Rustic Wheelbarrow Flower Planter




Introduction: Rustic Wheelbarrow Flower Planter

With pallets you can do nice woodworking projects and most importantly, they are for free, or at least they don't cost very much, if you buy them. I had a couple of pallets in hand, until an idea come in mind. This is my first pallet wood project. I got inspired from a video of Steve Ramsey on Youtube. Thank you Steve.


  • Pallet wood
  • Nails
  • Dowels
  • Varnish
  • Woodglue


  • Crowbar
  • Jigsaw
  • Hammer
  • Palm sander
  • 80 grit sandpaper
  • Rasp
  • Drill
  • Holesaw 55 mm
  • Chisel
  • Wood drill bit No. 8

Step 1: Base

The first step was to dismantle the pallet with a crowbar and pull all the nails off. To form the base I rough cut the boards to length. The trusses will not be parallel and would form a V shape if they were longer. With the accuracy of my eye(!) I tried to have the same angle between them and a reference line from tiles. When the eye tool did the right measurement I glued and nailed the boards on the trusses. I trimmed the excesses of the boards flush with the trusses' sides with a jigsaw.

I rounded the front ends of the trusses just to be nice looking. I did this using a can to mark curves and cut them with a jigsaw.

To the back ends I formed handles. I marked where the unessessery wood was and cut it out. Then I rounded the handle piece with a rasp until I had a cylindrical shape. I also rounded the very back ends to be nice in touch.

Step 2: Frame

Every side of the frame was made up of two boards, glued together with dowels inside them. The basket is narrow at the bottom and wider at the upper. To do that, I cut both the ends of the left and right sides at two random angles. Now, the front and back side will be tilted. To make the left and right sides tilted too, I cut a groove at their bottom end with a chisel. This step was very time consuming and difficult because of the dull chisel.

I glued and nailed carefully those pieces to the base with the lower angle at the back. The wood at the groove was very thin and it was easy to break while hammering. These joints were not strong at all yet and the sides were wobbling.

I rough cut to length the front and the back sides and marked the cutting lines according the other sides. These boards, due to the way of placement, were higher than the others. I marked where the proper width was and trimmed them off. After cuting, I glued them to the base and nailed them from underneath. I nailed the left and right sides to front and back sides. The frame was now strong enough attached to the base.

Also, I rasped the upper front and back sides of the frame to an angle, to be flush with the other upper sides.

Step 3: Axle

To make an axle I laminated four boards and marked a circle around Φ55 mm. I tilted my jigsaw at 45 degrees and cut as much wood was possible. I took my rasp and started trimming until I got an even cylinder. I wish I had a lathe at that time... I rounded the edges to have a nice look.

To place the axle, I needed to bore a large hole in each truss. I marked the center points at equal distance from the ends and bored the holes with a 55 mm holesaw. I rasped the inside of the holes whrere needed until the axle fit snugly.

Step 4: Wheel

To made the wheel, I formed a panel out of four boards. I added dowels for extra strength. I drew a circle with a compass and at the center I bored a hole with the same holesaw. I sanded slightly the inside of the hole to increase the diameter, so the wheel can rotate on the axle. I cut the marked circle with the jigsaw and rounded all the edges of the disc.

At this point I dry fitted the axle and the wheel to the base. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of this step. I cut two boards to make standing legs. I attached them on the trusses with glue and nails behind basket. I cut several small pieces of wood to add to the sides of the basket and give character to the wheelbarrow.

Step 5: Stain and Assembly

I unfitted all the pieces to stain them and put them back after, permanently. I sanded all the pieces with 80 grit sandpaper attached to my sander. For every narrow spot and corner I did sanding with hand. After that, I applied two coats of external waterbased wood preserver with light sanding between them. I chose the stain to give a rustic look.

All the parts were ready and was time for the final assembly. I nailed carefully the small parts to the basket, two pieces on each side. I fitted the axle with the wheel on to its final position and nailed it from the upper side of trusses. The wheel was not stabilized on the axle's middle and wobbled left and right. To keep it in the middle I nailed two very long nails through the axle from top to bottom. I nailed another two shorter nails in the front of the axle and the wheel now was steady. I bent the nails heads away from wheel because they were scratching it.

In the future, If I will make a second wheelbarrow, I will predrill some holes to the axle and stabilize the wheel with dowels to left and right. This method seems easier and maybe looks better than nails. You learn from your mistakes.

Step 6: Flowers

Summer was coming and the wheelbarrow was ready. I bought some summertime plants for shadow place, and placed the wheelbarrow with the pots in it under a large mulberry tree at my vacation house's yard. This is a nice decorative element and every summer I will go on holidays, I will buy new plants.

I hope you like this Instructable and if you like it, please vote. Again a big thank to Steve Ramsey for inspiration.

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    5 years ago

    I LOVE IT!!!! Great job


    5 years ago

    Bravo! Poly kalh doyleia! Voted!


    5 years ago

    Stunning grading idea


    5 years ago

    That really looks nice, job well done!


    5 years ago

    You did a super job and with limited tools. I can't wait to make one as soon as I find a pallet.