Friday, January 24, 2014

DIY Planter Box

I needed to build some planters because I had two problems. The first was these rooted cuttings:

The  second was this stack of leftover V-board from our ceiling project:

The plants are Brugmansia cuttings and I needed planters for them. Apparently they need a lot of growing room and a set of purchased planters would cost over $400. Eeek!

So I used the wood I had on hand and built my own using these plans from Popular Mechanics. I won't go into a step by step how-to as they have already done that. I'll just note the changes I made on each step to make the planters fit my needs.

Intro/Materials: On the materials list, I used pine tongue and groove(T&G) instead of cedar. I did it because I need to use up the pine, even though I know it won't last as long as cedar. Also, none of the big box or lumber yards near me stock T&G cedar.

I used pressure treated (PT) pine for the cleats and slats. Big Box does carry one inch cedar, but it's a fence grade and wouldn't begin to hold up the weight of soil in the planter. I used 1-1/4 inch PT decking planks for the slats.

Step 1: Cut planks into 24 inch pieces

And cut 1/2 off each end piece

Step 1: My planks are 5 inch, and I wanted each panel to be 24 inches wide, so out of the 20 plank pieces needed for each planter, I needed to cut 1/2 inch off 8 pieces.  That was actually 1/2 inch off the grooved side of 4 pieces and 3/4 inch off the tongue side of 4 pieces (because the tongue was an extra 1/4 inch).  The Popular Mechanics how-to doesn't say anything about cutting the sides of any of the planks, but I'm sure they did to get the flat cuts on each side.

Step 2: Attach Planks to trim rails.

Step 2: I didn't use glue. I figure the weight of the soil in the planter will hold the planks snug against the trim, and the trim is screwed together well.  I also made my trim rails longer than they did, so that they extended 3/4" on each side of the panel.  I wanted the trim to butt up to each other.  I also made my bottom rail extend past the panel so it would cover my casters, but found out later that didn't work out well.

I found it easiest to put the panels in place over the trim pieces, use a piece of scrap trim to space the 3/4" and shoot one nail in each corner.  Then use a board to tap down all the planks and shoot the rest of them.

Step 3: Attach the cleats

Step 3: I did not offset the cleat, but put it flush with the bottom of my panel. They used the cleat to both hold up the slats and to be the feet of the planter. I wanted my planter to be mobile and needed the cleat to be flush with the panel to have the right size surface to attach the casters.

Step 4: Build the box

Step 4:  I used 2 inch screws, not that it makes any difference. I think they used the longer screws to avoid buying more screws. Since I had all sizes, I used a smaller one for this step.  I also found it easier to put one screw in each end of the rail trim and then square up the top before putting in the other screws.  Then flip it over and do the same with the bottom.   I also counter sunk my screws because I didn't want them showing.  Then I covered the hole with a button plug.

I didn't add the slats at this step either because I still have to turn the planter over to add the casters.

Step 5: Attach the rim.

Step 5:  I wanted a mitered corner, so I cut each piece at 25 inches and cut a 45 degree angle in it.  Then just attached with finish nails.


I didn't want the lattice, so this would be the end of their instructions.  However, I'm adding a couple of my own steps here.

Step 6: Attach casters

Step 6:  I used these 2 inch locking casters in the front and non-locking casters in the back, and as you can see I had to put a block under them.  I found that the extended bottom rail trim interfered with the swivel so had to use the block.  That's why I should have done it like they did.  The caster is set back enough that the ugly part isn't really visible.

These are the casters I used but I'm not really happy with them.  They're hard to lock.
Step 7:  Bottom slats

Drill bits used to make drainage holes

Step 7:   Here's where I added the bottom slats, and I didn't nail them into the cleats, just placed them on top.  Then I drilled four drainage holes.  I made the first hole with bit #1 and it didn't work well at all as you can see.  The PT wood was still wet and that might have been it.  I switched to bit #2 and it worked much better.


All three built!

Step 8: Staining

Step 8:  I stained them with an exterior fence and deck stain.  I may put a second coat on them if they lighten more as they dry.  I just stained them this morning.

Step 9:  My next step will be lining the planter with black plastic to keep the wet soil from the pine.  Maybe it will last a little longer that way.  Then I'll poke holes in the plastic where I drilled holes.


My total cost was $88.84 and most of that was the casters.  If I had to buy all the wood I used it would have been about $200.  If I had bought T&G Cedar it would have been about $250.   So I'm happy.

Next week I'll show you what I did with the scraps from this project.


I'm linking to these parties:
Frugal Friday at the Shabby Nest #215
Catch as Catch Can at My Repurposed Life #78
Thrifty Things Friday at The Thrifty Groove #77
Fabulously Creative Friday at Jennifer Rizzo #117
Made U Look at Made in a Day #166
That DIY Party Time at DIY Showoff #238
Be Inspired at Elizabeth and Co. #113


Lena said...

These are great!!

Mindi Carwin said...

They are so beautiful! Great Job Marti, and using what you have, I love it!

Heidi Kay @ Muslin and Merlot said...

Wow, those look great! Nice handiwork. The brugmansia cuttings will love their new homes!

Nancy said...

Excellent job on the planter boxes!

Grandma K said...

You, my friend, are indeed clever!

Marti said...

Thanks! I hope they work out as well as I need them to.

Marti said...

Thank you. I just couldn't throw all that wood in the burn pile, and since it was mainly culls, couldn't sell it on craig's list either.

Marti said...

Thank you. I hope I don't kill the cuttings when I plant them!

Marti said...

Thank you. They went together easily. Popular Mechanics has good instructions, even though I made some changes.

Marti said...

Thank you, but I can't take the credit, unless it's for finding a good plan online and being able to follow directions. lol

Julie @ followyourheartwoodworking said...

The planters look great, Marti, you'll have to post photos of them filled with flowers.

Marti said...

I will! I went to Big Box yesterday and bought five 1.25 cu. ft. of potting soil but they only filled 3/4 of two planters.

Kate said...

Those are huge! Will those plants really grow that big? Where are will these sit?

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Marti I am so impressed. What great planters and you can't beat the cost! Love how you used leftover wood. Thanks for sharing at TTF!

libbyquilter said...

Marti, you are amazing~!
love that you have put them on casters too.


Amanda Holmes said...

I love these! Absolutely perfect for Spring.

Marti said...

I think the plants will get really big, if I give them what they need. The ones in pictures I've seen are over six feet tall and almost as wide. I'm going to put them in the courtyard during the warmer months and push them in and out of the garage on winter days that get over 50. I can already see that I need to add handles to the sides. These things are heavy with soil in them.

Marti said...

Thank you. I just couldn't bear to toss that wood, even though it was mostly culls, and I did need wood for the planters.

Marti said...

Amazing? No, just trying to make do. They had to be on casters. These plants aren't hardy in my zone so I'll have to roll them in and out of the garage on winter days that are over 50, and then roll them out to the courtyard for summer.

Marti said...

Thank you. I hope they last until spring. lol

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Wow, your planters are gorgeous! I can just picture them overflowing with garden goodness this summer.And how smart to put them on wheels! I have never heard of that plant. I'll have to look it up. ... Thanks so much for sharing!

Marti said...

Thank you! I had never heard of this plant either, but the pictures of it are gorgeous so I'm kind of excited that I might have something beautiful to look at this summer. But they are tropical where I live so I will have to spend winters rolling them in and out of the garage on nice days.

Abby said...

These look great! I need to make some for my front porch. I especially like the casters on the bottom, very practical. Thanks so much for stopping by chapter37 and for your kind comment!

Marti said...

I'm sure there is an easier and cheaper way to make them, like using cedar siding for the panels, and leaving off the casters. But if you have a plant that needs to be inside when it's cold, they're perfect.

Dawn Castrova said...

Hello, I blog hopping from the GYB party and I just love DYI projects and i am sure glad i popped over to check it out. There ain't nothing funner that making it yourself. Thanks so much for stopping over. Love that we are new friends. you visited me from and thanks for visiting me. and glad i have a wonderful new friend. Watching you/me in cyber world.

Marti said...

Thanks for visiting me too. Next year I hope to hear about the blog hop earlier so I can sign up.

LivingVintage said...

Awesome! Great idea and I have some lumber scraps in mind for this project. Definitely pinning!

Marti said...

Thanks! I'm pretty pleased with them. I'm wishing now that I had put bigger casters on them, and I did add handles so I can lift them over the lip of the garage every night.