Step one: the find
Disclaimer: I have amazing access to reclaimed/used wood since I work on a farm, so it was relatively easy for me to find all of this. However, there are TONS of people looking to get rid of wood. Check craigslist in your area, and even post what you're looking for. Just knowing that I can get rid of something for FREE from my yard is amazing, and there are many people who feel the same. If you're feeling adventurous, you could also drive through alleyways and pick wood scraps that people place by their trash bins.
1) For my pick, I looked for 2''x2'' posts (we use them to support young trees). For this project you need to find
- 16 2''x2'' posts that are 4 feet long
-16 2''x2'' posts that are 2 feet long.
*Make sure that the posts are relatively straight. If they are warped or twisted you won't get a nice uniform look.
**The board lengths all need to be "good wood", so make sure that you have enough 4 feet and 2 feet lengths of "good wood" left after you cut off the ends that are splintered or rotten.
KEEP IN MIND that the posts we use for trees (and the ones I use in this Instructable) are pressure treated and meant to withstand rain, sun, and other elemental factors. If you don't find wood that is pressure treated, it would be a good idea to coat the boards you find with some linseed oil (colorless to keep the uniqueness of each board) or outdoor decking stain. You don't have to, but your planter will last longer if you do.
2) You will also need to find some sort of wood to be the bottom of your planter. When I was younger we moved into a home with an old barn that my dad tore down. We still have a bunch of leftover 1''x6'' wood planks, so I grabbed a few pieces of that and coated them in some linseed oil, since those boards will take the brunt of the moisture, being at the bottom of the planter, and were not pressure treated. You can use whatever thickness you want (I wouldn't recommend anything less than 1'' though), just remember that the boards need to be the same length as the bottom of your planter. For this reason, I didn't actually go out and "pick" the bottom boards until I finished step #6.
3) Next you will want to find some sort of metal strapping to hold everything together and give it a rustic look. I was able to find some metal straps that are used to hold wooden crates together. The metal is about ½'' wide. You will need 4-5 lengths about 34'' long to go all the way around the side of the planter (see step #6 for more information and pictures, and please read the disclaimer at the top of step #6 to see if you want the 5th additional strap as a pattern).
4) This is optional, but I decided the planter would look nice with a finished edge around the top. Because I "picked" 2''x2'' posts for the sides, I found a few lengths of 2''x4'' boards for the top edge.