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Cedar Planters for less than $20!

August 8, 2012 |
posted by Ana White
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Build cedar planters for less than $20! Free easy step by step plans from Ana-White.com

Cedar Planters for less than $20!

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Projects built from this plan. Thank you for submitting brag posts, it's appreciated by all!

About Project

Author Notes: 

I've been wanting a few cedar planters for the front of my house, and had some leftover cedar fence pickets to use up. This was a quick and easy project, and I absolutely love how it turned out! Every time I come home, I admire my planters!

And the best part is, they are so inexpensive to make! For the cost of a store bought planter, you could line your driveway with DIY cedar planters! I estimate this project will cost around $20 to build using cedar fence pickets and whitewood boards on the trim.

($3) 2 - 1x3 @ 8 feet long
($1) 1 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
($6) 3 - 5 1/2" wide x 72" long cedar fence pickets
($2) 1 - 2x2 @ 8 feet long
$8 leftover for screws and glue

Good luck building! Please share your photos when done, I can't wait to see your planters!

Dimensions

Dimensions: 
Cedar Planters for less than $20!
Dimensions: 
Dimensions shown above.

Materials and Tools

Shopping List: 

2 - 1x3 @ 8 feet long
1 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
3 - 5 1/2" wide x 72" long cedar fence pickets
1 - 2x2 @ 8 feet long
2 1/2" exterior pocket hole screws
1 1/4" exterior screws or galvanized nails
exterior wood glue

Tools: 
measuring tape
square
pencil
safety glasses
hearing protection
drill
circular saw
nailer
sander

Cut List

Cut List: 

10 - 1x3 @ 17"
5 - 1x2 @ 17"
4 - 2x2 @ 23 3/4"
12 - cedar fence pickets @ 17 3/4" long (shortened by 1/4" from diagrams to allow for saw blade width and dog eared end)

General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

Step 1

Cedar Planters for less than $20!

Start by first building your four panels. I sized this plan to allow for an 1/8" gap between the cedar pickets as they will shrink/expand with moisture and let's just face it - the cedar fence pickets are not going to be perfect! I used 1 1/4" galvanized nails and exterior glue from the insides.

Step 2

Cedar Planters for less than $20!

On all four of your panels, drill 2 - 1 1/2" pocket holes on the inside, behind each 1x3 on the ends. This will put screws through the fence pickets, 1x3s and then into your legs. Join two of the panels to the legs as shown in diagram.

Step 3

Cedar Planters for less than $20!

And then add the remaining two panels to create your planters. Adjust for square.

Step 4

Cedar Planters for less than $20!

Now don't think that this whole planter needs to be filled with dirt!!! Unless you are planning on harvesting potatoes in there! I put my bottom 6" down from the top to keep the planter lighter and use less dirt. Start by attaching cleats to sides at desired height.

Step 5

Cedar Planters for less than $20!

And then lay the remaining scrap boards down to create a bottom for either gardener's cloth or just set a plastic planter on top. Done deal!

Finishing Instructions

Preparation Instructions: 
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth. It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.

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Neat project Ana. These will

Neat project Ana. These will tie in nicely with my short 30" cedar fence around my front porch I just built. I even have 16" cedar boards leftover from my cuts.

Error: Cutlist: 10 - 1x3 @ 17" (You've listed 1x8)

Thanks again!

posted by Andrew Malizia (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-08-08 15:07
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Ana White's picture

Thanks for the catch!!! Will

Thanks for the catch!!! Will fix now. Thank you!

posted by Ana White | on Wed, 2012-08-08 17:03

Alas...

...Cedar Fence Pickets don't seem to exist in my part of the country! I have a friend that works for Blue and he says they don't actually carry cedar in this region (central PA) in anything but pre-fab fence sections and corner posts. :-(

Guess I'll have to go the more expensive independent store cedar board route for my planters and raised beds.

posted by Kaila (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-08-08 15:16
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orangesugar's picture

Neither orange nor blue carry

Neither orange nor blue carry cedar fence pickets in my area (CT), I've looked multiple times.

posted by orangesugar | on Thu, 2012-08-09 10:24
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vic b's picture

cute

cute

posted by vic b | on Thu, 2012-08-09 14:44
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Back Woods Wood Worker's picture

Problem

I have a small problem. I have my 1/8" gap on all sides like the plans say, but as soon as I put my PH screws in the gap goes away. That even after I glued it and nailed it. So my gaps in the middle are no longer 1/8". But it still looks good even with the bigger gap, but I'll post some pictures as soon as I finish it.

posted by Back Woods Wood... | on Wed, 2012-10-31 00:08

Planter Cost

I absolutely love your website. I'm so excited to get started on a few of your plans. You're any inspiration. Is the budget or $20 the cost per planter?

Continued blessings,
Monique

posted by Monique (not verified) | on Sat, 2012-12-15 20:21

Nails to long

I just wanted to let people know that when I built this planter box I used the 1 1/4" exterior galvanized nails with glue to fasten the cedar planks to the 1X3. The issue I had is that the very tips of the nails would poke through the font of the 1X3. Since this was my first build ever, at first I thought "SHOOT I messed up already and its only the first panel". But after taking a closer look at the nail length I discovered the problem. I would recommend using a slightly shorter nail/screw. When I was building my box it was late in the evening so I couldn't just run down and buy new nails so I was forced to think outside of the box. I did some modifications to my nails by using my tin snips to cut the very tips off each nail. Probably a stupid idea but it worked! Took about 5 minutes to cut all the nails I needed. Thanks Ana for all the plans, video, and encouragement you proved. I'm looking forward to making more saw dust and bending a lot more nails in the near future.

posted by Nail Bender (not verified) | on Sun, 2013-01-20 01:48
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mybartmart's picture

planter trouble

Well for me the 1/8th of an inch over on each end didn't work when attaching the 2x2's it made them buckle a bit inward. I think next time I would just make it flush. They are very sturdy when done and look great in different finishes.

posted by mybartmart | on Sun, 2013-04-07 15:15

Pocket Holes

Is it really necessary to use pocket holes? I don't have the jig thingy, and I was wondering if there is another way instead of the pocket holes?
Linda

posted by Lchin | on Thu, 2014-04-17 15:51
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claydowling's picture

Dowels

It's possible to use dowels, if you put a reference mark on each surface where the dowel goes, and build a custom drilling jig. I'm not 100% sure that's a practical option for the beginner though, because you probably want a drill press to create the jig. You also have to remember that dowels are never the size stated on the package. You have to select a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the dowels as measured by holding them up to each other.

If you want to see what I'm talking about though, google "Krenov dowel drilling jig." It's a pretty simple tool you build yourself, and the joint it creates is really strong.

posted by claydowling | on Fri, 2014-04-18 14:38

PHOles

Thanks. I went ahead and bought the least expensive gadget for the pocket holes. So kind of you to suggest anything though!

posted by Lchin | on Fri, 2014-04-18 15:12

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