Custom Shaped Planter Box Out of Old Tounge-in-grove Boards




Introduction: Custom Shaped Planter Box Out of Old Tounge-in-grove Boards

About: I am interested in a wide range of things as shown in my list of interests. Almost anything creative is fun and worth trying.

In this instructable I will show you how to make a planter box out of old tounge-in-grove boards (or new if you like) that you can design to fit the side of your house.

I am currently refinishing my porch flooring (perhaps a later instructable) which means that I had to rip out the old tounge-in-grove flooring. As you may know, when you rip out tongue-in-grove boards they are mostly destroyed in the sense that the tounge and groves get damaged during the process. Since I am not one to waste wood I decided to repurpose it. My wife suggested that I make her a planter box for the side of the house and so I decided I would make it out of the old boards. This way I would be able to design the shape to fit the side of the house and I could make it as large or as small as I like.

Here is what you will need:

  1. Old boards.
  2. a length of 2x2 board.
  3. 1 1/2 inch screws.
  4. 1 1/2 inch finishing nails.
  5. paint and primer.
  6. hammer, saw, screwdriver, tapemeasure,
  7. potting soil.
  8. plants!

The result was exactly what I wanted and my wife was sufficiently amazed by how nice it turned out. She said, "Wow! I wasn't expecting something so elaborate! I love it!" heheh. Exactly the reaction I was looking for. :)

Step 1: Prepare the Boards and Make the First Side

First decide where you would like the finished planter box to be and, with a tape measure, measure the length of the first segment. This will be the back of the planter box. Then gather your old boards and find some that have the tongue and groves in fairly good shape. You will need 3 boards to make that section of the box. Cut the three boards to the correct length and fit them together -- use the good ones to fit them together so that the damaged tongues and groves are either on the bottom or the top and not being used to bind boards together.

Now screw another board across the three at the center as shown in the picture. You should choose the nicest side of the board to face toward the inside of the box. Align the cross piece so that it is flat with the bottom (the grove part) of the box. Make sure that you attach each of the three boards to the crosspiece with screws. If your boards are thinner than mine you may need to use a shorter screw so that it does not penetrate out the other side.

Once you have them screwed together you should cut off the top of the cross piece so that it is even with the top of the box.

Step 2: Make the Corner Pieces

Now take your 2 by 2 board and cut it diagonally at a 45 degree angle. I did this with a table saw but you can use a jigsaw or some other tool if you like. It is not a big deal if you don't cut it exactly right since the cut side will be facing inside the box and is not the important part for binding the corners. The 90 degree part is what we will use to bind our box sides together.

Once it is cut you should measure the height of the side that you have already completed and cut the corner pieces to that length. These will be used in the next step to attach the sides of our planter box together.

Step 3: Finish the Back of the Box

Get out your tape measure and measure the remaining pieces for the back of the box. As you can see by the picture my box fits the side of the staircase and the unfinished porch up to the side of the house.

Then select more pieces of board, fit three together, cut and bind with cross pieces exactly as in the previous step.

Once you have made each segment you can bind them together using the corner pieces you cut in the previous step. Note that if the section is short enough you don't have to use a cross piece to bind them since the corner piece will work fine on its own.

Step 4: Complete the Outline of the Box

Now that the back piece is in the shape you want you need to decide how wide you would like your final box to be. I chose 1 foot but you may want one which is thinner or wider than that. You can now cut the sides and the front of the box according to your chosen width and put them together with the corner pieces as before.

Step 5: The Bottom of the Box

Now you will need to get someone to help you flip the box over so that you can attach the bottom.

The bottom is constructed the same way as the sides by measuring, cutting and fitting boards according to the width of your box as shown. This time I used finishing nails and used two nails on each side of each board. This will make sure it stays on if you ever decide to move the box. However, in my case I have fitted the box to the side of my house so it is most likely the only time it will get moved is when I am working on the porch behind it.

My boards have a gap along the center of one side of the board which I faced toward the inside of the box. This will leave little holes all along the side of the box and allow the water to drain out. If your boards are different than mine you may want to drill holes on the bottom to allow drainage.

Step 6: Priming and Painting

Now put your finished box somewhere that you can paint it. I chose the front lawn :) Once I mow it there will be no sign of the paint that misses the box.

I used a spray primer and then a spray paint to paint the box but, of course, you are free to use whatever paint you would like on yours.

Once it is painted and dry you can flip it back over and move it back to where you want it to be.

Note that I also painted along the top of the inside of the box but I didn't go all the way down since it will be filled with dirt anyway. You may want to paint the entire inside of yours.

I then took a jigsaw and angle cut the cross pieces at the front of the box just to make it look better although it is not necessary to do this.

Step 7: The Finished Product

Now get some potting soil and fill the box and plant your plants in it!

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    7 years ago

    You could put a liner or a spray coating inside if you like to help prevent decay over time but I didn't. It is primed and painted with drainage. If it decays to the point where it is noticeable I will make another one. We plan on replacing the staircase next summer so the planter will be replaced then anyway.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great project, especially for small spaces. I'll definitely try it the next spring. Did you isolate it from moisture?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! Regarding moisture, in what sense do you mean? At the moment it is sitting on concrete and the boards forming the bottom have a groove down the center and this allows good drainage all the way around.