Picture of Pallet Planter
This project was designed for a sustainability class. It's a wooden planter created entirely out of pallet scrap would that would normally just be tossed into the trash. This project can be customized based on what your needs are.
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Step 1: Take apart the boards

Picture of take apart the boards
We started by trying to simply pry off the boards from the center support system. With the rusted nails pretty deep in the wood, we decided just to cut the edges off. We used a hand held circular saw to cut straight through all of the boards on the edges. This way all you have to do is just disassemble the boards from the center support.

Step 2: Cutting boards into uniform lengths

For my basic planter, I used the length of the pallet for the length of the planter. You will need 4 pieces (in all) the same size as the length. You will also need 4 pieces the size of the width. I used 11 inches, but this can be changed if you prefer a wider box.

Step 3: Sanding the boards

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This step is optional. I used a sander that works with compressed air, because it was faster. Hand sanding also works. I just did a basic sanding of the front and back, and the edges that would be showing. Sanding is not really necessary, but it's a nice aesthetic touch to make the corners a little smoother and the sides have a little more character.

Step 4: Attach the basic box boards

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Before you start this step, put all of the boards in place to make sure they will fit together. A little bit of variation in size is fine, but it's a good idea to make sure they'll stay together without a problem.

Begin by putting a small line of wood glue (Titebond II works really well and it is water/weatherproof) on the ends of the small shelves and attach them inside the long pieces, as shown in the photo. Clamp lightly if desired, while inserting the center dividers.

Step 5: Insert the dividing pieces

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Place the last two small piece in any place you want to separate the space up. I chose to do a smaller area for seedlings in the center. I placed it off center, for aesthetic reasons. My small pieces were also not completely uniform, so they stayed in place more securely when placed at one end.

Be sure to remember a small ribbon of wood glue at each of the small divider ends. Clamp everything tightly! Wipe off any excess glue before it dries. Allow to dry for a couple of hours.

Step 6: Add nails

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Add finishing nails at the intersections of the boards. Be sure to use thin and long nails to avoid splintering.

Step 7: Add the bottom boards

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Attach the bottom boards in the same fashion as the sides. **Be sure to leave small gaps or drill drainage holes in the bottom.** Without this, the planter will rot over time. Put a small line of glue on the small outer sides, and also on the inner dividers. Clamp at places where the boards connect. Finish these sides with nails as well, for extra support.

When planting in this planter, be sure to use a layer of rocks, packing peanuts, or small clay/ceramic pieces on the bottom for better drainage.
halogen175 years ago
what about simply stapling some plastic to the inside of the box/over the edge to create a barrier against the chemicals? -thats what i was planning anyways!
kiwiman5 years ago
Great job. I have two concerns about making this myself: 1. Is the wood chemically treated, and will these chemicals leach into the herbs and other food I grow? 2. How long would this be likely to last outdoors? Thanks, Kiwiman
seles23 kiwiman5 years ago
yeah I'm not excited about chemically treated wood as planter box either. How would one find out if it was?
liz.mckibbon (author)  seles235 years ago
1. Some pallets ARE chemically treated and some are not. Supposedly they are all marked with a number and you can look it up online to see if they are chemically treated or not. I think there is another instructable on here using pallets that talks more about it. 2. My pallet planter lasted very well outside. As long as you have decent drainage, it should be very long lasting.
coolcatch6 years ago
sweet I was just going to home depot to buy some wood, to do the same thing and I have 3 pallets in the back yard. yippee! now I can get some shoes instead. and i love the squarefoot gardening idea! implementing now!
liz.mckibbon (author)  coolcatch6 years ago
Also, the planter seemed to work better with no bottom slats. Even if the soil below is in terrible shape, it's very advantageous to allow the roots more space to grow!
scmtngirl6 years ago
This is a bit off subject, but I built a planter box recently out of some leftover 2"x4"s using galvanized nails. I realized later on that drilling and screwing using 2.5" deck screws makes for a much sturdier box and doesn't require any glue. Just a thought!
liz.mckibbon (author)  scmtngirl6 years ago
Yes... agreed! The second time around I used supports at the corners and screws. Worked very well.
niquattx6 years ago
mimsmall6 years ago
Nice idea. Combining this info with this info http://www.squarefootgardening.com/ is also a nice idea.