Monday 24 May 2021

Making a very simple planter from a pallet

My pallet planter is a project which had been on my to do list for far too long! This pallet was delivered along with our piano, which thanks to this blog post I can date back to February 2016. It was a nice pallet, made from new wood although a little splintery, and I wanted to make something cool but kept putting it off.  

Tutorial for upcycled painted pallet planter

I decided that this was the year that I would make something from it! I browsed Pinterest for ideas, but because all pallets are different shapes and sizes I found it difficult to find something that I could copy. I also tried to take the pallet apart but it needed a lot more strength than I have, so I needed to come up with something that would use the original shape of the pallet. After some success growing marigolds in old tin cans last year I thought that the dimensions of the pallet would be perfect for holding tin cans, and so I came up with the plan to build a simple pallet planter.

I'm not much of a woodworker, and I am rather lacking in tools. After looking at the pallet from all angles I decided that I could use a saw to chop it into two pieces and make both a small and large planter. So I chopped off the top, and started by working on the smaller half. I'm afraid I neglected to take a photo of the pallet before I hacked away at it, I think because I didn't really believe that the project would work!

Pallet cut into two pieces to make planters

I sanded the pallet down, then I painted it with two coats of a white emulsion paint that we had left over in the garage. I'm sure that it's not the correct paint to use for outdoor paintwork, and also not the correct paint to use on bare wood, but I was going for a sort of shabby chic look so I thought that I'd try it out. I found that although it was a rather glaring white to start with, after it had been outdoors for a few weeks the colour had faded and it was looking less bright, which I liked. It is open at the bottom so the tin cans rest on the floor, and it's a perfect size.

Small pallet planter painted white

Marigold plants in tin cans in a white painted pallet planter

Then there was a change in the weather and I didn't much feel like working outdoors in the cold, so my project became a little neglected. In the meantime I continued collecting tin cans (yes we eat a lot of passata) and planting them out with a variety of different marigolds. I planted marigolds in tin cans last year and found that they worked really well, so I'm hoping that they will do as well this year! Each row holds twelve cans, so I needed thirty-six cans filled with plants in total. 

Marigolds planted in tin cans

With warmer weather in the air I turned my attention to the larger half of the pallet. My problem was that although I could stand pots on the floor at the bottom, I needed something underneath to hold the cans on the upper layer. My problems were solved with a strip of wood that I found behind our summerhouse last year and had been using across a flowerbed to keep out the cats. I think it may have fallen off a trellis at one point. I nailed it in underneath the upper section and it makes a nice solid shelf.

Pallet planter with strip of wood to hold tin cans

Then I gave the pallet a good clean, and sanded it down as well as I could, before painting it with the white emulsion. It took me ages to paint - over an hour! But it looked good when it was all done. 

White painted pallet for planting

Then I tried it out in a few spots in the garden before settling on the final position by the fence at our side gate. I grew marigolds here last year so I know that they will grow well, it gets a good mix of sun and shade and it is sheltered from the wind. I can also see it easily from the kitchen window, where I seem to spend a lot of time. I've fixed it to the fence by looping some thin wire around the fence panels and pallet, and it seems a sturdy yet easily removable solution.

Pallet painted white for tin can flower pots

Finally I could fill the planter with my tin cans full of marigold and other plants that I've been growing. They've been getting a bit spindly as I've kept them inside for so long due to the cold weather, so hopefully they will bush out a bit!

Painted upcycled pallet with plants in the garden

I'm hoping that it won't be too long before I have some flowers, and then I can move the cans around a bit to make sure that I have a nice even spread of heights and colours.

Small simple pallet planted painted white with tin cans

I'm so pleased with my free pallet planters, and it wasn't nearly as much work as I was expecting!

In the autumn when the flowers have died I can empty out and recycle the tins. For next year I plan to start saving my tin cans earlier on, especially now that I know how many I'll need. I want to have a go at decorating them a bit more, maybe with some bright spray paints, stickers, fabric or with some Hama bead flower decorations. I'm hoping that it will last for a good few summers to come. Now I just have to stop myself looking out for more free pallets to hoard in the garage for years!

Upcycled pallet planter for the garden

1 comment:

  1. Great job. What a fab use of a pallet and the tin cans. I think I will start saving tin cans for next year. They look so pretty x


I love reading your comments!