Low-Cost Planters from Everyday Objects

Using your imagination, a few basic tools, and recycled materials, you can create stylish containers similar to those found in trendy garden stores.
Covered Buckets

What You Need:

Covered Buckets

  • 1 metal or plastic bucket
  • 1 sheet of 1/4- or 1/2-inch plywood
  • Wood preservative
  • Wood glue
  • Handful of 1/2-inch screws
  • Paper-thin sheets of bark (available at crafts stores) or thin branches, cut into 4-inch lengths (for base)
  • Nails
  • 12 x 36-inch piece of chicken wire
  • 1 sheet or bag of moss (available at garden centers)
  • Cable staples
  • Thin twigs about 32 inches long
  • Twine
  • 5 thick split branches about 11 inches long (for sides)


Photo 1

1. Clean and dry the bucket if necessary. Using a nail set and hammer, punch holes into the base of the bucket for drainage (photo 1). Wearing protective goggles, cut circles from plywood for the base using a jigsaw. The size and number of circles you cut depends on the style of base you wish to create; our largest circle is 1 inch larger in diameter than our bucket, and our small circles are half the diameter of our bucket. Sand circles and brush with wood preservative.

Photo 2

2. Stack the circles from smallest on top to largest on the bottom to create the tiered base (photo 2). Glue pieces together. Drill or punch a hole into the plywood bucket base, then screw the bucket to the tiered base. (Our tall base is about 7 inches high). Remove the bucket handle using a handsaw or wire cutters. Drill holes along the bucket top (you will later use these to attach the branch "wreath" to the top of the bucket). Decorate the shank of the base with thin strips of bark or twigs, gluing or nailing respectively.

Photo 3

3. Lay out the chicken wire until flat. Apply moss with the smooth side facing down. Place the bucket on top of the moss (photo 3). Tuck the excess chicken wire around the top and bottom edges of the bucket. Secure chicken wire to bucket with cable staples.

4. Create a wreath the size of the bucket top from thin twigs or another material. Wrap the bundled twigs with twine to keep them in place. Run twine through the holes at the top of the bucket to secure the wreath; tie ends of twine together to secure.

Photo 4

5. Decorate the body of the bucket with the five thick branches evenly spaced around the bucket (photo 4). Fasten them to the chicken wire and moss using three small screws inserted in each branch from the inside of the bucket.

Continued on page 2:  6 More Projects to Try