DIY wood crate planters with unique branch handle stake

Love unique flower planters? Here’s how to make any crate resemble a toolbox or tote with a clever branch handle with stakes! Get all the details in this post!

wood crate planters with flowers

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On the west coast of BC, it’s still a little too chilly to plant flowers outdoors. However when a project required me to get some flowers sooner than later, I went ahead and got the flowers.

So when the flowers started to struggle under days of rain, I decided to attempt to protect them until the weather improved, by creating some kind of mobile planter so I could move them around.

Rummaging through my stash, I came across a wood crate that I thought would make a perfect planter box for an outdoor space.

However, I also wanted to give the plain crate more style… so I did the next best thing… grabbed a natural wood branch to make it sing!

With a twist of course! This branch addition is designed in a very unique way so you could this easy concept for nearly any planter you want to revamp!

Not only did this little portable and durable planter solve the problem, it turned out SO cool! Here’s what I did:

DIY wood crate planters with unique branch handle stake


Supplies I used:


Wood crate of any size (mine measures 

Reclaimed wood planks if you wish to make a crate from scratch

Cedar strips

A natural branch

Stencil: Hydrangeas Fresh Cut Dried from HERE

Dome-tipped stencil brush

Spanish moss

Thin twine

Fusion Mineral Paint in Ash (get 10% off)

Cordless drill

Hole drill bit

Rubber mallet

Rocks or gravel for drainage

Potting soil

Similar crate above: Fruit box wood crate

1. Choose your crate of choice.

Most any ready-made crate of any size will work!

While I didn’t document how I made this particular DIY crate, below is a brief description:

How to build wood crate planters:


  1. Choose 1 – 2 boards that are the same size.
  2. Cut 3 boards all the same length. One will be for the bottom, and 2 will be for the front and back.
  3. Position the bottom in place, then pick up the two sides to create a U shape.
  4. Measure the width to fill in each side on the left and right, then cut boards to fit.
  5. Dry-fit the boards together to create a full crate shape.
  6. Predrill holes where you will be using screws to assemble the crate.
  7. Screw the crate together.

Other DIY wood crate builds to refer to:

Window box planter crates

Chestnuts wood crate snack box with lid

How to build a wood crate

drilling drainage holes into wood crate planters

Drill drainage holes


2. Drill drain holes along the bottom of the crate.

I use a hefty drill bit that makes the largest holes possible.

Tip: Drill bit kits HERE are the easiest way to get all you need in one fell swoop!

adding drainage to wood planters

Cover drainage holes with gravel


3. Cover the drain holes with rocks or gravel for improved drainage.

I like to use small rocks or gravel. And if I don’t have enough to fill the entire bottom, I’ll at least place the rocks over the drainage holes.

planting flowers in a wood crate planter

Plant flowers in planters


4. Plant flowers in the crate, then lightly water.

I like to use new container potting soil which is designed to work best in planters. It has a nice mix of soil plus additives so the soil doesn’t compact nor repel too much water.

adding spanish moss to an outdoor planter crate

Add spanish moss over soil


5. Place spanish moss over the soil.

This is an option, however I like the look of spanish moss, so it adds a unique, rustic decorative touch to your planters.

See how plain the crate is? That’s when I decided to push ahead with a few more details to make it look a lot more interesting! Here’s what I did:

cutting cedar strips to make plant labels

Build a branch handle designed like stakes


6. Cut 4 cedar strips or small boards to the length desired.

Decide how tall you’d like your branch handle, then cut the 4 boards to that length.

7. Cut a 45 degree angle at one end of each board to create stake tips.

Or you can leave the ends straight if you desire to attach your handle to the inside of your crate sides.

predrilling holes into cedar strips

8. Pile the two boards on top of each other with stake tips pointing in opposite directions.

9. Pre-drill a pilot hole through the straight end of the stakes.

creating stake styled handles to a wooden planter

10. Insert a medium length screw into the holes, then fan the boards apart, with the stake points on the inside.

predrilling a branch to create a tote handle

11. Cut a branch of choice just under the length of your crate.

You’ll need a branch thick enough to be able to be attached with screws. Place the branch inside the miter saw, then make straight cuts on both sides. 

joining cedar strips to branch handle for wood crate planter

12. Position each stake end screw into the drilled holes of the branch, then finish drilling in the screws.

stake styled branch handle for planter tote

Now you have the ability to spread the stake sides to the depth of your chosen crate!

But let’s add one more detail to make this little wooden planter really shine!

creating a plant label with cedar strips

Stencil a simple garden sign for planters


13. Cut a cedar strip to the length desired, then end each tip with two 45 degree angles on each end to create a point.

14. Predrill holes where the plant label will be attached.

stenciling a flower sign onto a garden label

stenciling Fresh Cut Dried on a plant label

View Hydrangeas stencil HERE

15. Stencil a garden-themed saying on the cedar strip.

I used the Hydrangeas stencil from HERE, and just used the words Fresh Cut * Dried.

The mini garden sign or plant label was stenciled in Fusion Mineral Paint’s Ash. (get 10% off paint HERE)

How to stencil for flawless results:


  1. Use a dome-tipped stencil brush.
  2. Dip brush in paint, then remove most paint onto a rag.
  3. Tap or swirl paint through stencil until desired effect is met.

Learn more tips on how to stencil from THIS POST.

Adding twine and screws to a plant label

16. Insert screw tips into drilled holes.

17. Wrap thin twine several times on each end in the screw area, tieing to the back.

Leave the twine loose enough to move over top of the screws once the plant label is attached to the crate.

tapping in branch handle into wood planter

Adding the branch handle to crate planters


16. Tap the handle into the planter using a rubber mallet.

Isn’t it cute?!

DIY plant label on wood planter

Attaching the plant label / sign


17. Screw on the plant label to the front of the crate, then move the twine over top of the screws.

wood crate planters with branch handle

The finished DIY wood crate planter


And the end result is an adorable DIY wood crate planter that resembles a toolbox! It’s the perfect addition for a front porch, back patio or anywhere you wish!

Isn’t it unique? I love the fact that such small details can really revamp a plain crate into something extra special as outdoor planter boxes!

DIY wood crate planters with branch handle outdoors

What I love most about the wood crate planter is that it can be moved wherever I desire. So for now, it’s placed against the house in a sitting area in the backyard, which has a slight overhang to better protect the flowers from extreme rain downpours. 

Yet they will still get full sun. I think the flowers being somewhat protected will help them grow better this time of year.

Plus, this little bit of greenery adds some decoration for this sitting area as well.

DIY wood planter in an outdoor sitting area

Now all that’s left to do is get out there and enjoy a fresh hot coffee, while admiring my cute little new wood crate planter!

Will you be making any custom planters of your own this summer? Here’s a few ideas on how to go about it…

wood crate planters with branch handle

DIY wood crate planters with unique branch handle stake

Funky Junk Interiors
Love unique flower planters? Here's how to make any crate resemble a toolbox or tote with a clever branch handle with stakes! Get all the details in this post!


  • Choose a simple crate or build one from scratch.

How to build a simple crate:

  • Cut 3 boards at your desired length.
  • Dry fit the boards together in a U shape.
  • Measure the two ends, and cut boards to fit.
  • Pre-drill holes where you will attach with screws.
  • Assemble crate with screws using a cordless drill.

Preparing the crate

  • Drill drain holes in the bottom, and cover with gravel.
  • Fill crate with potting soil, and plant flowers.
  • Add some spanish moss on top of the soil.

Building a branch handle with stakes

  • Cut 4 cedar lath strips to desired height of handle. Cut 45 degree angle at one end on each board.
  • Stack the cedar strips on top of each other, and predrill a hole near the straight tops. Stack two, and add a screw in the hole. (do this to both stacks)
  • Cut a thick branch to your desired toolbox length and predrill holes in each side.
  • Screw the joined cedar strip bundles to each end of branch, with long tips on the inside when spread apart.
  • Push the handle into the soil to resemble a tote handle.

Create a plant label

  • Cut a cedar strip to desired length. Angle the ends with two 45 degree cuts.
  • Pre-drill a hole at each end of the board.
  • Stencil "Fresh cut* Dried" using black paint.
  • Screw label to the side of the crate.


Get this full tutorial with loads of great photos at Funky Junk Interiors at:
Did you try this tutorial?Share it on Instagram and tag @funkyjunkinteriors and include #funkyjunkinteriors so we can check it out!

More unique DIY toolbox planters to make:


drill handled tool box planters as flower vase

Junk style one board toolbox with drill handle


Drill handled wooden toolbox

Drill handled toolbox planter

Drill handled wooden toolbox planters with flowers

Pallet wood drill handled toolbox planter

reclaimed wood picket toolbox planters with squiggly branch handle

99+ DIY toolboxes to make (above)

branch handled wooden toolbox coffee caddy

Branch handled coffee toolbox caddy

shed window box planters with growing flowers

Build your own DIY window box planters

Visit all my DIY toolboxes HERE

See all other gardening ideas HERE

Check out many other unique outdoor projects HERE

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Categories: All Cool Projects, DIY, Junk Drawer, Old Sign Stencils, Outdoors, Reclaimed wood projects, Seasonal, Summer, Tool boxes
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4 thoughts on “DIY wood crate planters with unique branch handle stake

  1. CUTE,are the stakes,the drill handles, and wood attached to the boxes? To be able to carry them by the drilled handle or wood?

    • Thanks Lynn! This handle stake is not attached to the crate so no, you couldn’t carry it with the handle as-is. It’s just a stake style, but you could, if you sized the branch to fit the total width of the crate base. I left those instructions inside the post as well.

  2. Love the crate with branch holder. Read all the instructions and it’s not hard at all. The way one can style a crate is endless and I live branches, twigs and wood. I am a true carpenter’s daughter. I’d like to experiment. Thanks for sharing.

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