Introduction: Up-Cycling Window Box

About: Live in St. Louis Missouri, current student & biology outreach coordinator, I love to build, read, and work on my farm with my family & dogs. In Monsanto-ville, we all nerd out on plants, anything with…

The goal of this project is to expose kids to healthy & constructive play.

For a overview of the benefits, see the attached presentation.

Step 1: What You Will Need.

Rule #1 is to stay safe. Always wear safety glasses, gloves, or others when handling materials.

*If you do not have enough or safe tools for students, ask hardware stores if they can loan you their outreach ones*

1.Material of Frame (Ideally a 1x4)

-Standard board, flat scrap wood, plywood, flat PVC, etc.

2. Material of Planter

-Milk Carton, tin can, juice box, soda bottle.

3. Nails &/or screws (8 per box)

4. Tools-Include an area to work

-Screwdriver, hammer, tape measure or ruler, pencil, (optional for kids: handsaw, drill & bits, glue)

5. Potting soil & seeds of choice

*Not only do hobby lobby / lows have kids tools, but they can cut boards for you if the class is large!*

Step 2: Getting Your Pieces Ready

Now we get to the business.

Depending on the builder, you may want to cut the wood or drill holes for screws slightly smaller than the diameter.

-Remember, giving your soon to be hobbyist a tool & responsibility helps them develop skills & lower injury rates.

1. Cut your frame material into flat boards, if not already done, ideally about (1x4), to display the measure & cut

-For a milk carton, 6 long inches is generous, but adjust yours to size depending on the container.

2. Per frame, cut 2 boards measuring 4in wide by 6in long &2 boards measuring 4in wide, and 4 to 6 in long

3. Clean out the can or carton for the plant, decorations are fantastic!

4. Get the 8 screws &/or nails for each box, put them in the newly clean container for safekeeping.

Step 3: Prepping the Container

1. Make sure to fully clean your container, and if painted, that it is dry.

2. Double check your measurements are correct & frame out your build to visualize it.

3. Measure your screw & or nail lengths for reach. 1.5 inches is the absolute bare minimum length. About 2in is ideal

Step 4: Assembly Time!

1. Show 1-2 examples of putting in nails & screws, explain why placement & accuracy is important.

-observe but don't intervene in students attempts unless necessary (they know more than they think!)

2. If using screws, make sure to pre-drill holes ahead of time to streamline process.

3. Assemble by attaching one board #1 to one board #2. Use 2 fasteners per joint (Area where 2 boards meet)

4. Repeat step 3 with remaining boards #1 & #2

5. Attach both of your parts so board #1 is opposite the other #1, and #2 is opposite the other #2.

Step 5: Adding Your Grow-Box

Add potting soil, water, & your seed to the grow box, find a sunny spot in a window.

Take your container, and place it inside of the frame. Unless it moves or is unstable, do not glue it down.

(This makes it easier to maintain & swap out)

Step 6: Watch & Engage!

Congrats, you just built a planter frame!

All that is left to do is maintain your mini garden.

If part of a class project or lesson, stack them in a window, or try out different seed types!

Please, use Instructables & intro trade programs to help involve students in constructive play.

Good Luck!