Upside Down Milk Jug Planter

Introduction: Upside Down Milk Jug Planter

What can you do with an abandoned old crib and some empty milk jugs?   Probably lots of stuff, but I decided to make a planter for some of my tomatoe plants.  This instructable takes one side of a crib and turns it into a mountable upside down milk jug planter.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

What I used:

Jig Saw
Circular Saw
drill bit to predrill holes
Utility knife
safety glasses

small wood screws
4 milk jugs
side of a crib
scrap 1x8 board

Step 2: Measuring (quote/unquote)

I am not a stickler for a measuring tape, so this next step is less than contractor/woodsmith.  But, I held the milk jug upside down with the mouth recessed between the first set of  bars and marked the edge. 

Using some sort of straight edge, draw a line to mark where to cut on both sides of the crib.

Make the cuts, and set aside the bottom of the future planter.

Step 3: Cut the Front and Back Sides

Again, me with my anti measuring propaganda, I decided that 3 bars high for the front and the back would get the job done.

NOTE: For the back side, I wanted the edges to be longer for mounting later

Make pencil lines for the cuts for the next two pieces, observing the note above, leaving 3 bars spacing for each. 

Cut your front a back piece and set aside.

Step 4: Side Braces

Line up  the bottom piece and your scrap board for the side  brace, and mark the width of the bottom piece on the scrap board.

Using a straight edge, extend the line across the scrap board.

Grab your saw, and chop off the first side edge.

For the second side, i just traced the side of the first cut side brace.

Step 5: Marking Drill Hole Locations

I assembled the planter on the work bench to check to make sure it went together nicely.

With it sitting there, I marked the locations for where I wanted the screws.  3 bars high, 3 screws per side.

After I marked all the holes, I fell the planter and grabbed my drill w/bit.  I didn't try to sink the pre-drilled holes all the way into the scrap, just through the side of the crib pieces to help avoid splitting the boards during final assembly.

Step 6: Final Assembly

For the final assembly, I clamped the front piece to the side braces and sunk the screws.

Next I flipped it over and attached the back piece.

Lastly, I turned the planter upside down and attached the bottom.  I did decide here that I should add a screw through the front and back side into the bottom piece for added strength.

Once assembled,  I predrilled the holes to mount it to my fence.

Step 7: Mount the Planter

Using deck screws, I mounted the planter through the fence board and into the cross board 2x4.

Step 8: Milk Jug Choppin

Note: you want the planter mounted before you start slipping your plants into these milk jugs

Using the utility knife, I cut the bottoms of the 4 milk jugs off.

Step 9: Upside Down Plant Fun

I remembered reading a comment on getting your plants through the necks/mounths of bottles on another instructable:

" I wrapped the plant in wax paper and pulled the paper thru the neck and it worked great. Pull on the wax paper, not the plant"

Something else I read, there can be a lot of evaporation from these jugs, so monitor the moisture of the soil and water regularly

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    I'm assuming the Moosehead beer is MANDATORY and the other stuff is all optional.



    11 years ago on Introduction

    I would be concerned about the deterioration of the milk jugs. Do you paint them? They don't last too long when exposed to UV light! Other than that, it is a great idea.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    you could paint them or cover them some how, but around our house there seems to be a weekly supply of them. after a season, i toss the dirt/soil into the compost pile, and the milk jugs into the recycling bin with the intention of reusing another batch in the spring.

    cheers, and thanks for viewing


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I worked all spring on a viable container for my "upside down" tomato plants. I had seen people us old 2 and 3 L soda bottles, but I never thought of using an old milk jug. Good Idea on this one. One thing you could do is just fill the jug full of dirt and plant the seed on the top, then when it was large enough, just flip it over and make a hole for the water. A smaller hole in the top would mean less water loss. Top marks for this one.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    nice idea. You do have to hope that your seedling behaves and grows into a nice plant, but with some luck that would work. I did keep the bottoms i cut off and placed them back on the tops to cover the exposed dirt, allowing air in but hopefully helping prevent any additional evaporation.