File Cabinet Planter

Transform an old metal filing cabinet into a striking focal-point planter.

File Cabinet Planter


Step 1: Remove the drawers and clean the cabinet inside and out. If there is rust or scratches on the exterior, sand with 100-grit sandpaper, and then follow with 150-grit sandpaper.

Metal two-drawer file cabinet before painting

Step 2: Spray with a metal primer and apply three coats or more in the paint colour of your choice. Several light coats will work better than a few heavy ones.

Step 3: Set the cabinet on its back so the drawer openings are on top.

Step 4: Cut three pieces of 2 x 2 [.61 x .61 m] pressure-treated deck baluster about 4 inches [10.16 cm] shorter than the width of the file cabinet. Pre-drill holes for the screws into the metal in evenly spaced intervals in the back (now the bottom) of the planter cabinet. Using the pre-drilled holes, screw 5/8-in [1.59 cm] panhead screws into the deck baluster. The balusters act as risers for drainage and air circulation.

Good to Know We used three risers to prop up the planter cabinet. For a cabinet with additional drawers, add risers for each strip between the drawers plus ones at the top and bottom.

Step 5: Drill multiple drainage holes in the bottom of the planter. File or sand any sharp metal around the holes.

Add risers and drain holes

Step 6: Slip pots into the openings on top– we used two 14-inch [35.56cm] plastic planters, which fit snugly after cutting two rim corners of one pot so it could rest atop the rim of the other pot.

Good to Know: To make a pretty display, pair a low- to medium-height flowering plant such as a begonia with a trailing plant with contrasting foliage, such as sweet potato vine.

Install the plastic planters.


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