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Stylish indoor planters

Living on the second storey of an apartment complex means you have no garden. This and the fact that all Alta’s plants were standing all over the apartment in those ugly plastic plant holders prompted me to make her some wooden planters.


By Roelof Strydom

Cutting list for the bigger planter

* Two sides measuring 500mm x 250mm

* The bottom piece measuring 500mm x 160mm

With the bigger planter the two ends are in the shape of a trapezoid. At the top it measures 270mm and at the bottom it measures 200mm. Both are 250mm high.

Small planters

With the two small planters, everything is straight.

* Four sides measuring 400mm x 160mm

* Two bottom pieces measuring 400mm x 105mm

* Four ends measuring 160mm x 145mm.



Wood filler

3.5mm chipboard screws

Wood glue

Wood primer and topcoat

I constructed three planters, a big one and two smaller ones, from medium-density fibreboard (MDF). I built the big planter so it could be moved around the apartment whenever Alta felt like a change. I constructed the small planters according to the width of the windowsill of the apartment’s main window.


The big planter

Step 1: Take the two trapezoid shapes of the big planter and cut out a crescent in each of them on the side measuring 200mm. The cap from a pill bottle was sufficient and after drawing the outline of the cap on the wood, I cut it out with a jigsaw.


Step 2: The sides of the planter are not flush with the trapezoid ends. They are joined to the trapezoid ends with a 5mm lip on their outsides. On both trapezoid shapes measure 5mm inwards and draw a line to indicate where the sides should go.


Step 3: On the inside of the lines drill three 3mm holes and countersink each as well. Do not drill the top and bottom holes too close to the edge or the MDF will split once you screw in the screws.


Step 4: To put the big planter together, apply some wood glue and screw the 500mm x 250mm sides onto the trapezoid ends on the inside of the line indicating the 5mm lip.


Step 5: The final step is to put the bottom in place. Place the bottom piece measuring 500mm x 160mm inside the planter just above the crescent-shaped cut-outs and secure it with screws.


Step 6: Fill all the countersunk screw holes with wood filler and allow to dry.


The small planters

The construction of the small planters is similar to that of the big one. So here goes:

Step 7: Take the four pieces measuring 160mm x 145mm and again cut out a crescent in each of them, this time in the sides measuring 145mm.


Step 8: The small planters also have a lip, but this time it is only 3mm. It might be difficult to accurately measure 3mm so instead place the 400mm x 160mm pieces of wood on the 160mm x 145mm ends and place a 3mm drill bit flat to gauge the 3mm lip. Again draw a line to indicate where to mount the sides.


Step 9: Drill three 3mm holes and countersink them.


Step 10: Screw the four sides of each of the two planters together to from the outer box.


Step 11: Turn the planters upside down, insert the bottom pieces and secure them to the outer box just above the crescent.


Step 12: Fill the screw holes with wood filler and allow to dry.


Step 13: Once the wood filler has completely dried, sand it smooth on all three of the planters. Then seal the wood by applying a wood primer and thereafter the top coat.



Step 14: Because the wood is going to be in contact with water and wet soil, you will have to seal it thoroughly. Do this by painting on a wood primer. Read the instructions on the tin to see how long the primer should dry before you can apply the topcoat.


Step 15: Once the primer has completely dried, apply two coats of whatever colour you choose. I painted these with gloss enamel.


Take note

All the pieces were cut with a jigsaw and this is where I encountered the biggest problem. Cutting with a jigsaw is not entirely accurate. Something may look straight, but may not actually be straight. After constructing the three planters I noticed some gaps between the bottom piece and the sides.


This was not going to stop me from finishing the planters so all I did was seal these gaps with silicone. I suggest that when constructing these planters you rather cut the wood with a circular saw or a table saw to ensure accuracy.

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