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Your child will develop hand-to-eye co-ordination, learn manual skills, grow in self confidence, find expression for their natural creativity, develop problem solving skills, develop a greater appreciation for trees, reduce their dependence on electronic entertainment, build muscle strength, increase dexterity with their hands, become handy around the house in future years, and may even develop a lifelong passion for woodworking.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Planter boxes - a great project for kids.

I confess. As a committed wood recycler, I can always see lots of potential in discarded wooden packing crates, pallets, other timber needing to be rescued from the waste stream.Consequently I will often stop to pick up some treasures from the side of the road or the verge in front of an industrial unit.

Not far from where I live, there is a big glazing business. They import glass from several countries, and the crates the sheets come in get stacked up alongside the building until the pile gets too big. When it gets big, the pile is gathered up and it is all taken off  to landfill. A crazy waste. I have permission to raid the pile as much as I want. The best stuff in the pile is the glazing boxes.
That's a glazing box, about 2.5m long, with foam rubber padding and steel strapping.
This stuff makes great projects - or you can pull them apart to get the timber from them, which is what I tend to do with them most of the time. However, there is one project to which they are ideally suited - making garden planter boxes.
A lousy picture, but the IPSM 15 Mark tells us the pine packaging was debarked and heat treated in Indonesia.
How to make the planter boxes from the glazing boxes.

1. The tools and things you'll need:
  • Tin snips, to remove any metal strapping.
  • 50mm (2") galvanised nails, for connecting new ends and feet.
  • Hammer, for driving the nails.
  • Pencil, for marking where to apply the saw cuts.
  • Hand saw, for cutting the glazing box into sections.
  • some builders plastic, to line the inside of the planter box.
  • a brace and bit or hand drill, to drill some drainage holes in the base of the planter box.
  • a few scraps of pine, to make any new ends and the feet.

2. Start out by dividing the long glazing box into sections (planter box lengths) and mark where to cut the box. I commonly cut these 2.5m boxes into 3 sections. The two ends will just need one end added each, the centre section will need two ends added. Use a hand saw to make the cuts right through the glazing box.
Use a panel saw to cut the glazing box into the planter box sections.
3. Cut some pieces from scrap to make the new ends as needed. Use the nails to fix the ends in place.
Nailing on an end.
4. From the scrap, cut some feet and nail these in place, to lift the box off the ground. This will aid drainage and help stop the base from rotting.
Nailing the feet onto the base of the planter box. 
5. Drill a couple of holes in the bottom for drainage.
Here a brace and bit being used to drill a couple of 3/8" holes.
6. Line the insides of the planter box with builders plastic or similar. Use a nail or screwdriver to poke holes in the plastic where the drainage holes are in the wood below. Your planter box is now ready for planting - unless you are going to paint it first!

One planter box, completed and ready to fill with soil.
7. Fill the planter box with nice soil, and plant out with seeds or seedlings.

Soil in and seedlings planted.
8. Place the planter box in a suitable location. Here in Perth, Western Australia, termites will enjoy the pine planter box. Placing on a concrete path, verandah or porch will help slow down the termites. Placing the planter box directly on the soil in the garden may prove too tempting for them! Don't for get to water regularly and apply some worm castings or chook poo to give the plants a boost.

A few weeks later, and the family can keep harvesting goodies from the planter box!
It's amazing how much food can be grown in a planter box like this. If you plant leafy vegetables, like lettuce, bok choy, silver beet, etc, you can continually harvest leaves as you need them from the plants, and they will keep producing for many weeks or even months.

Kids will love harvesting food from the plants they have planted in the planter boxes they have made themselves!

All you need is a few very basic tools and materials and a glazing box. Raid your local glazier now!


  1. This looks easy to make! It would be nice to have a recycled planter box. Anyway, it is good to know that you used tin snips to remove the metal strapping because it has sharp edges and are quite difficult to remove. Although I think you could use them for the planter boxes also to keep it sturdy and secured.

    Thelma Bowman

    This woodworking book contains a great deal of details about wood working. The book also shows several designs and explanations on the materials useful for different woodworking processes and the directions on completing different processes properly. In other words, I`m happy using this book, specially in the procedure of understading about wood working.?