Recycled Takeout Container Planter





Introduction: Recycled Takeout Container Planter

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author ...

Takeout containers are both wonderfully water-resistant and stylish. This makes them ideal for putting plants in and leaving them on a windowsill.

I'm hoping that the recycled takeout container planter, in conjunction with the Venus flytrap, will both liven up my living situation and rid me of those pesky mosquitoes that eat me alive when I sleep.

Feel free to plant something flowery and more welcoming in the one you make.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff.

You will need:

- 2 takeout containers
- 5 beaded pins
- Some potting soil
- A plant
- A screwdriver or awl
- A ruler
- A razor

Step 2: The Planter Carton.

Preparing the first carton is easy. First wash it out and next fold in the flaps so that the top of the carton looks nice and clean.

Step 3: The Tray Carton.

Wash the carton out and then open it up so that it lays flat.

Find the creases of the inner square and then cut a 1.75" border around that square. Note that if done properly, the border you create won't be exactly square. That is okay.

Trim the new shape so that you cut a diagonal from the top of one outward crease to the top of the crease that is approximately 90 degrees away (see secondary picture).

All the creases should naturally fold outwards. That is fine, but you want them to fold inwards. So, fold them all inwards. It should now look like the one in the picture.

Step 4: Elevate the Carton.

Insert the beaded pins into the bottom of the carton. Place them so that there is one in every corner and one in the center.

Step 5: Poke the Carton. Poke It Good.

Poke some holes in the bottom of the carton using your screwdriver or awl. I found it nice to put these holes halfway between each corner pin and the center pin. This looks nice and symmetrical.

Step 6: Replant the Plant.

Get some extra potting soil and your plant and... well... replant it.

Step 7: Show Some Love.

Water your plant good and plenty (or as necessary).



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    19 Discussions

    This would look awesome if you put bamboo in it. I'm going to our chinese takeout place later today, so I might try this.

    Hi! Great instructable! I love the idea of using the takeout container. However, VFT plants do best in shallow standing water (below the root level). Do not feed them, do not use tap water (use distilled), and keep them outside. has some excellent care info.

    1 reply

    I bought the same kit.. :< Mine is tiny though.. It was one of the only three left and I really wanted one.. I hope I can fix it back up..

    this is such a great idea! nice one trying it out today...almost threw away those containers from some brown rice. glad i saved them!

    HA! nice Idea!! I have been only hearing about Venus fly traps but could you use like basil and other herbs or is it to harsh for them to be in such a large habitat.

    Haha. I bought the same Venus Flytrap kit in January. Yours looks very healthy. All my traps are always droopy. Maybe I should get it somewhere besides Wal*Mart. And those things do need to be watered good and plenty. I have mine in a terrarium so I really never have to water it since all the water just recirculates, but before I had that it had to be watered every day.

    Cool idea too. I'm always strapped for pots and saucers since I always start lots of plants I find outside this time of year.

    6 replies

    No. You don't. Feeding them raw meat risks killing the plant. The fat content in meat is way too high for them to handle. Some experts use special diluted fertilizer to feed the plant, but it's easy enough to feed them insects. You can get crickets at the pet store; I've been told they respond just fine to them.

    Wow, you find VFT outside? that's pretty cool. Nice looking plant BTW for a wal-mart one.

    That's a pretty good use for those things. I certainly wouldn;t have thought of it.

    Wow, nice to see other Carnivorous plant enthusiasts here. I recently made my own plant howto instructable here. Feel free to comment.

    This is an awesome idea! As soon as I move I'm going to set one up. The one thing I'm concerned about is the waterproofing -- I think that chinese food cartons may only be waterproofed over the paper -- if so, then the water holes at the bottom are going to allow water to seep in along the edges (b/c the waterproof seal has been broken) and undermine the intergrity of the structure. That said, it's probably easily remedied by blotting a bit of sealant around the hole edges. I only point it out b/c you may want to take a look at the bottom of yours, and seal the edges if needed. Thanks for the great instructable!

    3 replies

    uh oh. You're on to me. The carton I was using was only waterproofed on the inside. Next time I was thinking of making larger holes in the bottom and sealing them around the edges with hot glue. Also, they are going to need a bit more elevation than I have given them because of the absorbent paper. I was thinking maybe a couple of washers or nuts.

    : ) what if you used a couple of those decorative glass stones, glued on top of each other? it would be more work, but then you could make a layer of them in the 'tray' and it would not only add to the look of the planter (esp. with a high contrast color -- like red), but raise it up enough to keep the box out of the water.

    Funny you should mention that, because I was considering using sea glass on the bottom, but I'm not sure I like the way it looks.