spray paint on a wooden caddy for upcycling ideas

When the paint had dried, I carefully wiped the waxy Chapstick off the door latches with a clean cloth. Then, I carefully removed the painter’s tape.

Removing the painter's tape from the doors of a decanter tantalus

Finishing an Herb Saver from a Decanter Tantalus

Just like that, I had a fresh new wooden caddy! And I loved the contrast of the black metal against the white paint.

Painting a wooden caddy with white spray paint as an herb saver

I used a fine-grit sandpaper and a feather-light touch to distress the edges of the doors and the actual caddy itself.

How to distress spray paint with sandpaper

And that was that! I reattached the doors to my herb saver and admired its new appearance.

Wooden caddy for liquor decanters to become a holder for cut herbs

But it needed one last thing…

A hook! A hook on the side where I could hang kitchen shears to easily snip off some cut herbs.

So, I pre-drilled a hole and added a cup hook that could hold scissors. And yes, I spray painted the hook to match the black accents on the tantalus.

Upcycling a decanter tantalus as an herb saver for soft herbs

Upcycling a Decanter Tantalus as an Herb Saver

And if you were wondering what I meant by an “herb saver”, this is it! A place to hold jars of water that keep cut herbs fresh, like parsley, cilantro, or dill!

Herb saver for cut herbs in a wooden caddy

It’s cute, it’s handy, and it’s easy to move out of the way if I’m cleaning my counter tops.

All I know is I’m doing a TON of cooking right now, and I try and keep fresh herbs on hand as much as possible. And now I have an herb saver to keep them in!

Herb holder by repurposing a decanter tantalus or wooden caddy


AND, great news! Today is Thrift Store Decor Team day- check out what my blogging friends have been up to.

Thrift store transformations and upcycled project ideas from upcycling bloggers

1. Floor Lamp Solar LightMy Repurposed Life

2. Painted Stripe Basket MakeoverOur Southern Home

3. Herb Saver from a Decanter TantalusSadie Seasongoods

4. Cookbook OrganizerPetticoat Junktion

5. Thrift Store Decor Bird Nest DIYHouse of Hawthornes


If you enjoyed this upcycling idea for an herb saver, then you may also enjoy these plant markers I made for my garden!

Plant markers and mushroom garden ornaments from shoe stretchers

Craft on!


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Upcycling a wooden caddy as an herb holder or storage for cut herbs

Herb saver or herb holder with a wooden caddy and decanter tantalus

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Great project, and it is so charming with the big herbs spilling over the doors. My first thought when I read what this piece was called was an old Star Trek episode called Dagger of the Mind where the colony is called Tantalus, LOL!! Once a trekkie, always a trekkie.

  2. Well you learn something new every day! I’ve never heard of a decanter Tantalus… or seen one for that matter! I love what you’ve done with it!


    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Isn’t that so interesting!? Like learning you’ve been singing the lyrics wrong on a song for years. Thanks, Tania!

  3. Turned out great ??

  4. Margaret says

    Love this.. you’re so creative even when shopping from your garage!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you so much, Margaret! FINALLY all that thrift-hoarding is paying off, LOL. Hope you guys are doing well through all this!

  5. well, I had NO idea what a decanter tantalus was! LOL Thanks for letting me know. Anyhow, your project is adorable! Too darn cute.
    Awesome tip about the chapstick. I’ll have to try that one. I’m guessing you call it that because you have one designated for crafts?

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      I LOVE learning things like that, especially when I’ve been assuming something for years and was completely wrong! And YES, definitely have a Chapstick dedicated to crafts- I keep it with my Annie Sloan wax so that I never goof up!

  6. Cheryl Atkinson says

    Very cute. Thanks for the chap stick trick and the Lens App reference. Take care and stay well.

  7. Loved your project; I am still working on trying to reduce Christmas surplus and greenery by crafting for my church bazaar and stuff to sell! Maine weather has not been cooperative for painting outdoors–I have several projects in mind. Lovely to use such a horrible disease for positive results!


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