Introduction: Expandable Planter

Indoor gardening can be difficult when there are so many pots, planters, and plants. The design I have created is an easy solution for 2-in-1 planter that can grow in size with my plant as it grows bigger. The motivation for this is to promote simplicity and to be conscious of space consumption in my small home garden.

The "Expandable Planter" design is simple in materials and more complex with tools needed. I designed this in my shop at home and found the 29 gage sheet metal worked the best for flexibility.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

I found some thin and moldable sheet metal that will fold easily but also hold its shape.

The tools lined up are tagged and include, Metal Cutters, Large Crimper, Wire, Pin Tool, Hammer, Pliers, Square, and a Nail. A large "Standing-Seam Metal Break" was used as well and is pictured above.

Step 2: Planter Size

I began with a 5" x 16" piece of sheet metal. Using the nail and the square I scored a mark in the middle of the metal to find my center. This helped with bending later on.

*It is important to note the circumference of the planter will be less than 16" because of the accordion folds along the edge. The height of the planter will stay at 5" because it is not being creased.

Step 3: Accordion Fold

I began using the Standing-Seam Metal Break starting in the middle of the metal where the score was made. Working toward the edge, creasing one way, flipping it over, and creasing again, a staircase began to form. Once I got to the edge I began again in the opposite direction, working from the middle out toward the edge.

*I used the width of the breaker to measure so my folds were consistent with each other. However, the width of each angle can be any size.

Step 4: Crimping

Once the whole piece was folded accordion-style, I used the crimping tool to compress the peaks and valleys of the metal to be tight against each other.

Step 5: Connection

Next, I created a seam on the ends so the two sides would fit together and connect to make a circle. I punched holes in the seam using the pin tool and hammer to tap through, so they would not pop apart once connected with a wire. I used wire to join the metal seam and squeezed it with the pliers to make it tight.

Step 6: Bottom Panel

To make sure the soil doesn't fall out I made an adjustable bottom panel.

First, I scored the metal circles where I wanted to cut. Using the metal cutters, I cut out a small and large panel for the planter base.

This panel needs a crease in the middle to fit the wire latch across and still be flat on the bottom. I used the larger crimpers to make a tiny slot for the wire.

Step 7: Attaching Bottom Panel

I punched two holes on one side and one on the opposite side with the pin tool and hammer. I then wrapped the wire through the 2 holes and pinching with the pliers to secure it to the side. The other side of the wire will latch to the other side (over the bottom panel). I connected one side for the wire hinge straight across to the other, so the wire sits flat into the groove.

Step 8: Planting

Fill with soil, plant in seed or transplant. As the plant grows the planter can be expanded by pulling out from bottom and top.

Step 9: Expanding

Pull and force angles to open and expand the top and bottom. The volume of the planter will increase as the planter expands and will need more soil to fill. The bottom panel will need to be changed to one that matches the circumference of the bottom.

Happy Growing!

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