DIY specialist and professional furniture maker Natasha Dickins from Little Red Industries shows you how to make a designer timber base to suit a rectangle-shaped planter box.
I wanted to design a timber base that can be adapted to suit any-shaped planter box, and using classic cigar-shaped legs gives it mid-century style to suit my decor.
This planter is 600mm long, 240mm wide and 300mm high, but these instructions will suit a square or rectangular planter box up to 300mm wide and 1200mm long. Make sure it has a self-watering tray or is sealed and without drainage holes, otherwise water can pool underneath.
The timber and legs of the base are protected from moisture damage by sealing in Monocel Stain & Varnish. You can use Clear Satin, but you could also achieve a lovely rich stain with Walnut, an elegant look by using Black, or a bright, modern finish with Grey.
- Planter box (this one is 600mm long x 240mm wide)
- Hevea timber panel 1200mm x 300mm x 19mm
- Four tapered legs 230mm long with attached lug screws
- Four angled leg plates (check they fit the lug screws of the legs)
- Monocel Stain & Varnish in Clear Satin
- Four rubber glides (with supplied screws)
- Potted plants
- Hand saw to cut the panel
- Combination square and pencil
- Random orbital sander with 180-grit abrasive disc (or use a hand-sanding block)
- Drill with driver bit
- 3mm and 8mm drill bits
- Mini roller with tray
To get the size of the base, position the planter on the timber panel and marked around it. (Place it against one end and one side of the timber so you only need to make two cuts.) Use a combination square to ensure the lines are straight then cut the timber to size with a handsaw. You could also use a circular saw with a straightedge or have the timber cut at the hardware store.
Sand all over the timber and legs with 180-grit abrasive paper, ensuring the cut edges are slightly rounded over to match the factory edges.
To position the leg plates in the corners, use a combination square set at 15mm to check the plates are evenly spaced from the edges.
Hold the plates to mark the holes, then remove them to drill the three screw holes with a 3mm bit, changing to an 8mm bit to drill the centre holes. When drilling the centre holes, angle the drill inwards to match the angle of the plates.
TIP: Check the depth as you go to avoid drilling right through. You could wrap tape around the drill bit 18mm from the end as a depth guide.
Using the supplied screws, attach the plates and twisted in the legs, ensuring the top of the legs are flush against the plates.
TIP: If you’re having trouble getting the legs to sit against the plates, you may need to remove the screws to re-drill the centre hole so it’s deep enough for the lug screw.
Before applying the Monocle Stain & Varnish in Clear Satin, wipe away any dust with clean, damp cloth then position the planter base upside down. Pour varnish into a mini tray and load up a mohair roller to seal the legs and underneath first. Avoid sealing around the edges at this stage to make it easier to pick up.
After turning the planter base right-side up, reload the roller and apply varnish over the top and around the sides, leaving it to dry for two hours. For best protection of the timber, repeat the varnish application for two more coats, leaving to dry thoroughly after each.
When the planter base is completely dry, turn it upside down to add glides or feet tips using the supplied screws and a drill.
Find a sunny spot to position the base and add the planter box and potted plants. We used mother-in-law’s tongue plants in slim 200mm-wide pots to finish off the mid-century look.
If you make this simple project, be sure to post it on Facebook or Instagram, tagging @bondall.au, @monocel.timbercare and @littleredindustries. We’d love to see your creations!