Nifty, thrifty, and earth-friendly: Turn an Amazon box into a unique planter

If you’re an inveterate online shopper, you may feel guilty about all the cardboard boxes you’ve amassed recently. Put a couple to good use with our clever and earth-friendly box planter DIY. If you’re ready with a plant you want to repot, or you decided to treat yourself to a new and unusual succulent, this project is for you.
Although the overriding shape of the bi-level planter is simple, you add some visual interest by creating a graphic cutout pattern on part of its exterior. This planter isn’t just another pretty face, however. Lining it with heavy-duty plastic ensures that when the plant is watered, there will be no leaks. The finishing touches are a coat of chalk paint and a bit of decorative pom-pom fringe trim. Your plant's new home is a handmade, high-style accessory that will elevate your entryway, living room or bedroom.
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Materials
- 2 Amazon or other shipping boxes — one should be about a third of the size of the other one
- Plastic gridded cutting mat
- Utility knife
- Box of Hefty 30-gallon heavy-duty cleanup bags with drawstrings
- Scissors
- Hot glue gun
- Glue sticks
- Pencil
- Metal T-square
- Popsicle stick
- X-Acto knife
- Sanding sponge
- Piece of newspaper or similarly sized wrapping paper or wallpaper remnant
- Pair of thin rubber gloves
- Jar of chalk paint
- Fine art paintbrush with a 1-2-inch brush head
- Pom-pom fringe trim — length should exceed the large box’s width and length
- Mason jar
- Bag of potting soil
- Indoor plant
DIY Everywhere
Instructions
1. Place the cutting mat on your work surface.
2. Position the larger box so its open top is on the mat and the bottom is facing upward.
3. Splay the box flaps so they lie on top of the grid, outside the edges of the box.
4. Use the utility knife to neatly cut the box side pieces along the edges of the box, then remove them from the box.
5. Set these side pieces aside.
6. Flip the box over, so the open top is facing upward.
7. Remove a heavy-duty bag from the box of plastic bags, and place it on top of the box opening.
8. Push the bag into the box’s interior so it’s lined snugly.
9. There will be a good deal of excess bag material that overlaps the box edges and extends onto the work surface, outside of the box.
10. Trim the excess bag material with the scissors, and put it aside.
11. Apply a bit of glue to the thin top edge of the box, and glue the edge of the bag to it.
12. Continue doing this until the bag edge is glued entirely to the box’s upper edge.
13. Allow the glue to dry.
14. Turn the box over so it rests on one of its longer sides, and move the plastic bag liner so it’s not lining the box’s interior at the moment.
15. Line the T-square so that the “T” bottom is up against the left edge of the box.
16. Make a horizontal mark with the pencil across the side of the box, using the straight upper edge of the T-square as a guide.
17. Move the T-square down 1 inch, and make another line using the upper T-square edge as a guide.
18. Place the Popsicle stick on top of the marked area on the box, but orient it vertically.
19. Draw a vertical line with the pencil that connects the top and bottom horizontal lines on the box about 1 inch from the outer left edge of the box.
20. Draw another vertical line about ½ inch from the first one.
21. You will have made a small, vertically-oriented rectangle.
22. Continue to repeat steps 18-21 until you have a series of rectangles running across the side of the box. The number of rectangles will depend on the length of the box side.
23. Using the X-Acto knife, carefully cut along the outlines of each of the small rectangles drawn on the side of the box.
24. Remove the rectangles so a cutout pattern emerges.
25. Flip the box over so the shorter side that was to the left of the long side you just cut the small rectangular pieces from, is facing toward you.
26. Repeat steps 15-24 on that side of the box.
27. Push the attached plastic bag liner back inside the box.
28. Put this box aside, and get the smaller second box, which should be taped closed.
29. Place the second box on the work surface. Using the T-square to help you draw straight lines with the pencil, make a straight line that goes around the entire box and delineates about 1/3 of it. This portion of the box will be an end portion.
30. Cut this portion away from the rest of the box with the utility knife.
31. Two inner flaps whose edges meet will be inside the box end.
32. Line one of these edges with glue, and affix the two edges together.
33. Remove the piece of wide, clear packing tape that holds the box together from this piece.
34. Removing the tape will create two sets of loose flaps on each end of the box piece.
35. Each pair of flaps will also have top and bottom edges that meet the open top and closed bottom edges of the box piece.
36. Apply glue to the flap edges that meet the bottom closed portion of the box piece.
37. Each pair of flaps will have ends that run vertically along the box sides, and these edges will meet.
38. Glue these end edges together.
39. Run the sanding sponge over the places on the cardboard where the tape was, to get rid of any adhesive or unevenness.
40. Brush away any dust.
41. Get the larger box, and place it on the work surface so its open side is facing downward.
42. Use the utility knife to cut the clear packing tape along the middle and the sides of the box so the flaps become movable.
43. Unpeel any excess clear tape from the sides of the box.
44. Lift up the upper bottom flaps of the box, and apply glue to the flaps below whose edges oppose the upper flaps.
45. Glue the upper flaps to the ones below them. This will stabilize the bottom of the planter's upper large component.
46. Apply glue to the edges of the opening on the small box.
47. Position the small box so it’s centered on top of the bottom of the large box.
48. Glue the edges of the open part of the small box to the large box.
49. Place the newspaper or wrapping paper remnants underneath the glued boxes to protect the work surface from the paint.
50. Put the plastic gloves on.
51. Open the jar of chalk paint.
52. Brush on a coat of paint to the entire exterior of the glued-together boxes.
53. Let the paint dry completely.
54. Get the pom-pom fringe trim.
55. Place the box planter on the work surface with the smaller box on the bottom.
56. Start applying small amounts of glue to the upper outer edge of the planter to affix the pom-pom fringe trim.
57. Line the entire upper outer edge of the planter with the pom-pom fringe, but cut away any excess trim with the scissors before you glue the final part of the trim onto the box.
58. Glue the last portion of trim on the box.
59. Fill your mason jar with potting soil.
60. Empty the soil into the planter. You may need to put in five or six jars of soil. You also may need less loose soil if you’re transplanting a plant from another planter that's established in soil that may be clinging to it.
61. Make a small, subtle indentation into the soil to accommodate the plant.
62. Transplant your plant into the soil at a depth so it’s secure, and gently pack the soil that surrounds.
63. Empty a couple more jars full of soil on top of the plant and soil, and distribute it evenly.
64. Enjoy this novel planter in any room of your home.
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