I love pallet wood! In fact, most of my wood crafts are done with pallet wood. Not only is it free (most of the time) but it is already weathered and rustic so requires very little work to get the look I want.
This is one of my easier projects that can be made in a few hours (less dry time for stain or paint) for someone with a little bit of skills and energy. For me, it usually takes about a week. I usually do one to two steps every other day depending on my energy level or pain but it is doable by one person who struggles with fine motor skills, large motor skills or both!
I really think this is a cute and functional gift that any woman (maybe a man would like it to hold pens and pencils on their desk) would love. The photo above shows it with fresh cut flowers from the yard but any flowers would work. The first one I made, I gave to my sister-in-law, Jackie, and used Baby's Breath. She left the Baby's Breath in and allowed it to dry so she has flowers all the time (photo at the bottom). Pretty good idea. I also intended this as a table top caddy. The three jars will allow for forks, spoons and knives and can easily be carried to the table. I think it would work great for entertaining outdoors. You could even remove the jars and put condiments like mustard and ketchup. Those little red and yellow squirt bottles that you get at the dollar store would be super cute.
- Wood (any type is fine)
- Finishing Nails
- Wood Glue
- Chalk Board Paint
- Nails with a large head
- Hammer (or nail gun)
- Drill bits
- Two Handles
- Nail Gun (optional)
Figure out which jars you are going to use. I used three mason jars and measured them so that I could make sure that my caddy had enough room for all three plus a little space (in case they want to put napkins next to silverware). I decided that a 10" x 4 1/2" box would work.
Since my wood is about 3/4" thick I bumped my length up to 11 1/2", on the longer sides, since I am insetting the side panels. I also found the bottom piece at this time. I like to use one that is wide enough that I don't have to cut the board to fit the width only the length. I found a piece that was about 6" wide so with the two sides (1 1/2" total thickness) I cut my shorter sides to 4 1/2". If you want to inset the bottom piece (so that it doesn't show on the outside of the box) just cut it to 10"x 4 1/2". I know my way is more complicated but I wanted a taller box to cover the jars. I also really struggle putting nails in; my depth perception is way jacked up. I usually go too high or too low and then the nail is showing and trying to get the nail out is impossible! This way, I nail from the bottom (see picture below in Step 5) and I can measure where the nails need to go. If I still screw up and have to remove nails, it's the bottom and no one will see it, so it doesn't matter. Right?
Cut wood to the dimensions you need, including the bottom and the chalk board.
For the bottom, I had the four sides cut and dry fit together just to make sure the bottom will fit. If your brain works correctly, you can easily skip this step (as your measurements are likely accurate) but I always double check myself. I also like to do it this way as pallet wood thickness can be variable (see left side piece in above photo in Step 1 and how it bows out). For the chalk board piece, I used a scrap of wainscoting (the back side) because it is thinner. I cut mine to 4" x 2 1/2". It is really up to you how big you want this. I cut this at least three times until I got the size I wanted. I just kept holding it up to the box to see if I liked it. Also, keep in mind what you are going to write on it so that you have enough room.
Next sand and stain boards and paint chalk board. I like to do this before I assemble the box. I can sand easily and get the stain everywhere and if you wait until you have the box assembled the corners can be tricky to adequately cover with stain. Also, if you are like me, the construction may not be that sturdy and sanding (with an orbital sander) can be a little rough and may break your caddy.
At this point, I put the chalk board onto the front of the flower box and the handles on the sides. It is much easier to do it now on a flat surface than once the box is assembled.
First, make sure your nails are long enough to go through both pieces of the board (in the case of the chalk board). For both the chalk board and your handles, you'll want to make sure they are not too long that they go all the way through the wood and stick out in the interior of the box.
Drill a hole in each corner of your chalk board that your large nail will slide through. Then drill smaller corresponding holes into the front board of your flower box. I choose drill bits based on the nail size. I use a larger bit for the chalk board so the nail just slides through then a size smaller so that there is some "tooth" into the actual flower box but the pre-drilled hole usually prevents the wood from splitting. Before putting the nails in, I like to sand the tops so they are shiny. You could also spray paint them before if you would like a different color especially if your handles are a different color. My handles had silver on them so the raw nails coordinate nicely.
You'll also want to measure and mark each side for the placement of the handles. The first time I made this flower box, I thought I could "eyeball" it and that was a mistake. Even 1/2" off is pretty noticeable because the handles stick out.
The handles were a big pain in the... I used some ones I had removed from an antique dresser (normally, I would try and leave an antique piece as original as possible but these handles are difficult for me to use and since I would be using the dresser daily, I opted to change them out). They look great on the flower caddy but I really struggled attaching them.
My handles have two screws so I had to measure the distance between the two and center them. The first time I tried to put the handles on I just screwed them in and my wood cracked in half! I had to cut, sand and stain another piece. Strongly recommend pre-drilling. Pallet wood can be so temperamental. Place a drill bit in the hole of your handle until you find one that fits then go a size smaller so that you will have some "tooth" when you screw them into your sides of the flower box.
If you are using a store-bought handle/knob this will be much easier.
Time to assemble! I use a little brad nailer to do most of my crafts but this one is really simple to hammer in the nails, plus the nails for my brad nailer weren't long enough.
I start by "pre-nailing" each piece. I put wood glue on one edge and then nail. To make it easier, I stack wood under one side while nailing the other side on (for the first board).
Apply a small amount of glue. Since you have already sanded and stained you don't want to deal with hardened glue. If you get a little glue that squishes out, just wipe off with a damp rag.
Ta da! One flower box caddy!
Lastly, spray paint your jars whatever color you would like. I only spray the outside of the jar since water will be added to hold flowers and there really is no reason to paint the inside. Once the paint is dry, I sanded mine a bit (with 220) to make them look rustic.
This was the second one I made. My first flower box I made was for my sister-in-law for her birthday. For her caddy, I attached the sides to the edge of the front and back pieces. I was trying to avoid the nails showing on the front but I didn't care for the edges and "seams" showing. On my second one (above) I inset the sides and I think the nails add a little rustic character to the caddy.