I love herbs and this time of year is the perfect for buying small pots of herbs at your local garden supply stores. For Mother’s Day I built my Mother a simply DIY wood herb garden planter box out of 1×5 inch lumber scraps. I found these super sweet distressed galvanized buckets (or pots as we called in these parts) on Amazon. These seemed perfect for putting the herbs in. And I built the DIY wood herb garden planter box around the size of these pots. This simple DIY wood herb garden planter box turned out so sweet so I want to share it with you.
In this post I’ll tell you how I built the wood garden box including the dimensions. And I’ll also tell you where to find these cute galvanized distressed pots that were the perfect size for the herb garden! I will also give you the colors of the stain I use and talk about how to stain raw wood. And to add an even more special touch I added a stenciled design using a Folk Art stencil and chalk mineral paints by Dixie Belle. To top off the design I found cute hardware at Hobby Lobby to add a really special touch to the sides of the DIY herb garden planter box.
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- Small Blue Galvanized Distressed Vintage Garden Buckets (pots for planting the herbs in) – on Amazon
- cheap gravel or rocks to place in bottom of the buckets for drainage – I found mine at Dollar Tree (so cheap!)
- 1 x 5 Lumber Boards – I use common whitewood boards
- Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner (oil-based) – I had Behr brand on hand but you can other brands like General Finishes Pre-Stain Oil-Based Wood Conditioner from Amazon work great too
- Minwax Polyshades Stain in Mission Oak – oh my gosh this color is perfect! Love it!
- Dixie Belle Gator Hide Poly Topcoat– provides water proofing to your project
- Hardware – two handles – I found these cute Rope Handles from Hobby Lobby but a great alternative would be these adorable Rope Ring Pulls from Amazon!
Before we get into the steps. You can find the video here showing how I did the stencil on this project. The video is available on my YouTube here. It is not the best video but you can here my country accent for sure!
How To Build The DIY Wooden Herb Planter Box
Step 1: Plant The Herbs In The Metal Pots
I used four herb plants, all purchased at the Home Depot garden center. And I just love these sweet galvanized blue metal buckets I found on Amazon to use for the pots. This blue is like a light turquoise greenish blue, very pretty and springy.
I placed a small amount of the cheap river rocks or gravel into the bottom of each metal pot to allow for drainage. Next I placed a small amount of potting soil. Following that, I placed one herb plant in each metal pot and gave the plants a little water.
Step 2: Cut the Wood Pieces
I used 1×5 common whitewood lumber. These First I lay down one of the boards flat and placed the herb pots across those to see what length I needed the base or bottom board to be. I cut the base or bottom board to a length of 19 3/4“
One thing to note about common pre-cut lumber is that a 1×5 is actually 3/4 x 4 1/2 size. I know that is crazy but that’s the way it goes! You can use a hand saw or miter box or even a circular saw to cut the wood. But I use my Dewalt Miter Saw to do these simple cross cuts.
Next I cut the wood for the 2 long sides, which I cut to 19 3/4′ length each.
Lastly I cut the wood for the 2 end pieces or 2 short sides, which were 6 1/2″ inches each.
The height of the herb box was 4 1/2” which is the width of a 1×5 board. But this worked perfectly for those adorable galvanized blue metal buckets that I used for the herb plants. I had intended for the tops of the pots to show, basically because I wanted to show off that pretty distressed blue color of the pots.
Step 3: Attach the Wood Pieces To Build The Herb Box
Okay, so here you can use basic wood screws and a drill. I love my Ryobi 18V One+ Drill. Ryobi tools are my favorite, especially with the rechargeable batteries and cordless features. Or if you prefer you can use a brad nailer and wood glue. I have the Ryobi 18V One+ Brad Nailer and I love this thing. But I didn’t use it for this project.
I recommend you consider using a Kreg Jig and Pocket Hole Screws to attach the pieces of the box. This creates a very sturdy joint and frankly Kreg Jigs are just so fun to use. There are several versions of Kreg Jig to choose from. I use the Kreg K4, but they have newer models available. Adding wood glue also makes these joints even more secure. I prefer Gorilla Wood Glue and I love my GluBot dispenser. The GluBot dispenser allows you to place the glue neatly in a fine or thick line, giving you much more control of where the glue goes. And the glue tips don’t seem to get clogged!
You will also need Pocket Hole Screws appropriately sized for the boards you are using, and a drill. These pocket hole screws are made by Kreg for their jigs. For a 1 inch board (which is really 3/4 inches) you will need to use 1 1/4 pocket hole screws. There is a handy chart that comes with your Kreg Jig will tell you what size screw to use. Or you can refer to this information from kregtool.com.
Step 4: Sand & Stain The Herb Box
Use a sanding pad to sand the rough edges of the boards. Usually starting with an 80–100 grit works and then do a quick finish sand if need with a fine 220 grit to smooth out everything. Once sanded to desired smoothness then you can clean it with damp cloth to remove any sanding dust.
Next is the fun part of staining the boards. I chose to use Minwax PolyShades in Mission Oak, which is a cool product because it is a stain and polyacrylic sealer in one. So it can be a one-step product. However, I opted to use a topcoat also. Before applying the PolyShades I used a pre-stain conditioner by Behr which I found at Home Depot.
The PolyShades was super easy to apply and goes on nicely. The container suggested applying it with the brush-on method. So that is the method I would also suggest. It dries really quickly. Another nice feature of the Minwax PolyShades is that the depth of color is buildable. You can apply 2-3 coats of the stain for a deeper color. I used 2 coats of the stain on my DIY wooden herb planter box.
Step 5: Apply The Stencil
For this project, I found the most perfect stencil! This is a silk screen stencil by Folk Art that I found at my local Michael’s store. You can apply the stencil as a whole sheet but I cut apart the stencil to apply in sections. I’ll attach a little video below on how I applied the stencil. I like to use foam stencil daubers (pouncers) to apply the chalk mineral paint to the stencil. Painter’s tape works well to hold the stencil in place before painting. I chose to use Dixie Belle Vintage Duck Egg, Cotton and Kudzu for the stenciling.
The most important tip I can give you about doing a stencil is to go very light with the paint. The real key is to avoid getting too much paint on your applicator. I like to dip the tip of the dauber into the paint and then dab excess off onto a paper towel or paper plate. You can always add more paint but if you get too much on it’s harder to undo it. I did get too much on and you can see this in my finished project.
Step 6: Apply A Protective Topcoat
After the stenciling was done and dry I applied the poly topcoat. I chose to use Dixie Belle Gator Hide. Dixie Belle Gator Hide is good topcoat choice for this project because it is very protective against water damage. I applied 3 coats of Gator Hide, also using a brush to apply. The Gator Hide dries quickly and is a nice matte finish.
I also like to use General Finishes topcoats for my projects. But more often than not, I reach for Dixie Belle products. And I really like Dixie Belle Clear Coat in Satin and Dixie Belle Gator Hide the best.
Step 7: Attach The Handles/Hardware of Choice
When it comes to hardware the choices are endless honestly. For this herb box most handle styles or pulls would work well. But when I was at Hobby Lobby I found these sweet natural rope style pulls. They really seemed perfect for this project. I did have a bit of a hard time attaching the pulls. I ended up using a drill bit and my Ryobi drill to create a small hole and then screwed the hardware into that. The screw was a longer length than the depth of the wood so they did stick out a bit on the inside of the box but the tops of the galvanized herb planter pots covered the screw ends up. So it worked out fine!
If you are looking for a simple DIY woodworking project and a cute gift idea, this DIY Wood Herb Planter Box idea is perfect! I love doing simple DIY woodworking projects and I hope to be posting a few more on the blog soon. As always though I would appreciate your feedback on what types of projects you enjoy reading about. As well, I’d love to know what types of projects you’d like to see more of in the future! Feel free to message me on Instagram.
If we aren’t friends on social you can find me on Instagram here, and here on Facebook. I also try to keep updating projects on Pinterest. So, let’s connect there and I’m always open to any feedback or ideas you have!
If you’d like some basic info on chalk painting you can find it here.
I also have a few fun posts about using Dixie Belle Patina Paints if that is your jam.
And, you’ll find some basic info on how to gel stain tabletops in this post.
Thanks for hanging out with me a little bit and I hope you like this project as much as I do!