Here she is! Drumroll pleeeaaaase....
Here is my supply list:
3 8ft lengths of 2x2s
3 to 4 8ft lengths of 1x4s
4 cedar fence pickets
outdoor paint or stain
nail gun and compressor
Miter saw (or circular saw)
Gold spray paint for the legs
I started by cutting the wood on my miter saw. In the picture below, you see enough pieces for two planters. I made two of them at once. One for either side of my front door.
For one planter, you need to cut 4 2x2s to 30 inches long. These are each of your legs. You can customize how long the legs are on yours, or how tall you want it to be. This is just what I did. Then you need 8 1x4s cut to 15 inches long. These will make up your basic frame.
I used an envelope as my marker and marked off the same distance down from the top on all four legs. I wanted to have a little bit of the side sticking up above the top edge, just because I like the way it looks.
I used my nail gun and nailed in through the side of the 2x2 into the end of the 1x4 at the marked spot, so they would both be equidistant from the top. Check for level and make sure all of your angles are square.
I measured down 14.5 inches on each piece and added a second 1x4 in the same way with my nailer.
Let me tell you....you really want a right angle clamp. It was a pain trying to get these nailed together while keeping it all square. My technique (without a fancy clamp) is always to shoot in one nail so it's held together, but can still wiggle around....then get it in the right place, and then add another nail to secure it....and then add in 15 more nails because I always over do it with the nails. Make two of these "frames." (or four if you are making two planters like you see below). Also, make sure you check for square on each right angle, but also check by making sure the measurements from one corner to the opposite diagonal corner match each other on each side. That way you know you have a perfect square.
Now add two more 1x4s to each side in the same manner as before.
It was major over-kill with the nails.
Use the 1x4s to connect the two square pieces you made at both the top and bottom. Make sure you check for square again.
You will get a piece that looks like this. Now, at this point mine was a bit wobbly. It's because we used nails and not screws. If you want this thing to be super crazy sturdy, use screws...but screws take a lot of effort and I'm building a planter, not a playground for my children to play on....so I used nails! I did, however sure it up a lot on the inside, so it is in fact very sturdy....you'll see below...
Next I cut my cedar fence planks. These are cut at 20 inches long. I did three for each side of my box. You really could just go for a solid plywood for this part. I think it would be a little more streamline, but these babies were less than a dollar for one long plank, and I was going for inexpensive.
Laying them out, so you can see how they fit.
I held the plank underneath the 1x4 (which is what I'm nailing into in this picture) and secured it in place behind the 1x4 on the inside of the box.
One side done.
I continued around until all sides were done.
Looks kind of pretty already....but won't hold any dirt like this...
Here's a problem to deal with....your nails will be waaay too long, so they will be sticking out all over the place on the inside. To keep myself from becoming impaled, I just went through and bent them all flat with a hammer. When I finished the entire thing, I went ahead and removed the ones you could see by bending it back and forth until they snapped with some needle nose pliers.....but there was no point in doing that for all of them, especially not the ones way down on the bottom that you'll never see.
Here is where we sure it up. Hold up a 2x2 against the inside corner of your planter and measure to fit the length from the top to the bottom. Go cut four equal pieces.
nail it in from the front on both sides. I nailed it through the top and bottom 1x4s and also all along the cedar planks on both sides as well.
Repeat for all four sides. This makes it much more sturdy.
Now you want to add something for your plants to sit on. I went ahead and made mine very shallow. I knew that I was going to put some small flowers in here, so I didn't make it very deep. I do have plans, however, to put some shrubs in here in the future, so when I do that, I'll add a lower tier, so I can have the option of switching depths.
Measure the gap between 2x2s and cut a piece of scrap wood to fit. I had some 1x2s laying around, so I used those. Nail it in from the front.
Go all the way around, making sure it is the same distance from the top all the way around.
Next I used some leftovers from my cedar fence pickets to make slats to go across for the plants to sit on. You want it to be slats and not a solid piece of wood, so that water can get through easily.
Next we have to cover up the gaps on the sides. I cut more pieces of 1x4 into 14.5 lengths (measure the distance on your piece). I needed 8 pieces.
This was a little tricky. The 1x4s just barely covered the gap, so I had to nail them in at an angle (outward angle...the picture is misleading...looks like I'm going inward. I was pretending to nail, since I was holding a camera in my hand) and I had to stay at the very edge.
Again...you have to bend all of the nails that poked through down with a hammer.
And she's done! Now she just needs some make up and a pretty dress ;)
I sanded it down all over first and then I gave it a quick coat of Color Place outdoor white paint in a gloss finish before doing any repairing of holes or anything. I always throw on a coat of paint first. I tend to skip the priming step unless I really really need to, because who wants to buy another material if you don't have to. I always start out with a coat of paint because paint will actually cover a lot of the little tiny nail holes and things. It really does save me some time when I do paint first.
I filled all of my holes with this Dry Dex wood filler. It is for indoor or outdoor use and I love how it goes on pink and dries white. Super useful for those of us who are impatient and want things to dry as fast as possible. (and yes, I used a butter knife...I have no excuse, I have putty knives....I'm just slack)
Next I used regular latex caulk along all of the cracks and then I sanded it all down again and added a second coat of paint.
The final thing, which I took pictures of, but have since LOST (boo!) was painting the ends of the legs gold. This was a last second decision, so in hind-sight, I would have spray painted the tips of the legs gold first, then taped off the edge of the gold while I was painting it white....if you do this project, do it that way. What I ended up doing was putting the entire thing upside down into a contractor garbage bag and taping off one leg at a time with garbage bag protecting all of the rest of it and spraying it that way. It was a ridiculous mess...but it worked. I would just totally recommend doing it the other way, though....way easier.
Here she is....All finished!
To plant the flowers, I stapled several layers of newspaper on top of the slats and then filled with dirt. The newspaper will probably only last about as long as these flowers, and we'll most likely replace it with gardening fabric, but it worked in a pinch. The water drains through very well....as you can see in the picture above.
The price breakdown is as follows:
3 2x2s = $3
4 1x4s = $4
4 cedar fence pickets 1.50
paint, spackle, sandpaper, caulk, nail gun, nails, gold spraypaint = already owned
Total spent = 8.50 (boo-ya!)
I also got a great deal on the flowers I paid 9 bucks for all of it! I'd say it was totally worth all of the work for a gorgeous planter with flowers for under 20 bucks! It makes me so happy just walking up to my front porch now. I'm ready for summer now.
This is the first step of a complete front porch makeover, so stay tuned for that coming up!