DIY Wooden Planters

This might be my favorite DIY to date! I have looked at several versions of these planters online, all really pricey, and I wanted 4 of them. Yeah. Not gonna happen.

I remembered some old plastic containers that we had been hoarding *ahem* storing for several years (they were our old tomato containers pre-garden). They were the perfect size for an insert!

I measured the containers, and my husband helped me figure how much wood we needed to make our wooden planters. We decided to make these 2” wider (inside) than the plastic ones, and I determined the height based on how I wanted them to look by our front door. More on how we got these plastic containers the right height later.

Here are the items used:

Step 1: Cut the sanded plywood down. The plywood needs to be 1” shorter than the overall height of the planter. This leaves a gap at the bottom for water to drain. For these planters, I cut (4) pieces at 22” x 29” and (4) pieces at 18” x 19”. Everything was cut down using a table saw, except for the 29” length. I had to saw this using a circular saw because our table saw won’t go to that length.

I measured the 29”, drew a line, lined up my saw blade, and clamped a 4’ level to the plywood as a guide to make sure I cut a straight line.

Step 2: Cut the corner 1” x 2” trim pieces. I used a miter saw for this. Each corner requires (2) pieces of trim cut the full height of the planters – 30” and 20” in my case.

Add glue to the 1” side of the trim, and create a corner with the second piece of trim. Align the outside edge and nail in place.

Step 3: Glue the plywood pieces inside the corners to create the box. Use a staple gun to secure.

Step 4: Add the top and bottom 1” x 3” trim. Glue and staple. That’s the trend here.

Marking a line corner to corner for the X cross-bracing inside and outside of the planter helps for the next step.

Step 5: Measure and cut the X cross-braces. I held the 1” x 2” trim where I wanted it to go, then I marked two points to create the angled cut. Once you determine the angle, it should be the same for all four sides.

Follow the same steps for the other cross-brace. This one will need to be cut in the middle.

Glue all of the cross-braces on the front side of the planter, and staple from the inside of the planter. That’s where that previously marked X helps! Without it, you have to guess where to staple.

Step 6: Mark and cut the top cap trim. I made mine with a 1/4” overhang on all four sides. Measure the overall width of the planter, and add 1/2” to the length. Mark the trim and cut at a 45° angle with the longest corner being your measuring point for the overhang.

Attach this with glue, and staple from the top.

Step 7: Since the interior pots were round, I added corner pieces to fill in some of the opening. Yep! Glue and staple.

Step 8: Caulk any gaps and nail/staple holes. Once the caulk dried I sanded the top corners of each planter.

Step 9: Time to paint! I brushed on one coat of Behr exterior enamel in satin. The color I used is Blackout.

After brushing the first couple planters, we got a paint sprayer. It was about $15 at Harbor Freight. Let me just say that the spray gun is a game changer.

To use the enamel paint in the spray gun I thinned with a little water (this is a water based paint). After two to three good coats of paint, I let them cure for at least 24 hours.

Since the plastic containers were much shorter than the overall height of the wood planters, I set them on cinder blocks.

I used (2) cinder blocks standing on end for each large planter. I used (1) per small planter lying on their side, and (2) bricks per small planter to get the height right. I could have built something, but we happened to have some extra block so might as well use that! I also like that it will catch the water drainage and I won’t have to worry about it rotting.

To help hide the four corners where the round pot meets the square edge, I planted trailing plants. With time, everything should grow and hide the plastic containers.

These wooden planters complete our front porch, and I love that they make a statement next to the front door!

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