Sunday, August 18, 2013

DIY decorative planter boxes

Probably two years ago, I took some old planters and went out to buy a whole bunch of plants for them instead of just buying a new pre-made pot to set on top.  When I got to work on the Monday, I told my girlfriends that I had "made" new planters.  Well they assumed, with my inclination to handiwork, that I had actually built new planter boxes and then put flowers in them.

This past weekend, I got inspired to ACTUALLY build them myself!

Rule #1 - always plan out your build.  Despite having done two rather complex builds this year already, I still managed to mess things up somewhere between the planning and building stages.  This time, it was that I designed from the outside in, instead of the inside out.

What do I suggest?  For a planter, choose the inside dimension you want, and then buy the wood accordingly.  I made the mistake of buying 2 x 8" boards (finished 1.5 x 7") which meant that the inside planter area would have been all of 5".  Oops.  Back to Home Depot for Me so I could create rectangular planters instead as I didn't want to waste the wood I had already bought (and cut, doh!).

Supply list for 2 planters  (around $50 using SPF wood)
wide sides - (1 of) 2 x 12 x 8  -> I cut this at 26", 26", 20" and 20" - with just a smidge leftover
narrow sides - (1) 2 x 8 x 8  -> same cuts for this one
top/bottom cap - (2) 1 x 3 x 8  -> cut to measure for the top
top trim - (1) of your choice x 8'  -> cut to measure
bottom trim - (1) of your choice x 8'  -> cut to measure
- 16 x 2.5" deck screws
- 64 x 1.5" galvanized nails
- drill, drill bits, saw, safety glasses, ear protection, etc...

Cut two pieces of each width of your wood to make the
four main pieces that'll form each planter.
Fix a couple of extra pieces of leftover scraps at 8"
from the top to act as supports for the interior shelf.

Use screws in pre-drilled holes (to avoid splitting the
wood) - put one at each corner of the wide boards
Screw the narrow boards w/ the shelf supports on the
inside of the two wide boards to make a box

Put on a cap (and a base) of the 1 x 3" pieces of wood.
This isn't for structure, but for looks - make it pretty!
Add your trim pieces putting the wider trim at the top
and the more narrow trim on the bottom.

A quick lesson in staining exterior furniture?  I don't have one.  I bought a semi-transparent stain that was the darkest brown I could find.  This meant that it was medium brown (boo) and showed every brush stroke (double boo).  I ended up putting two coats on to get rid of the brush stroke look, and it came out mostly-not-transparent.  So annoying.

I guess the lesson would be... don't be so anxious to get it done that you aren't willing to use a very thin exterior stain, applying a coat a day (x 3).  This would have built the darkness I wanted slowly, and likely better.  Oh well - next time.  I was just too excited to get them done!

Voila!  Now, do it a second time with
the other wood pieces you cut.
Paint/stain them....
Put in some flowers....
Put them out to enjoy!

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