L'Herboriste Planter

1 Day

Soon the planting season will start around here, and I am still working to get my herb planters prettied up and ready to welcome their jewels. I started off with some old terracotta pots and got them out of the way, and now it is time to work on the wooden planters...such as this little handsome guy here.
Ok maybe he wasn't so handsome yet with his face falling apart, but he was going to get there with a little work. He already had a nice rustic feel with that aged wood, so I didn't want to slap paint all over him. Instead I wanted to re-finish him in such a way that would embrace his original rustic look. But before anything else, all the rusty old nails which were sticking out had to go. As I don't have a good history with rusty metal, I asked Greg's help for clearing the main body from rusty nails.
While Greg was working with the nails, I started preparing my homemade chalk paint. You can find the recipe for the homemade chalk paint on our blog. My initial plan was to stencil the toolbox with a nice brownish-gray paint. But taking a second look at the wood color, I thought the stencil could get lost on that wood, so I decided to brighten it a little and give it a driftwood look. To do so, I had two choices: either stain the wood or whitewash it. While Greg was all for staining it to achieve the driftwood appearance, I decided to whitewash it. He knew that it was my first time whitewashing and there was a chance I could mess it up, so he really didn't like the idea. But when I told him "the worst case scenario is it will get ruined...and if it does then you can make me another one, and I can try staining that one," he then hated the idea :-D
When I was finished with the white wash, the boards looked almost like driftwood.

You can visit our blog post for the step-by-step details and the pictures on the white wash and stenciling processes.

Next, it was time to protect the driftwood look and the stencils. Since I was going for the rustic look and needed my protective coat to be matte, I applied two coats of dead flat exterior protective coat on all surfaces of the toolbox (in and out, including the handle). This exterior protective coat is slightly pricier than other brands, but because it delivers what it promises, it is worth all those extra pennies I pay for it. It has a milky color when applied, but dries clear and dries incredibly matte. So matte, in fact, that I sometimes forget if I've put a protective coat on an item or not. Therefore, every time I am going for a rustic look or a matte look, or whenever I don't want to take the chance of yellowing of white-painted items, this is my "go to" protective coat.
Since the wood was protected, now it was time to put the whole thing together and plant it. Once we nailed the second face in, I lined the inside with a landscaping cloth.
The toolbox had small holes and gaps here and there, so having a liner like landscaping cloth stops the soil from draining together with the water from those holes and gaps. After putting packing peanuts at the bottom of the planter, I planted some peppermint and chocolate mint, and the project finally was complete!
So how do you like him so far? I think now we can call him handsome :-)
I love how that dead flat protective coat keeps everything in its original look. It is as if I put no protective coat on this planter.
Greg is so happy with the finish as well! And even happier that he doesn't have to make another toolbox now...lol

Thank you for reading!
Handan, xo

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Handan & Greg @ The Navage Patch

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Ruth
    on May 5, 2016

    I have seen reference to chalk paint, but I'm not sure just what this is.

  • Jeri Walker
    on May 5, 2016

    what keeps the water from damaging your tool box after you did all that protective painting????

    • When I water the plants the water drains out just like that as the planter already had holes and gaps in between the main body and the two faces (it is mentioned in the post and that was why I lined the planter). In other words watering my plants could wear the planter only as much as rain could. But because I used the matte protective coat in an out on all the surfaces now the planter is also entirely protected from rain like water damage.

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