Wood Shim Window Box Planter

By Kate Riley April 27, 2012

Greetings all and happy weekend!  I’ll be spending the next three days at our Alma Project house sprucing up a few rooms, it’s a lot of work but I can’t wait to get it all done with the help of a small crew of volunteers!  Also, next week I’m co-teaching a gardening workshop in partnership with the Home Depot in Roseville, California on Thursday evening – be sure to come if you’re local!  I’m assigned the task of inspiring the participants with a few creative ideas for container gardening, so it was time to work some magic with some ordinary stuff found at my local HD store.

This planter project is one of the few ideas I’m preparing for the workshop and I thought I’d share it with you all today.  It’s a plain window box that I dressed up with painted wood shims that were trimmed to fit the dimensions of the box to form a one-of-a-kind planter.  Here’s the quick step-by-step to make your own version in less than two hours.

wood shim window box planter after

First, gather up some supplies which include: a wood planter box (I chose this one), several dozen wood shims (I used approximately 40 shims), wood glue, craft paint or paint samples from the paint department, small paintbrushes, miter box or compound miter saw (not shown), spray primer (optional), hot glue gun (optional).


planter box supplies


Start by dry brush painting the shims in four to five different colors of choice, or you can water down regular latex paint with a few teaspoons of water, that works too.  For a rustic or weathered look, as you brush on the paint, leave some of the wood from the shims exposed.  I also ended up mixing in some white and deep blue craft paints with the paint sample jars I purchased.  Allow your shims to dry – it takes only a few minutes. 

paint shims with paint samples


This next step is optional but I wanted the base of my window box to be white, so I primed it with Zinsser Cover Stain primer.

prime window box


Lay out your approximate design on top of the box…

shim layout


… then use a miter box or compound miter saw to make the cuts.

compoud miter saw cuts


Use the wood glue applied to the backside of the shims to secure them to the window box.  The wood glue will give you the greatest grip in the long run, but I also found using a few beads of hot glue on the back of the shims in addition to the wood glue held the shims in place well.  A little hot glue also allowed me to work faster so I didn’t have to wait for the wood glue to completely dry before rotating the window box around to finish the other side.

glue to backside


With shims, you’ll notice that one edge is thin or tapered, and the other is thick. I overlapped the thin edges and butted the thick edges against each other in the final design (seen below). I also attached the shims vertically along the sides to form an opposite stripe effect along both edges of the planter box.

shim planter box detail cg


The end result was a unique window box planter that looks great both indoors and out.  Your annuals, herbs, or succulents can be planted directly inside the box, or set inside while kept in smaller containers.  Makes a great centerpiece too!

shim window box in kitchen cg

wood shim planter detail cg

wood shim decorative planter box cg

*all supplies for this garden project courtesy of the Home Depot.


  1. Freaking adorable!! Love the concept, love the paint colours, love the whole look. You are amazing!!

  2. Oh, I grew up in Roseville – wished I stilled lived there – would totally come see you. Great project and I Loved the wood table from yesterday – can’t wait to make one this summer

  3. We have two Home Depots in Roseville. Can you let your readers know which location you will be at next Thursday?

    • Two HDs in Roseville! Wow, that’s amazing! I’ll find out which one and update the post!

  4. Very nice project Kate..and they could be any colors you choose..Have fun teaching at HD..Wish I wasn’t on the other side of the country so I could come say Hi!!!

  5. hi Kate -the colours you have chosen are just gorgeous. your photos look great – very springtime. much needed here in Australia via blogosphere as we are in Autumn and it’s been very chilly lately and i’ve got my first cold for the season….
    cheers Fiona

  6. What a great idea! I love this flower box! Pinning!! I’m your newest follower! Would love if you stopped by and linked up to the Pomp Party!

    Jill @ Create.Craft.Love.

  7. Way to take an average planter into the realm of awesome. Nice project that even only relatively crafty folks can do.


  8. Hi Kate, nice job on the box! Can you tell me what color the garden chair is painted? I’ve always loved the color of it. I think I saw you mention the color before, but I could not find it after some searching around. Thanks!

  9. So simple yet so vibrant! Love the colors and texture. But I have to say, I hate home depot. I refuse to shop there. Ever! so many reassons not enough time. But the one issue that started it all was the horrible customer service. Notoriously horrible customer service! I understand that they carry many of the resources you need, but I will avoid them till the end of time.

  10. Cute idea for the window box planter! I know another person said it reminded them of “sea glass” colors, but it would work for me also since I can see the colors that are also in the “Southwest” color family. If I made one of these for outside, I would definitely seal it with something to protect it from the outside elements. Once I get my porch re-built with something like “Trex” will definitely be making some of these planters for the outside to hang from the railing areas.

    Kate ~ What sealer would you recommend to use on these, if being used outside? I didn’t see anything mentioned about use of a sealer. Thanks for reading, will look forward to your response. Have a great week! :)

  11. How did I miss this one! I love it! It’s rustic and modern all at the same time. So one question how can I convince my paranoid husband to start letting me by some saws? Seriously, any suggestions. I feel so limited. Lesley

  12. Saw this on Apartment Therapy and pinned it. When I double checked the source I has happy and not really surprised it was something wonderful you did. I plan to do one in shades of white. Maybe another one for the craft room for supplies.

Leave a comment!

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Lately on Instagram (@centsationalstyle)