Week 21: File cabinet to planter

Hi Everyone! If you haven’t had a chance to come to the monthly Sip and Upcycle night at Habitat for Humanity, you should!!  What is it you ask?  Every month, a new project is chosen to work on.  We take the gently used, old, vintage and very well loved items and create something new.  Last week, one of our Upcycle attendees, Kelly, worked on creating a planter box out of a metal filing cabinet.  With a little creativity and imagination, I can picture my tomato plants growing in a new location!

File Cabinet to Planter

Beginner project

Time 1.5 hours (unless Stenciling or Painting, then you can add a couple more hours to it)


Metal filing cabinet
Self-tapping metal screws-  ½ inch
Self-tapping metal screws – 1 inch
Sand paper
Pallet wood
4 decorative feet or corbels or 2 pieces of 2×4 cut to 2 inches shorter than width of cabinet
¼ inch drill bit
Philips screwdriver
Tape measure
Acrylic paint
Paint brushes
Outdoor sealant

Instructions –

  1. Remove drawers from File cabinet.  Set aside drawers for later use
  2. Remove drawer glides from interior if possible
  3. Sand all areas or leave with the rust for a vintage look.
  4. Measure width of back.  Cabinet will lay on the back and openings will be up to create the openings for plants.
  5. Cut 2 pieces of 2×4, 2 inches smaller than the width of the back of the cabinet.  Or you can add 4 feet to the bottom of the cabinet, one in each corner.
  6. Use 1 inch screws to attach the feet of the cabinet.  Drill screws through the inside of the cabinet into the 2×4 or feet of the cabinet.
  7. For the ends of the Cabinet, we measured the width of the cabinet and cut boards to size.
  8. If you like the multi-color effect, paint your boards before screwing to the cabinet.
  9. Lay boards down and set the cabinet on top.
  10. Use your ½ inch self-tapping screws to go through cabinet into wood.  (Screws are in the interior of the cabinet to hide them)  It will take some pressure on the drill for this as you are going through the metal.
  11. Put 2 screws into each end of the board. Putting screws into the board from the inside of the file cabinet.
  12. Do step 9 and 10 on both ends of cabinet.  It can also be completed all the way around if you want a wood look to your planter.
  13. Use stencils or free hand painting to be as creative as you like on the outside.
  14. If painting and leaving in the weather, make sure to put a sealant over your paint when dry.
  15. Fill with soil and plants!

We would love to see your pictures of your complete project.  Send them to me or post on our Facebook site. Habitat for Humanity Rogue Valley

Check the website for upcoming Habitat Upcycle workshops.

Happy planting!

RV Habitat Recycle Repurpose Manager
[email protected]

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