This square living wall piece was made entirely from reclaimed materials. The main frame is made from reclaimed pine wall paneling and the front frame is made from pallet wood with pine kerf accent strips. It hangs up on the wall with some simple D ring hardware. This set of 4 was made as part of a display for the Rhode Island home show. We installed floral elements within the frames for the show but those will probably only last a week or so like regular cut flowers. For longevity you would want to install dirt and some sort of succulent or herb and let it root for a couple of months before you hang it up on the wall.
> Pallet wood
> Reclaimed Pine Paneling
> Reclaimed PVC Sheets
> Pull Saw
Step 1: Building the Frames
I start off by building the frames, these are cut from pallet wood slats. For consistency, I rip them all down to the same width on the table saw.
The 4 frames are mocked out on the tabletop and each corner is marked to locate the biscuit that will reinforce the miter joints on all the corners.
Then it's just a matter of cycling through each piece and cutting the slot for the biscuits.
Step 2: Building the Boxes
While that is drying I construct the main box for the living walls. This is also built from reclaimed wood, this time it's old pine wall paneling. I rip it down to width on the table saw and then cut the miter on all the sides on the miter saw.
To assemble the boxes I glue and brad all of the corners. I use this corner clamping jig to hold things square and in place while I tack them together with brad nails.
I let these dry for about a half hour and then they are dry enough to work with. I run each side through the router table with a rabeting bit, one side fits a back panel and the other side fits a chicken wire to hold the plants in the box. I do it here after assembly instead of on the table saw prior to assembly because it's reclaimed wood so it's not perfectly flat. This ensures that I get a consistent dado all the way around.
The corners of the dados then just need to be squared up with a chisel and I install the backer panels within the boxes. These panels are made from PVC sheets, it's a material I pulled out of the trash and it's perfect for this because it's waterproof.
Step 3: Assembly
Now I can flip the box over and complete the assembly. I use the 3/4" square pieces of pine as cleats to hold everything in place, this lets me attach it with very few visible fasteners, plus it gives it a nice trim line too. The cleats are screwed into the front frame first.
Then one screw is added at each corner to attach the frame to the box.
One of the last finishing details is to pull them apart again and apply a few coats of paint on the inside surfaces of the wood, this will help keep it from getting damaged when watering the plants.
Step 4: Kerf Detail
I decided that the frames were just a bit plain and needed to be spiced up a bit. I use my tapering jig to hold them in place while I run them through the table saw for a shallow kerf cut at random different angles.
Then I fill these with thin strips of some light colored contrasting pine by gluing and hammering them in place. I then just shave them flat with a block plane and cut the ends smooth with a pull saw.
I think it adds just enough of an accent to make it fun to look at without being overbearing.
Step 5: Finishing
My finish of choice on this is linseed oil, I apply it to all the surfaces. It'll protect the wood but also helps to bring out the detail in the kerf trim.
To keep these from leaking when they're watered, I apply a bead of silicone caulking around all of the inside corners to make sure that everything is sealed up.
Step 6: Installation
Now they all take a trip over to the florist to fill them up with goodies. We use green foam and cut it to fit inside the boxes, then fasten the chicken wire in place with staples.
Then we just install a mix of greens and flowers in the foam.
All complete!! I loved the mix of colors and textures that we ended up with.
To install these in place I attach some D-ring hangers on the back of each box and mark out for screws in the wall to hold them up.
Step 7: Glamour Shot
Glamour shot! Definitely check out the build video too for the full experience: