Carole
Carole
  • Hometalker
  • Australia

Fancy Red Planter Made From Free Two Drawer Metal Filing Cabinet


I picked this two drawer metal filing cabinet up from road side throw out just round the corner to where I live. I only took the casing and not the drawers as I already knew what I could make with it. It was starting to rust a little so I used a rust converter on it after cleaning it and sanding it a little to provide a key for the paint. I only used the converter on the rusty bits. Then I went over it with a Killrust heavy duty primer. This stuff dries khaki green. I only primed the top and bottom as the sides had no rust and the Killrust top coat I used specified that it could be used straight to metal providing there was no rust. Anyhow, here are the steps involved. Something like this retails for more than two hundred dollars in plant nurseries here. I have not filled the planter with soil rather half filled it to be sufficient for the root system of the plants. Holes were drilled in the back of the cabinet (now the base) for drainage. I lined the bottom portion with bark and dead bracken and other garden debris to pad it out. I may buy some large white smooth rocks for the top for mulch to dress it up. Soil used was a mix of sand and our own home made compost. Money spent was just the cost of the plants. I already had the converter, primer and paint left over from when I painted our garden chairs. See photo. At least they match even though the colour looks a little off here in the photos The plants in the photo are Cordylines - Sundance.
fancy red planter made from free two drawer metal filing cabinet, container gardening, gardening, repurposing upcycling
Painted in Delicious Red and Planted Up.
fancy red planter made from free two drawer metal filing cabinet, container gardening, gardening, repurposing upcycling
Yikes - sticky tape and rust
fancy red planter made from free two drawer metal filing cabinet, container gardening, gardening, repurposing upcycling
Rust Converter to the Worst Rusty Bits
fancy red planter made from free two drawer metal filing cabinet, container gardening, gardening, repurposing upcycling
Killrust heavy duty primer on top and bottom of cabinet
fancy red planter made from free two drawer metal filing cabinet, container gardening, gardening, repurposing upcycling
Starting to paint the sides. No primer needed
fancy red planter made from free two drawer metal filing cabinet, container gardening, gardening, repurposing upcycling
Getting there!
fancy red planter made from free two drawer metal filing cabinet, container gardening, gardening, repurposing upcycling
Drilled holes in the back (now the bottom)
fancy red planter made from free two drawer metal filing cabinet, container gardening, gardening, repurposing upcycling
fancy red planter made from free two drawer metal filing cabinet, container gardening, gardening, repurposing upcycling

Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Peg Meehan
    on Jan 29, 2018

    What is rust converter product and where would I get it????
    • Carole
      on Jan 30, 2018

      It is a liquid in a can or bottle that you buy from the hardware store. Your big hardware chain stores will carry this item so ask if you cannot find it in there. It 'converts' really bad rust to make it stable to paint over. Which means that the rust won't get worse and won't bleed through your paint job. It depends how bad the rust is. You might just get away with using a rust proof primer but I err on the side of caution and if there is existing rust, I dab the converter on with a paint brush and you let it dry for 24 hours. It will turn the rust a dark black/blue colour, then you do the rust proof primer over the top, let that dry and then your top coat of paint in colour of your choice. Hope this helps.

  • Leeanne
    on Mar 4, 2018

    Did you put any kind of liner or paint on the inside to prevent rust? Thanks, the red looks super sharp!!


    • Carole
      on Mar 4, 2018

      I didn't when I made this but you could easily use a plastic tarpaulin with some holes cut in for drainage at the bottom to line this. Or you could use the rust proof paint. I think the liner would be more effective though. It will rust eventually otherwise due to constant contact with damp or wet soil. If I did it again, I would use the tarp to line it first. It is showing some signs of rust and I did repaint it recently. Once it is rusty and turning to holes, I will probably just glue some fence palings to it for a more rustic look.

  • Charlee Ford
    on Jul 7, 2018

    Is filled entirely with soil? That’s a lot of dirt and a very heavy planter.

Join the conversation

3 of 30 comments
  • Miranda Brooks-Gray
    on Jul 10, 2018

    This turned out absolutely stunning! Thank you for the great idea. I think I will start looking for an old filing cabinet 😊

    • Carole
      on Jul 11, 2018

      Go for it! Ebay, Craigslist, Freecycle and Gumtree will be good sources of old cabinets I am sure. I got two of mine from Ebay, the red one was found by the side of the road as kerb side throw out.

  • Carol Prewitt
    on Jan 3, 2019

    Very smart use of something no longer needed. I have a business side one I may use for vegetable s!

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