Introduction: Secret Drawer Wood Planter

About: I am an 18-year-old student in 12th grade, I enjoy baking, running, programming, 3-D design, photography, and nature!

I really love house plants, they can change the energy of any space from stale to alive, however, they do require maintenance. One issue I find myself addressing every few years is the size of the pots of each of my plants. Recently I have noticed that one of my snake plants has begun to outgrow its original pot. Rather than buying an expensive pot, I decided I would build one. Rather than just building a boring old planter, I decided I would make it multipurpose. This planter looks like a normal planter, however, it has a secret drawer that would be very difficult to find.


To build the planter you will need the following materials:

  • 2"x2" Board
  • 3/8" Plywood
  • 3/4" Plywood
  • Wood Glue
  • Wood Stain
  • Wood Sealer(polyurethane)
  • 2.5" Wood Screws
  • 1" Nails

You will also need the following tools:

  • Miter Saw
  • Circular or Table Saw
  • Jig Saw
  • Tape Measure
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Orbital Sander w/ ~100 grit paper
  • Paint Brush
  • Clamps

Step 1: Cut Boards

First, you must cut all of the boards to the necessary sizes:

2"x2" Boards:

  • 4x - 11"
  • 4x - 7"

3/8" Plywood:

  • 12x - 3.25"x10.25"
  • 2x - 10"x10"
  • 2x - 9.5"x2.75"
  • 1x - 6.75"x2.75"

3/4" Plywood

  • 1x - 9.5"x6"

Step 2: Cutting Corners

If you thought you were finished cutting, you were wrong. You will need a jigsaw for this next step, but you could also use a bandsaw, scroll saw, or circular saw. First, take a scrap of 2"x2" and hold it flush with a corner of one of the plywood square, then use a pencil to outline it. Repeat this with all the corners of the two plywood squares. Then use a saw to cut out each of the corners.

Step 3: Assemble the Frame

The first step to building the frame is to create a pencil line on each of the 11-inch 2"x2" boards 2 inches from one side. Next on a flat work surface, place two of the longer boards parallel 7 inches apart. Place two of the 7-inch 2"x2" segments in between them so that the lower one is aligned with the pencil marks. Make sure your setup matches the second image, then add four screws in through the 11-inch boards into the shorter ones to match the third picture. Now repeat that process with the other 4 2"x2" segments so that you have two identical frames shaped like the letter H.

Step 4: Complete the Frame

To finish assembling the frame, balance the two H frames so that they are standing up. Now, using one of the squares with the corners cut out, arrange the frames so that the corners are each occupied by a 2"x2". At this point, your frame should look like the first image, the H's should be standing and the plywood should be resting between them. Now add 4 screws through the plywood into the horizontal 2"x2" segments, screw them in enough that they are secure but not tight. Now flip the entire frame upsidedown and place the other square so it is resting on the other side of the horizontal 2"x2"s. Add four screws like the ones of the top plywood piece, then go back and tighten the top screws all the way. You should now have a frame with a small drawer compartment inside it.

Step 5: Sand and Stain

With an orbital sander, sand all 12 of the identical wood plywood slats until they are smooth. Next using the stain of your choice (or none at all if you like the wood color) stain all of the wood slats, and stain the frame built earlier. When staining the frame, the important part is the verticle 11-inch 2"x2" boards, since parts of those will still be visible later. You do not need to stain the surfaces of the plywood because those will be covered up.

Step 6: Build the Drawer

Next, you will build the drawer that will function as a secret compartment. Start with the 3/4" plywood and one of the 9.5" plywood pieces. Attach the 9.5" piece to the side of the 3/4" plywood 4-5 nails, using a speed clamp to hold it in place will make it much easier. Then add the other 9.5" piece to the opposite side of the 3/4" piece like the other one. Finally, add the 6.75" board to one of the two short sides so that it is flush on all sides, add a few nails into the 3/4" board. Next, add wood glue to all the seams, clamp in place and allow to fully dry.

Step 7: Finish the Drawer

To finish the drawer, tilt the frame on its side so the compartment is facing up, now insert the drawer so that it rests inside the compartment. The drawer should be flush on the top, however, if it's not, you can place something under it so that it is temporarily flush. Now Place one of the stained slats on top of it so that the left side is flush with the 2"x2" and the right is hanging over slightly. Align the bottom with the lower plywood piece, the top should overlap the upper plywood slightly. Now hammer in two nails into the drawer, making sure they go into the 3/4" plywood of the drawer. If the nails miss the plywood then the drawer won't work so make sure you hammer them into the right spot. Carefully remove the drawer, then add wood glue to the new seams. Allow the drawer to dry fully before moving forward.

Step 8: Add the Wood Slats

Once the drawer is dry, place it back into the frame. With the frame on its side and the drawer facing up, place two more of the wood slats onto the frame like picture one. Space the wood slats out by about 1/8 inch, align the left sides of each one so that they are flush with the 2x2. Make sure they are level by checking the distance from the bottom from either side of each slat, then use nails to attach each piece to the 2x2s. Add three slats to each of the other three sides using at least 4 nails per wood slat. While doing this, it may be helpful to have a 7-inch scrap of wood to support the 2"x2" boards while nailing into them.

Step 9: Add Finish and Plastic Liner

To finish the planter, add at least one coat of a waterproof/exterior wood sealer, when doing this, take the drawer out and apply the finish to it separately. Even if you are using this planter inside, I recommend coating the entire planter in the wood sealer since you will be putting a live plant in it, which will require water. If you plan on putting this planter outside, I would recommend multiple coats of an exterior wood sealer.

Next, cut a piece of plastic to about 22"x22". Place the plastic inside the box and use staples and or silicon to keep it in place. Around the edges, the plastic may come out of the box, use a razor blade to trim it so it is about one inch from the top of the box, I recommend using glue or waterproof tape to seal the edge of the liner and prevent water from getting under it. Just make sure when you are taping it, that the tape is lower than the edge of the box so that you do not see it.

Step 10: Add Your Plant

The last step is to add a plant to the planter. I recommend using a plant that isn't too sensitive, such as a snake plant since there aren't drainage holes. Snake plants are also great because they don't need to be watered often, and lots of water can reduce the lifespan of wood projects. Since there are no drainage holes, I recommend a layer of sand under your plant. Then just place your plant into the planter and surround the roots with soil. Gently pack the soil in and add more until it is nearly at the top of the planter. Move the planter wherever you want it and fill up the secret drawer with all of your valuable belongings. This is a great spot for money, personal documents, or discs of classified CIA information. If you are using it outside, it would also be a great place to store a house key.

Secret Compartment Challenge

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Secret Compartment Challenge