How To Make an Indoor Planter Box

Updated: May 04, 2023

Create a calming space with this stylish planter.

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Two days






Being surrounded by greenery relieves stress and brightens your mood. Set in this custom-size planter, foliage can brighten your decor too. Why not add one to your bathroom, bedroom or any living space? Fitted with pots, it lets you easily change out your plants whenever you’d like.

Tools Required

  • Basic carpentry tools
  • Brad Nailer
  • Jigsaw
  • Orbital sander
  • Router
  • Table saw or Circular saw

Materials Required

  • 1/4" staples
  • 1x2 8' poplar board
  • 3 mil black plastic
  • 3/4-in. brad nails
  • 4' x 8' x 1/2" Baltic birch
  • 8' poplar base cap
  • Instant-grab construction adhesive
  • Oil-based topcoat
  • water-based polyurethane
  • White gel stain
  • Wood glue

Project step-by-step (13)

Step 1

Pre-finish sheet goods

  • It’s faster to pre-finish a 4 x 8-ft. sheet than to do several small parts, and the finish is more consistent.
  • After whitewashing the Baltic birch with white gel stain, I top-coated with a water-based polyurethane. Unlike an oil-based finish, it won’t yellow over time.

Pre-finish sheet goodsFamily Handyman

Step 2

Profile the edges of the trim cap

  • Using a router, profile the nose of the cap.
  • For this project I used a 3/8-in. round-over bit to create a simple, classic line.
  • Sand all the parts to 180 grit.

Profiling the edge of cap trimFamily Handyman

Step 3

Stain trim to match

  • Poplar is a good choice for the trim on this planter box—it’s readily available and works easily.
  • To color-match the luxury vinyl flooring used for the bathroom tub deck, I started with a homemade iron oxide stain, followed by amber shellac.

Staining trim partsFamily Handyman

Step 4

Apply finish to the trim boards

  • Once all the trim boards are stained, apply two coats of clear finish.
  • For the final step in my color-matching process, I chose an oil-based topcoat because it will imbue a slight yellow tone.

Stain all trim at the same timeFamily Handyman

Step 5

Assemble the planter box

  • You could use pocket holes and screws for this job, but the plywood end grain would show on the corners of the box.
  • With a lock miter joint, you can get a continuous grain pattern as well as a strong glue joint.
    • PRO TIP: This method requires a router table and a lock miter bit—and some patience. But this is a great joinery method to learn for this and other projects.

Assembling the planter boxFamily Handyman

Step 6

Cut holes in planter base

  • Using a jigsaw, cut three evenly spaced holes in the planter base.
  • Size them according to your planter pots. Once the holes are cut, sand any rough edges and check the fit.
  • The planter pots should slide in right up to the rim.

Cutting holes with a jig sawFamily Handyman

Step 7

Attach the ledger

  • Position the ledger 1 in. down from the top. It will hold the planter base and you’ll staple the plastic liner to it in Step 9.
  • Using a combination square as a guide, I used instant-grab construction adhesive and 3/4-in. brad nails to fasten the ledger parts.

Attaching the ledgerFamily Handyman

Step 8

Attach the feet

  • Position the feet to raise the planter box off the ground about 1-1/4 in.
  • I used scrap wood from my shop and attached the feet with the instant-grab construction adhesive.

Attaching the feetFamily Handyman

Step 9

Line the box with plastic

  • This is an indoor planter box; line it with 3 mil plastic to prevent damage from overwatering.
  • Staple the plastic to the front ledge first, then the back, leaving plenty of slack – do the sides last.
  • Trim the excess with a utility knife.

Staple the plastic linerFamily Handyman

Step 10

Paint the interior and base

  • Because I planned to fill the top of the planter with black river rocks, I applied two coats of black oil-based paint to the base and inside edges of the box to make them less noticeable.
  • Paint the inside to match the rock you choose.

Painting the base blackFamily Handyman

Step 11

Attach the trim

  • Using construction adhesive and brad nails, attach the skirt trim pieces.
  • Do the cap first, then attach the upper and lower skirts.

Attaching the trimFamily Handyman

Step 12

Fill planter top with river rock

Filling the planter with river rockFamily Handyman

Step 13

Cutting List

Indoor Planter Box Materials List And Cutting ListFamily HandymanFamily Handyman

Planter Project Exploded ViewFamily Handyman