Tuesday, July 16, 2013

DIY Herb Garden Box from an old toolbox (Pottery Barn Knockoff)

Can I just tell you how flipping excited I am to share my latest project with you. This DIY Herb Garden Box...or planter...or whatever you prefer to call it was one of my garage finds at my late grandparent's beach house. We believe my grandfather, who once owned a hardware store, actually built this tool box.

As soon as I saw this beat up old thing I knew I wanted to turn it into a vintage-inspired herb garden box.  I could not be more happy with the way it came out and I know my grandfather, who had quite the green thumb, would be proud.


Bringing new life to this toolbox took a little elbow grease, a fresh coat of paint, a trip to Home Depot for some water resistant sealer, pots and plants, and two little cutie pies who couldn't be were more than happy to help a mama out.

If you have a similar type wood tool box sitting in your garage or if you happen to come across one at the thrift store and want to refinish it I suggest these supplies. 
The first thing I did was sand down this old tool box.  I used my Black and Decker hand sander with 80 grit sandpaper to smooth out the sides and get rid of some of the old paint.
Then I gave the whole box a good cleaning.  More accurately, my kids did!

I let the box dry overnight before I painted on a two coats of flat white indoor/outdoor paint. Usually I'm a spraypaint-oholic, but I wanted to keep the handle brown and so to avoid overspray and make distressing easier, I used regular paint from a can.

After two coats on the outside and inside (I cheated and skipped the bottom), I hand sanded to distress the box.  It's old and I wanted it to look aged and well loved.  As I'm sure it was.
Next, I added the text to one side.  There are several different methods for transferring text and fonts to wood.  I opted for the newsprint and sharpie method for this project.  Here's the easy tutorial on how to transfer text to wood without a stencil.  I slightly sanded the lettering to make it look a little aged, as well.


While it looks like my herb garden box is now ready, there are still a few very important steps left to keep your tool box from getting water damage.  To avoid the wood from warping as water gets on it - since you'll be remembering to water your herbs, right? - you want to seal the wood.

Not only did I caulk the inside edges of the box....
Before caulking
After caulking
I took the double precaution of drilling about 8 holes in the bottom of my box to let any water drain out.

After I drilled the holes I applied the two-step Rust-Oleum Never Wet Liquid Repelling Treatment.  This stuff seals the wood and turns water into tiny beads so they don't penetrate the wood.  It's not cheap, but it could save your entire project from falling victim to water damage.

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Now, it's time to turn this old tool box into the beautiful herb planter I envisioned.   A quick trip to HD (with my box to make sure my pots fit) and I was back with my supplies.   I am filling my herb garden box with Rosemary, Basil, Parsley, Oregano, and Cilantro (which they were out of - or at least I couldn't find becuase my 2 year old decided he had to pee at that very moment and I had to make a mad dash inside and all the way across the store to avoid an accident.) Regardless, I plan to add a fifth pot as soon as I find myself some cilantro.

For added protection against water, I picked up some plastic saucers for less than a dollar each to place under each pot.   The guy in the garden center also suggested cork or coco planter liners might work.   We potted the herbs and then put them in our beautiful herb box.

What do you think? I think I'm in love!

As I stood admiring my work today, I kept thinking it looked like something you'd see in the Pottery Barn catalog.  Well what do you know...I just did a google search and here's Pottery Barn's version of a white herb garden potter for a whopping $40!

Pottery Barn Herb Garden Box
Anyway, here are a few more pictures of mine....basically just because I'm so proud of how this bad boy turned out. 




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