How to Build a Pretty Filing Cabinet Planter | Easy Furniture Upcycle

Mitch Couch
by Mitch Couch

Do you have an old filing cabinet lying around? Instead of throwing it away, why not repurpose it into a stunning filing cabinet planter?

This project is perfect for anyone who loves gardening and furniture upcycle projects.

Follow along as I transform an unused piece of office furniture into a beautiful filing cabinet garden planter.

This post was transcribed by a member of the Hometalk editorial team from the original HometalkTV episode.

Tools and Materials:

  • Old metal filing cabinet
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Gray primer
  • Spray gun
  • Quality outdoor paint
  • Timber (2x3s)
  • Kreg jig
  • Vinyl trellis
  • Jigsaw
  • Staples
  • Pine shavings (or other filler)
  • Plants

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How to repurpose an old filing cabinet into a planter

1. Prepare the Filing Cabinet

First, remove the heavy drawers from your filing cabinet. You can save these for another project. Discard any unnecessary metal pieces.

Add drain holes to your filing cabinet for proper water flow

Turn the cabinet over and use the back of your hammer to create drain holes in the bottom. This is an excellent stress-relief activity!

Priming the cabinet with gray primer

2. Prime the Cabinet

With the filing cabinet now lighter, turn it back over and start priming it. Use a gray primer instead of white, as it covers rust marks more effectively.

Apply the primer evenly and let it dry.

Cutting timber for the trellis

3. Build the Trellis Frame

Cut the timber into the desired lengths for your framed trellis.

Filing cabinet planter DIY

Use a Kreg jig to create pocket holes in the boards. These holes will hide the screws, making your structure strong and visually appealing.

Upcycled garden ideas

Next, lay out your boards for the frame.

DIY guide to making a filing cabinet garden planter

You'll need three boards to create the width of the frame. The trellis will attach to the top, and the cabinet will attach to the bottom.

These wooden pieces we're using in the center will give the necessary support for attaching everything securely.

Hidden joints created with a Kreg jig for a clean finish

Assemble the trellis frame by screwing the boards together.

DIY garden projects

4. Attach the Trellis

Lay out the vinyl trellis and measure it to match the width of the frame.

Transforming old furniture into garden planters

Cut it to size with a jigsaw.

Securing the trellis to the cabinet

Attach the trellis to the wooden frame using staples. For additional strength, you can use screws, but staples should suffice.

Recycled planter project

Then, I need to attach the cabinet to the frame.

Creative planter idea

Pre-drill some holes and screw it in to hold everything securely in place.

DIY filing cabinet planter | Upcycling made easy

5. Paint the Planter

It's time to paint! Use quality outdoor paint and a paint sprayer for a smooth finish.

Using a paint sprayer on the cabinet

Spray the cabinet and trellis evenly.

Outdoor decor on a budget

Make sure to apply two coats of paint for better coverage, especially if using white paint.

Adding pine shavings to the cabinet

6. Add Filler and Plants

Place the cabinet in your desired location and fill it with pine shavings or other suitable filler.

Add your favorite flowers

The drain holes will help excess water escape.

Metal cabinet planter

Finally, plant your chosen plants in the filing cabinet planter box and fill around the edges with more pine shavings.

Ready for your next planter project?

Visit our guide on constructing a DIY Cinder Block Planter to add a modern touch to your garden!

Complete guide to making a filing cabinet planter

Hometalk Recommends!

Upcycle an old filing cabinet into a planter with this recommended green spray paint and pine shavings filler that Amazon reviewers swear by!

Steps to Build a Filing Cabinet Planter Box

This filing cabinet planter is a perfect example of how furniture upcycle can bring new life to old items. It is a fantastic way to add a unique touch to your garden.

From filing cabinet to garden planter

Have you tried this project? Let us know how it went and share your results in the comments below!

Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 4 questions
  • Connie Connie on May 25, 2024
    Looks really cool but, do you line it with something so when you water plants the planter doesn’t rust?
  • Halstaylor1 Halstaylor1 on May 25, 2024
    I dont understand. Pine shavings instead of soil??? How can plants live without soil?
  • Melmarie Mac Melmarie Mac on May 26, 2024
    Hey, do you have any ideas that would turn out to deter porch pirates? Something that USPS, FedEx & UPS could access and of course the owner, but no one else? mel
Join the conversation
2 of 3 comments
  • Marilyn Marilyn on May 25, 2024
    Very pretty! I could see 1 or 2 of those on our deck. Thanks for sharing.
  • Mro164 Mro164 on May 25, 2024
    That looks great! I don’t have all the tools, or a filing cabinet, but I think this is so clever. Well done! 🍃🌱