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Wooden Succulent Arrangement – Upcycled Junk Gardening Planter for Succulents

This gorgeous succulent arrangement started out life as a wooden drawer meant for tools of some sort.

The upcycled junk gardening planter got a new coat of paint, some TLC and a few succulent plants and offsets and now looks as though it had been intentionally designed for the job.

If you love succulents as much as I do, be sure to check out my guide for how to care for succulents. It is loaded with information about these drought smart plants.Wooden drawer Succulent arrangement - creative garden planter ideas

My husband loves to bring home junk gardening “finds” for me to use in projects.  He showed up a while ago with a big smile on his face and a large shallow wooden drawer with dividers in it.

I didn’t have an idea for it at the time but it every time I saw it, I kept thinking of using in in some sort of planter for succulents.

What is junk gardening?

It seems odd to use junk and gardening in the same sentence but that is exactly what you do when you describe this process of upcycling someone’s idea of junk and turning it into unique and creative garden decor.

This saves me money and also helps to save our environment.

It gives new meaning to the term “garden ideas on a budget!”

DIY upcycle ideas for the garden are all the rage right now. With the popularity of shows like Fixer Upper, farm country decorations blend the outdoors and home interior with a decorating style that is both fun and easy.

Note: Power tools, electricity, and other items used for this project can be dangerous unless used properly and with adequate precautions, including safety protection. Please use extreme caution when using power tools and electricity. Always wear protective equipment, and learn to use your tools before you start any project.

Breakdown of project cost:

The cost is minimal for doing this project, especially if you make use of items you have on hand and can find a junk drawer and not have to buy one.

If you need to purchase new supplies, plants, paint and a drawer, the project will cost more, of course.

Project cost card

Time Needed: 2 hrs Difficulty: Easy My Total Cost: $4.00

To make this project you will need the following supplies:

  • Shallow Wooden Drawer with Compartments
  • Sandpaper
  • Polyfiller (my drawer front had some extra holes in it that needed filling)
  • Behr Waterproofing Stain and Sealer (mine was tinted Navajo Red.)
  • Matte Black Spray Paint
  • [e1″ Paint Brush
  • Succulents or succulent cuttings
  • Cactus and succulent soil
  • Drill

A note on the cost of succulents:

Succulents can be quite expensive to purchase, but they are ridiculously easy to propagate from leaves and stem cuttings. Any time I buy a new succulent plant, I take some of the leaves off and root them.

In no time, I have dozens of new plants ready to be repotted to use in projects like this.

Throughout this post are affiliate links to Mountain Crest Gardens, my favorite supplier of succulents. I earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you if you purchase through an affiliate link.

Making this Succulent Arrangement

I see drawers like this one all the time at thrift stores and consignment shops.  My husband got the one he came home with for free. The wooden drawer was in good overall shape but had a very rusty handle.

It had a very shallow depth to the drawer and that is why I thought of using it as a succulent garden. Wooden file drawer with shallow compartments

Why choose succulents for this wooden succulent planter?

Succulents generally have very shallow root systems, and also are very drought tolerant.  They were the ideal choice for my junk gardening project.

The small roots would not mind being confined in the small compartments of the drawer and they could be misted when they needed watering to keep the drawer from rotting out with too much water.

These pretty little plants are right at home in all sorts of creative planters and will love my new succulent garden box.

The first step in making this DIY succulent planter was to drill some holes for drainage.

I plan to have the succulent display outside on a patio table on my deck and will want the water to drain away so the wood does not rot.Drilling holes in a wooden drawer

The color choice for my planter was easy.  I have a pretty outdoor setting which sits next to a wooden privacy wall.  We a painted it with Behr waterproofing stain and sealer tinted a Navajo Red color.

I had plenty of paint left over from painting the wall last year, so the cost to add a fresh coat of paint was minimal.Outdoor patio setting

The Navajo red color is prominent in my patio cushions which also have black and green in them. I had some black matte paint in a spray can left over from another project to use as well.

So far, my cost has been ZERO~Chair cushion

Giving the wooden drawer some TLC

The handle on the drawer was very rusted.  I removed it and gave it a good sanding with some sandpaper that I had left over from another project.

A new pull would have cost me $4 or $5 but once I had the pull sanded and sprayed with black paint, it looked almost like new.  I also sprayed the screws black, as well.Sanding and painting a drawer pull

I also had to fill some small holes on the front of the drawer.  For some unknown reason there were two extra holes. I think the drawer must have had another handle as some point.Filling holes with vinyl poly filler

The longest part of the project came from painting the interior of the compartments and letting them dry! But I wanted those little compartments to be somewhat waterproof so I gave it all a good few coats of paint in the Navajo red color

Wooden drawer painted red

Time to relax while the paint dries.  It gave me a chance to see what I had for existing plants that could be used. 

Fortunately, I had recently propagated some and am always growing succulents, so I had a wide range to choose from!Sucullents in pots on a plant stand

Succulent Identification of plants used

There were lots of types of succulents to choose from.  Some of the succulents were small plants with roots and a few were cuttings of plants that had gotten leggy over the winter.

I selected a combination of these plants and succulent cuttings for my project:

When the paint was dry, I filled the compartments with some cactus and succulent soil and gave the soil in the compartments a light soaking.

The soil was pretty much my only cost for this DIY project, and even that was minimal and I had some on hand!

Succulents like well draining soil with large pores for airflow. Each compartment got filled with succulent soil.

Succulent and cactus soil in a wooden drawer

Time to re-attach the handle and get ready to fill the compartments with baby plants. The handle color looks fabulous against the red background, don’t you think?

Black wooden handle on a painted drawer

And now for the fun part. It’s time to add the baby plants and cuttings!

Each compartment of the drawer has its on special spot.  The back part of the drawer had one long narrow compartment. I love the way the hens and chicks babies all line up.

They will spread out and fill that compartment by sending out their own babies.

The rectangular succulent planter is exactly the right size for the glass portion in the middle of my outdoor coffee table!Make your own succulent planter

Another bit of watering and the project is done! Making a succulent planter was such a fun way to spend my afternoon and I love the way it turned out!

DIY succulent planter box

If you are looking for garden ideas on a budget, try making some garden projects from junk.  Thrift stores are a fabulous place to find items that are just dying to be upcycled into junk art projects.

Even an old wooden cutlery tray for a kitchen drawer would work for this project and I see those all the time at garage sales.

Who would have ever thought that this lovely table display started out life as a worn out wooden drawer?Pretty garden patio setting

What sort of recycled garden ideas have you made from junk?  Please share in the comments below~

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."