I’ve been enjoying all the great ideas for winter planters, holiday flower arrangements and wreaths that have been popping up lately. When we were down in Kalispell two weeks ago, I noticed cute barn wood planters all over the antique shops, stuffed with juniper branches. Some were long and low, some tapered and carved, but they all had one thing in common: they were ridiculously overpriced. I said to Chris, “I bet we could throw one of those together in less than an hour.”
And this morning we tried. And got two done in less than an hour.
Of course, Chris is a confident woodworker, and we have loads of old fence board just laying around. But it’s still an easy project for anyone to try.
Choose wood that has aged nicely, but be sure it isn’t so aged that it is splitting. Interesting knots or grain are a bonus. For easy building, we used plain old but joints, and made the base the width of our board, and the height the same. For the end pieces, we measured the width of our board and added the thickness of each side piece. Use a coloured pencil to mark your measurements–regular pencil disappears on barn wood.
Cut your board into the lengths you want. A mitre or table saw will give you nice straight cuts, but if you're careful, a jigsaw or circular saw will work as well.
If you want handles, use a wood boring bit (or the largest drill bit you have) to make two parallel holes on the sides.
Once you have your holes, use a jigsaw to cut out the handle shape.
Use good wood glue (carpenter's glue) on each joint. This is what really holds it together.
After you glue the joints, nail them together. We used a brad nailer, but you could use chunky-headed roofing nails to add some detail.
Chris insisted on giving the edges all a quick router. It took longer to change the bit than to do everything else together, but I must admit, it really takes it up a notch.
If you intend to use live plants, you will want to be sure to build your planter to fit your container. I chose to do a dry arrangement, but 3 standard 5 inch pots (or old sour cream containers!) will fit just right when I decide to change it.
First one done! I'll add some of those stick-on felt circles from the hardware store so it doesn't scratch the table or floor.
Here’s what I did with one of mine. I did resort to using some artificial flowers; it’s protected in the porch and I don’t want to assault my junipers or dogwoods until they get a little bigger.