Making a cute little planter out of scrap wood and a few mason jars is an easy and quick little project that can be done on a weekend. In this Instructable I will show you how I went about making a planter that will have it's place on a garden table.
Step 1: Raw Materials
I don't know if you feel the same, but some things I just can't bring myself to throw away. Especially if it's the kind of things that have potential for a second life. Like in this instance, pieces of scrap wood and empty mason jars. I always have a small voice in the back of my head telling me that this or that could make a nice 'something', or could be useful someday, somehow.
Pictured, a leftover board from a dismantled pallet and three mason jars from my mother's cupboard are the main parts this planter consists of.
Step 2: Drilling Some Holes
I fiddled around a bit with the dimensions I would like the board to be and cut it to length. Then the spacing of the holes was eyeballed so it looked good and the centers for the holes marked. Finally I drilled out the holes where the mason jars would find their new home. The hole saw diameter is marginally larger than that of the mason jars.
Step 3: Base
The next step was cutting a small piece of scrap plywood to size. This is what the jars will sit on.
At this point I ran the board along my router to give it a nicer look and have the plywood flush with the board. This is by no means necessary, it was just personal preference. The plywood would have been sanded flush with the board if I did not happen to have a router around.
Step 4: Paint
To give the whole a bit more character I painted the inside of the mason jars yellow. This is the part where you make your projects your own. Different jar/plant/wood colour combinations will have different visual results.
You can keep it subtle and have it blend in with the surroundings or go crazy and give it a distinctive look, making it pop out and add interest to a space.
What i do is paint the inside of the jars because this gives a much nicer and cleaner look. By doing this you don't see streaks of paint all over the jar's surface. The paint used here is the simple water soluble kind you paint your walls with. It was what I had around and thought looked good with the green of the plants. The paint was applied liberally, 2 or 3 thick coats with adequate drying time between them.
Step 5: Drainage
At this point it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to have drainage holes in the jars. This allows for the excess water to drain out the bottom and prevent root rot.
That is why I drilled a small hole in the mason jars with a rotary tool and a diamond bit.
WORD OF CAUTION: WEAR LEATHER GLOVES AND EYE PROTECTION WHEN DRILLING GLASS!
I also had a small stream of water running over the spot I was grinding. This kept both the diamond tip and glass cool. And more importantly, water also keeps the glass dust from flying around and getting into your eyes. That's not an experience you want to go through, trust me.
As I didn't want the water pooling in the wooden base, another hole was drilled out on the bottom plywood portion.
Step 6: Feet
Having drainage now, and holes for the water to fall through, there would be no point in having the base sitting where the water would eventually end up. That's why after some tinkering and exploring a few other options, I used domed nuts to raise the planter by a few millimeters. This will keep the base nice and dry and prevent if from rotting.
The initial plan was to cut some threaded rod to size and then thread that into the wood for the domed nuts to screw on. However, drilling some slightly undersized holes and then tapping in the domed nuts was the simpler option. Doing it this way had an unforeseen advantage. As the wood is slightly warped, i could now fine tune their depth and have the whole thing sit nice and square. One or two nuts were hammered in slight deeper than the others, thus conforming to the surface the planter is sitting on.
Step 7: The End Result
This is how it's sitting at the moment. I stained the wood with a few layers of strong coffee. I love staining with coffee as I believe it makes wood look just the right amount of rustic. Commercially available stains and varnishes I have used in the past were either to dark, had to be diluted to achieve the results I was looking for, or just to glossy for my liking. Coffee on the other hand is not too obvious and adds some character to the wood.
And finally the plants. Succulents are my number one choice because they are relatively low maintenance and quite resilient. I took one painted jar with me when choosing which plant to get and ended up with what I got. But still, new ideas and colour combinations sprang to mind while going through the plants. Therefore, more future projects featuring succulents and mason jars will be coming up.