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Easy DIY Plywood Planters

Today’s contributor is Emma from Crafting{E}! All posts written by Emma for Make It and Love It, can be found HERE.

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Hi everyone! It’s Emma from Crafting{E} again!

Does anyone else have the blackest thumb ever? I definitely do, I’m as far away as you can get from a green thumb. The problem is I LOVE plants, well I guess it’s more like I love the IDEA of plants. I have tried every kind of plant from flowers to succulents and I killed them all. Guys, I killed succulents… Those are supposed to be the hardest thing to kill.

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Now that we’ve officially entered spring, I’ve had, I guess you could call it, a craving (that sounds really weird but just go with it, okay?) for plants. That’s sounds strange, I know. I just really want to be able to grow plants without killing them and have a super awesome garden. This time around I decided to start with the hardest thing to kill: cactus.

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I live (and have grown up) in southern Arizona where there are cactus EVERYWHERE. Not even kidding, there is a state park dedicated to cactus really close to my house. Because of this, I’m not a super huge fan of cactus. However, when I walked into the garden center at my local home improvement store I just knew that these cactus were meant to be mine.

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Are they not adorable? When I came home with my cactus, my four-year-old sister lovingly named the pink/red cactus Cherry and the yellow cactus Banana. Because what else would you name a cute little cactus than a fruit that corresponds with their color? Ha ha.

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Okay, now lets talk about the actual planters. I don’t have a lot of time for crafting and building anymore, so for me simple is key. These planters are SUPER simple, but once you add the stain and paint on a pattern it transforms into something amazing!

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I LOVE how the stain looks on the plywood… SO PRETTY! I also love how the white paint contrasts the dark walnut stain. I decided to go with a very simple pattern on these planters because I am definitely no artist. I think it turned out pretty well! Now, on to the tutorial!

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MATERIALS (per planter):

  • 2 pieces of plywood cut 4″x4″
  • 2 pieces of plywood cut 3.5″x4″
  • 1 piece of plywood cut 3.5″x3.5″
  • Wood stain. The color I used is called Dark Walnut. I love it and use it for all of my projects!
  • Nail gun or hammer and nails. A nail gun is definitely easier (plus it makes you feel super powerful and awesome ;), but a hammer and nails will work as well.
  • Sander/ sand paper. Either one will work.
  • Black trash bag. This is for lining the planter so you will not need an entire trash bag, just a piece that will fit on the inside of the planter.
  • Plant or cactus. I got these adorable cacti from Lowe’s, but I’ve seen them at other stores as well.
  • White acrylic paint and brush.



  • First (assuming that you already cut your pieces of plywood as specified above) assemble your planter. The 3.5″x3.5″ piece of wood is the bottom and the rest are the sides. As you can tell in the pictures, the sides overlap. The 4″x4″ sides will be overlapping the 3.5″x4″ sides. Make sure on the sides that the 4″ side of the piece is the height (does that make sense?). Use a Nail Gun or a hammer and nails to assemble the planters.

DIY Plywood Planters (1)
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  • Sand your planter. This is pretty self explanatory.
  • Stain your planter.

DIY Plywood Planters (2)
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  • Allow the stain to dry. Once the stain is dry, paint a design onto the sides with white acrylic paint. My design is super easy, I simply painted four “X’s” on the bottom of each side and then I used a dotting tool to add polka dots on the “X’s”

DIY Plywood Planters (3)
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  • Once I got to the front side, I decided to paint a word and add another row of “Xs” on the top of that side.

DIY Plywood Planters (4)
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  • Allow the paint to dry and then line each pot with a black trash bag. This will make it so that the planters don’t leak.

DIY Plywood Planters (5)
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  • Place your plant in the planter and put more soil around it to keep it in place.

That’s it! I had so much fun making these and I hope you guys will too! Now, I just need to keep these adorable cactus alive. Fingers-crossed I don’t over water them (the struggle is real) ;).

Okay, is it just me or do you have a really hard time keeping plants alive? For those of you who don’t do you have any tricks for keeping plants alive? I would love to know! 

If you enjoyed this post you should check out my blog for many more like it!

blog contributor Emma
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Bringing a little bit of the outdoors inside doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive! Check out these frugal ideas for displaying plants in your home:

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter

Pretty Your Pots with Glitter!

25 DIY Painted Flower Pot Ideas…you’ll LOVE



Emma has contributed 23 articles on since December 22, 2015.

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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