's creating gumption

File Cabinet Planter

Yippee! A finished Project!

Turning an old file cabinet into a planter box was a bit more difficult than I imagined. I had been seeing these on pinterest for a while now and thought it would be easy and inexpensive.  I was wrong on both counts.


First, you have to find an old file cabinet...and I do mean old. Most file cabinets these days aren't made with a solid bottom, so you have to find one from before 1950 if you don't want to add more work to this already labor intensive project. After much searching, I finally found one on Craigslist. The guy I bought it from thought I was crazy when I asked if it had solid bottom. He said, "I don't think they make them that way." I said, "Your cabinet has brass handles, so its probably old enough to be solid."  About 20mins later, he calls me back and says, "WOW! It has a solid bottom!" I say, "Sold!" I literally LOL'd when he said, "Well...I'm asking $30 for it, but since its so OLD and RARE, I'll give it to you for $25".  I like the way he haggles!

Old file cabinet before the metal dividers where removed.



File Cabinet with Solid Bottom...Check!

Now, I've got to get rid of the dividers that held the drawers in place. With sparks flying, I cut them out with my reciprocating saw. Success!


Hollow File Cabinet...Check!

Next, I've got to build a box for the inside. The weight of the soil and watering would be too much for just the metal file cabinet so it needed its own heavy duty box. Off to my friend Obie at Butterworth Designs. He's got all the cool tools and skill to help with box.  He cut the pieces and I screwed it together.

Interior Box made with Butterworth Designs.


Box for inside the File Cabinet...Check!


I wanted wheels on my planter so I bought some small moving dollies and bolted them to the bottom of the file cabinet and attached 4x4 blocks to them from the inside of the cabinet. This allowed the box to be the right level for the top of the planter (using less wood & soil!) and giving it better drainage. I drilled holes haphazardly in both the box and the file cabinet for water drainage.

But wait...there's still MORE work to be done.

The file cabinet needed to be sanded and painted. I purchased a spray gun so it would be easier to paint...yeah right. After figuring out that my compressor wasn't strong enough for the spray gun, I bought a new compressor. Nice, but it was yet another unexpected expense.

Finally, I was able to get the spray gun to work so I primed it, sanded it some more (Drips! There is definitely a learning curve for a spray gun!), added the final paint, sanded some drips, added more paint. And then when I thought I would be re-sanding the whole cabinet again if I dared to add another coat...I WAS FINISHED!

File Cabinet turned planter...before the planting.  Can you see the "blemishes"?


It took a ton of soil and 6 Horsetail plants to truly call the project complete.



Finished File Cabinet Planter with Horsetail. More embellishments to come!




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