DIY Christmas Tree Planters

Considering that Christmas is over and we all are SUPPOSED to be doing the whole dreaded put-away thing now, let’s just call these planters.  These are not Christmas tree planters….no.  It could very well be a Valentines day or Easter or Summer planter.  If we were on Hobby Lobby time…these would be Back-to-School planters.  No offense Hobby Lobby…I love you.

This tutorial is pretty easy…but it requires very specific assembly.  If you aren’t into reading directions (coughJeremycough) then basically it’s your funeral.  That’s right….you will die.  If you are interested in making these for outside, remember to use exterior wood.  We plan on using these only inside for our little foyer trees.  We bought the 5′ unlit trees at Walmart and they were $20 each and their assembled bases fit perfectly inside.  I am sure that you could use these also inside for potted plants (just slip the pot inside) or other artificial topiaries.  You could also add small casters to the legs making them easy to move around.

Since a lot of the cuts are mitered, I included the inside and outside lengths for each board.  All the cuts are 45 degrees because we are making a box.

The weird thing about this project is the pocket holes.  We don’t have the giant Kreg Jig (my sister got it for Christmas and I am super excited to see what she does!)…so we just use the little one and it works fine.  For the top trim, we did pocket hole the ends (we have no idea if this is the proper way but it worked).

And then we assembled that together.

You can also brad nail your side slats to the legs.  Make sure that the legs have the pocket holes at the TOP of the 2×2.  We simply laid out two legs and laid the slats on top and boomboomboom.  We have the Ryobi brad nailer and it is worth every single penny.  Seriously.  If you have any Christmas cash and you don’t have it already….get it.  now.  It will change your building life.

So after all the slats are nailed to the legs, it will look like the box below on the right.  Then comes time for the bottom trim.

Jeremy added that with some screws from the inside.  Just remember to stagger them so you don’t end up hitting the last screw.

Okay…so here’s where things get weird.  Like on Lost when the polar bear showed up.  Dang I miss that show.

So flip the entire planter over and your pocket holes in the legs now should be facing down.

Attach the top with the pocket holes…just make sure you line up the corners of the top to the legs first.

Then as it is flipped over, slide in the plywood bottom.

Time to add the supports for the bottom.  These two boards hold the plywood in place so that it’s not falling out when you flip it upright.  Screw those into the legs at the height you want the base to be.  If you want your trees or pot or whatever to be higher….attach these two boards farther away from the bottom.

This is what it looks like before you flip it over.

Time for this tutorial to get exciting…flip and push.

To finish them off, they got completely sanded on any outside bits.  Wait.  Let me just write down these in step-by-step directions (I don’t include dry times…let er dry…or else!) because I always get questions….

  • sand exterior with 60 grit sandpaper (we use this sander)
  • sand exterior with 120 grit sandpaper
  • sand exterior with 220 or higher grit sandpaper
  • wipe everything down from dust
  • paint entire exterior with Glidden semigloss paint and primer in one (color – Candy Apple) – 2 coats
  • sand edges with 120 grit to rough them up
  • mix Behr Faux Glaze with black semi gloss oops paint (50/50 mix…you don’t need a lot)
  • paint glaze on one side
  • wipe glaze off with paper towel (if the glaze won’t remove to your liking, then paint more on in that area and wipe immediately)
  • apply first coat of Minwax Polycrylic in clear satin
  • sand VERY lightly with 440 grit
  • apply second coat of Minwax Polycrylic

Obviously I like a lot of rustic glaze look on these but if you don’t, just wipe them down sooner after applying the glaze.

After they were dry, I popped the tree inside and then took some fiber fill and fluffed it around the base to make it look like snow.

I don’t know how much these would cost because we used scrap wood from our garage towers but we did have to buy the paint and a couple 2×2’s….so it will cost at least $20….let’s just say that.  I’m guessing if you already had painting supplies and sandpaper and plywood…it would probably be in the neighborhood of $20 each.  I’m totally pulling this estimate out of my ears.

Happy Building!