Make a Rustic Window Box from Salvaged Metal

Turn a simple barnyard find into a sweet window box—it's that easy!

The mix of elements—galvanized pails, a calf bucket, a galvanized hen nester—gives this project its funky flair. The pails and hen nester all came from a farm, but the galvanized finish offers a contemporary appeal. If you don't have easy access to pails or a hen nester, simply customize the project using what you have on hand. Instead of a hen nester, for example, use a galvanized tray available at home improvement centers. Look for one about 36×12 inches with 2-inchtall sides, or make a tray out of plywood. Whatever type of tray you use, drill several 1/4-inch drainage holes in the bottom. Finish the window box by stocking the pails with flowers and planting succulents, such as hens-and-chicks, in the tray.

What You Need

  • Tape measure
  • Galvanized hen nester or other tray approximately 36×12 inches with 2-inch-tall sides
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • 3 galvanized shelf brackets to support a 12-inch-wide shelf
  • 2 1/2-inch wood screws (The type of mounting hardware might vary depending on your home's siding.)
  • 3/8×3/4-inch bolts with washers and nuts to fit
  • Burlap to cover bottom of tray
  • Potting soil
  • 2 galvanized pails
  • Galvanized calf bucket
  • Vintage outdoor faucet handle
  • Instant glue
  • Plants
  • Succulents

Step 1: Measure Tray

To start off your project, measure the length of the tray or hen nester. Mark the locations for the brackets on the siding.

Step 2: Pre-Drill Holes

With a drill, use the previously marked spots to pre-drill holes for the brackets. The bracket supporting each end of the shelf should be 3 inches from the edge of the tray.

Step 3: Attach Brackets

Using the drill, attach each bracket to the siding using three 2 1/2-inch wood screws.

Step 4: Attach Tray to Brackets

Place the hen nester or tray on the brackets and attach it to the brackets with bolts, washers, and nuts.

Step 5: Place Burlap

Blanket the bottom of the tray or nester with burlap to prevent the potting soil from washing out of the tray's mesh or drainage holes.

Step 6: Fill Tray with Soil

Cover the bottom of the tray with a 2-inch-thick layer of potting soil. Be sure to choose a quality potting mix (we suggest anything organic).

Learn how organic matter helps your soil!

Step 7: Drill Holes in Each Pail

Drill three 1/4-inch drainage holes in each pail and calf bucket bottom. For extra curb appeal, attach a vintage faucet handle to the calf bucket handle with instant glue.

Step 8: Plant in Containers

Fill the containers with potting soil and add in your favorite annuals or perennials. We used Shasta daisies, Vinca major, and dwarf gerbera daisies.

Step 9: Fill Tray with Succulents

Finish off your beautiful project by filling the planting tray with a selection of succulents. We used hens-and-chicks, Echeveria, sedum, and Bacopa. Establish the plants with plenty of water. Voíla! A beautiful, rustic window box that will have your neighbors jealous!


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