Sunday, 25 January 2015

DIY Easy pallet wood planter

It's the time of year when I'm looking for new planters for the garden but being the tight fisted so and so that I am I simply refuse to buy them so out came the pallet wood and a bit of ingenuity. I need several planters for Roses that will eventually be going out into the garden ground but for this year they need a home while the garden is finished. The planters had to be exceptionally easy to make (because I get bored easily), use as little wood as possible but still look like more than just a square box.
The first one I made looked ok but I'd cut corners such as not pre drilling so the finished effect wasn't as good as it could have been - I decided that one would be the prototype and set about making another one but took my time to do it properly. The finished planter still only took one day to make so I'll definitely be making several more.

This is the finished look - no painting just a light sand and a coat of outdoor varnish for protection.

There are probably many tutorials online much better than anything I can give but I'll show step by step how I made this and maybe it will encourage someone to give it a go.

Assemble all your wood pieces once you have decided the size you want. This may sound obvious but on the prototype I made each panel up before cutting and making the next one and I ran out of wood the right size half way through. I managed to source some eventually but I would have saved myself so much aggravation just doing it properly from the start.
I decided to make my planter 20" high by whatever width the pallet wood ended up being. As it turned out I used wood that was a little over 3.5".
I cut 16 pieces @ 20" and 4 pieces the width of the boards joined together (I actually need 8 width pieces but we'll come to that later).

First I lay 4 of the pieces down and used the cool set square I attached to my workbench as something to straighten them against, this saved me so much time and effort in trying to hold all the pieces level and together.

Loving my set square as it helps keep it all together.

Next I attached a scrap piece of wood across the middle to hold it all together while I mark out for the arch in the bottom - I forgot to take a photo though.

For the arches at the top and bottom I made a mark 2" in from either end at the bottom and used a plate to mark out a circle from those marks. I repeated this at the top and bottom of all 4 sides.

Marks for arches.

Next I used the Jigsaw to cut out those marks.
TIP: Once you have cut those arches out do not remove the scrap wood from the middle until you have secured one of the fixing battens. I made this mistake and it took me ages to get that arch to look right again because the wood dropped.

See the scrap wood - don't remove it yet.
Next secure the fixing batten top and bottom - I fixed them 3" up from the bottom and 3" down from the top. Once they are secure it's safe to move the scrap wood from the middle. Then turn the pieces over and screw into the fixing battens to make it super secure - don't forget to pre drill.

Top & bottom arches cut

You need to make 2 exactly like that and then make 2 more but the fixing battens will need to be a different width allowing for the sides you just made to sit snug against the new sides.
I held the two finished sides up to the one I was now making and marked out where the battens sat so I could use that width for the fixing battens for the next 2 sides - does that make sense?
In this photo you can see what I mean. The 2 sides are held against the one I'm making - the pencil shows you the width I'm measuring.

Pencil showing width to measure.

With that done you fix the shorter battens to the next 2 sides and you should have 2 of each of these

Finished pieces ready for joining

Next I simply built the box and screwed the sides in together - pre drilling the holes first and using a screw head sinker like this, the effect is so much more pleasing and prevents splitting of wood.

Drill bit and screw head sinker.

Looking inside this is what the planter looks like screwed together. It's perfectly solid by this point.

Add caption

Next I cut 3 pieces of scrap wood to fix to the bottom making sure the slats had enough gap to allow for water drainage.

Slats fixed to the bottom inside.

Then I needed to lay a liner in it, usually I use some of hubbys thick DPM but I was feeling especially lazy and know the DPM can be a hassle to fix so I literally used a super thick bin liner which fit perfectly and fixed it to the top batten supports with my nail gun.
To hide the plastic and make it look a bit nicer I cut some odds and ends of really thin finishing wood I found and attached it to the top of the plastic using the nail gun again into the batten.

Finishing wood over plastic on left.

Finally, a quick sand down with 60 grit and a quick sand with 240 grit -I usually go all the way from 60, 80, 120 etc but I wanted to keep the rustic look.
One coat of external varnish and it's good to go.

Finished look

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