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.
Painted in Delicious Red and Planted Up.
Yikes - sticky tape and rust
Rust Converter to the Worst Rusty Bits
Killrust heavy duty primer on top and bottom of cabinet
Starting to paint the sides. No primer needed
Getting there!
Drilled holes in the back (now the bottom)
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • Peg Meehan Peg Meehan on Jan 29, 2018
    What is rust converter product and where would I get it????

  • Leeanne Leeanne on Mar 04, 2018

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

  • Charlee Ford Charlee Ford on Jul 07, 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 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 Carole on Jul 10, 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 Carol Prewitt on Jan 02, 2019

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