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How to Build a Wooden Planter Box

This stripped-down window planter can be built in less than an hour, yet the simplicity of the design resists rot far better than traditional window boxes.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Draw the circles, then cut

You can put together this simple window planter in less an hour. For each planter, you'll need three 6-in. clay pots, 3 ft. each of 1x10 and 1x3, and 2 ft. of 2x8.

Cut the 1x10 and 1x3 to length (see photos for dimensions). Pot diameters vary, so size the holes by scribing and cutting out a 6-in. circle from cardboard to ensure that the pot will rest on its rim (Photo 1). Keep testing until you find the size. Then lay out and cut the openings.

Use a 5-gallon pail lid to scribe the bracket curves (Photo 2). Make sure the grain runs parallel to the shelf for strength. Smooth off the rough edges and paint the parts before assembly—especially if you want the two-tone look. Then screw the parts together with 2-in. exterior screws.

Mount the shelf to the wall by screwing through the hanging strip into the wall framing.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Miter saw
    • Cordless drill
    • 4-in-1 screwdriver
    • Countersink drill bit
    • Level
    • Drill bit set
    • Jigsaw

You'll also need a compass, along with the top of a 5-gallon bucket as a template for the brackets.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • 1 x 10
    • 1 x 3
    • 2 x 8
    • 6-in. clay pots
    • 2-in. exterior screws
    • 3-in. exterior screws (for attaching to the house)

Comments from DIY Community Members

Share what's on your mind and see what other DIYers are thinking about.

1 - 7 of 7 comments
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September 16, 11:17 AM [GMT -5]

I haven't actually built this yet, but I'm so looking forward to building several. What a fabulous idea. Right now, I've got an old wooden box outside my kitchen window, which is full of dying pansies. I've been trying to figure out how to switch out the plants gracefully, but delaying because I don't think they'll last very long now that it's cooling off so much. NEXT year, I'll have these up and I can just switch the whole pot when the old flowers fade. Bring longer-living plants inside when the weather cools (Zone 8 here). Rotate plants in and out in seconds. Who the heck CARES what they call the thing? lol

May 26, 1:18 PM [GMT -5]

Really? People complaining about what this project is called? Why does that even matter? You can look at the photo and see it is not a box but, who cares? It is an easy to do project and that is what should matter, not what it is called!!

April 06, 1:06 PM [GMT -5]

The title should have been: "How to Build a Wooden Planter Shelf"....It is simple, nice, I like it, maybe better than a box anyway! Easier to keep clean!

March 29, 12:54 PM [GMT -5]

I understand what you guys are saying, but it does not say it is a window box its says an alternative to window box.

September 01, 2:57 PM [GMT -5]

I'm with deaconsbench - the title is misleading.

May 08, 10:29 PM [GMT -5]

I'm curious as to why a shelf would be called a box. A rather misleading title to this 'how-to', wouldn't you agree?.

June 20, 10:03 AM [GMT -5]

What is the best way to attach this to a house with vinyl siding?

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