Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to Build a Potting Bench

potting bench to pin

how to build a potting bench

Hey you guys!! I could not WAIT to show you how I built this potting bench to go in my new shed!   (more on the shed in another post!)

You remember the old 1916 house that was sitting on our churches property that was being torn down….the one where I took the old drawers from the butlers pantry and used them to build my window seat? (if you’re new around here and haven’t seen my window seat, you can go HERE to see it…LOVE IT!)  Since they were giving away anything from the old house we could carry out, I managed to snag a few of the old doors!  I have ALWAYS wanted a potting bench, but it wasn’t exactly at the top of my “to do” list because we’ve been redoing this house since we bought it 6 years ago…and bathrooms and kitchens are kinda more important than potting flowers. (although potting flowers is much more therapeutic if you ask me!)

Anyway! One day I was on Pinterest looking  at potting benches and had an aha moment! I could use one of the old doors as the back to my bench, so I started collecting odds and ends and bits and pieces to start my potting bench!

The first thing I found were these amazing old 4 x 4’s at our local habitat restore…I LOVE the old stenciling on them! (but you could use new ones) I got them for a DOLLAR each!  Score!!! Worthington Steel used to supply steel to a place my hubby used to work years ago…I thought that was kind of a cool connection too! The little corner brackets I found on Ebay…4 for $12.00!

how to build a potting bench

The first thing I did was to decide the height I wanted the potting bench to be, and cut the 4 x 4’s to that height. I picked waist level, so that would vary from person to person)  Then I took some 2 x 4’s and built an open box the width of the door and the depth I wanted the table part of my potting bench to be, which in my case, was 16”.  I basically just screwed the pieces together with some long deck screws, then screwed it into place on the 4 x 4’s and the door.  (ignore the slats on the bottom, I was just dry fitting them in this pic, I’ll show you how I built the bottom box on down in the post)

building a potting bench cheap

Some of the 2 x 4’s were old, I snagged those for a buck each at the restore too, but there wasn’t enough so I had to use some new ones as well. The finish didn’t match, so I used a trick I saw on Pinterest.  Soak steel wool (I used the fine stuff) in some vinegar overnight and then apply several coats to your wood, allowing it to dry in between to get the desired look you want. EASY PEASY!! (but it’s Stinky with a capital S!) lol You can see in the picture below the difference in the new piece of wood in the back that I didn’t touch, and the new piece on the side that I used the steel wool on…….HUGE difference!

potting bench plans

You can see in this picture, that it doesn’t match the old wood perfectly. but it’s sure better than the bright shiny new wood any day! :0) (you can also see how I screwed the wood into the 4 x 4 in this pic)

potting bench guide

For the bottom box, I kinda did the same thing I did for the top, except I put the front piece of wood behind the 4 x 4’s because I had another piece of 4 x 4 that I wanted to use on the face, in between the upright 4 x 4’s.  See in the pic below…..

building a box

Here’s a closer view….see that old piece in the’s nestled right in between the two 4 x 4’s and I attached it to that 2 x 4 behind it.

pics of potting benches

Here you can see how nice the old wood looks from the front…much better than the 2 x 4 would have looked, and it also sits flush. If I had used a regular 2 x 4, I would have to have wrapped it around the front of the legs like I did on the top box I made.  I like this better for the bottom. :0)

potting bench

For the top, I just used a 1 x 6 piece of scrap wood, cut to the width of the door, and screwed it in from the top into the door. I found that great piece of molding from the habitat restore too. (guess how much…Yep, another dollar!)  
To attach the molding, I screwed down through the first board I put on top and into the molding.  Don’t ya’ love all the patina on those old hinges…close to 100 years of love! (ok…dirt and paint, but I still love it!)

how to make a potting bench

I took the other piece of the 1 x 6 that I used on top, to make a shelf with the other two ebay brackets. Just screwed the brackets on the wood, centered it, and screwed it into the door.

coat hooks

I found the piece of wood to make the top at the restore too….and yes it was a dollar. I was blown away when they said it was only a dollar because it had been a mantle.  A TWO INCH THICK, 72 INCH LONG MANTLE MADE FROM REDWOOD!!! I had to bite my lip to cut into that piece of wood….a little part of my heart broke. :*(   After deciding it was ok to cut the wood, I ripped it down the middle and then cut it into three piece lengths to fit the top. The reason I ripped it was because it wasn’t deep enough to make one solid piece for the whole top, so I wanted to have equal sized widths.

uses for old doors

I used some Loctite adhesive again to adhere the top to the base frame….


Then laid all the pieces in place…..

old mantle

For the bottom I used pre-primed  1 x 4’s and cut them to fit….

garden potting bench

I kept laying them out as I went so I could get the spacing just right in between them.

worthington steel

To make the end pieces fit I had to cut a notch out in them….

iron brackets

Here’s what the left side looked like with the notch cut out and before I put it in place….

pre primed mdf

Here it is in place….

what to do with old wood

I used the Loctite adhesive on those too….just easier than trying to nail each one in place while keeping the gaps evenly spaced. With the Loctite you still have time to wiggle the boards back and forth to get the spacing right before they dry, and it holds really well!!  :0)

cute potting bench ideas

Here she is all lovely and finished! :0) I found the little sign hanging on the door at a yard sale for .50, and just painted the inside part with chalk paint..super easy!

how to build a potting bench

Don’t you LOVE that little stool!! I found it on a local facebook yard sale page for $10.00!! I’ve seen them on Ebay for WAY more than that! 
OH.. I also put the little hooks on each side of the sign…they were about $3.00 each. 

old wooden doors

I now have all my gardening books down on that bottom shelf…so functional!

how to build a garden bench

Isn’t it so cute!!!  I’m in LOVE!  <3

old metal stool

A couple more pics….

how do I build a potting bench

how to build a potting bench

So here’s a run down of how much my potting bench cost:

Door: Free
4 x 4’s: $2.00
2 x 4’s (old and new) $6.00
mantle for top: $1.00
1 x 6 Board for top and shelf: free in garage
piece of molding for top: $1.00
brackets from Ebay: $12.00
Two hooks: $6.00
1 x 3’s for bottom: free…leftover from my raised paneled wainscoting in my dining room
sign: .50 yard sale (already had the chalkboard paint)
Three tins on shelf: free..already had them)

I’m not counting the price of the stool because it’s not really part of the potting bench, I just loved it when I bought it and knew I’d find a place for it someday…and it’s perfect!!




Marilyn said...

Now go find a shipping box and send it to me! This is a great piece of work that looks so good. You are a busy girl.♥♫

Leave It To Davis said...

I am green with envy!!! You better be glad you and I don't live in the same town. I would be over at your house all the time following you around, trying to get some of your TALENT to rub off on me! YOU ARE SO FREAKING SMART!!!!! I LOVE THIS!!!!

Victoria said...

Wowwwwww Missy! This is absolutely awesome!!! You did an amazing job, you would pay a fortune for something like that! Love it!

Victoria said...

P.S. I just pinned this to my board, I hope that's okay!

Wendy@Once upon a rose haven said...

Hi Missy,
Wow! Your potting bench is so great, and the cost is terrific! You did a SUPER job! Love it!!! xo

Unknown said...

Missy! That is fantastic! LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

This is SO fun, Missy! I just love seeing your projects!

My Repurposed Life said...

I love your potting bench Missy! You did a fabulous job putting all the pieces together!

great job!

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