DIY Stencil Garden Plant Crate

DIY Stencil Garden crate for the car to transport new plant purchases.

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DIY Garden Plant Crate

Have you ever gone plant shopping only to have your purchases crammed into a plastic bag?

That drives me crazy because I remember the days when nurseries had cardboard boxes available.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who remembers this…

To detour this little frustration, I decided to make a new garden crate for the car.

You can do the same because this is an easy project built from a cedar fence board.

Recycled Crate project

The Beginning of a Garden Crate


Let’s pause for a moment because this crate was actually recycled from Robert’s hobby.  You see, I’ve been helping him downsize his stuff and in the process all these wooden crates became available.

I remember him building these like it was yesterday.

It was actually a couple years ago and in about an hour he turned a few fence boards into a stack of storage boxes.

With all these fabulous crates available it seemed like a good idea to make something so earlier this week, I spent an afternoon in the workshop.

Now when I go plant shopping, I can place my selections in this crate and not be concerned with broken stems or leaves…


Cut and Build Tips

This project is a simple build using new pine or cedar fence boards.  Make to your desired measurements and drill pilot holes before connecting.

Rope handles are optional by drilling two large holes at each end if you like this idea.

  • Cut two walls at the same size.
  • Cut two ends at the same size.
  • Then connect the ends to the walls using finishing nails.
  • Next up we add the bottom.


Adding Crate Bottom Boards

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Adding Crate Bottom Planks

These crates were unique originally, they had a tray for the bottom which means I had to do a little revamp to make this box garden friendly.

I took another fence board and closed in the bottom with planks cut to fit, connecting with finishing nails.

This made the crate sturdy and I was finally ready to paint.


If you’re not into building and like things premade or precut then check out the following crates online.

Each link offers a great option for a similar concept perfect for transporting plants.

Project Supplies

Finishing Supplies – The Fun Stuff

When the supplies were gathered, I painted the inside and bottom of the crate with midnight sky.

Then I painted the exterior using driftwood, this is a calming color.


Stenciling and Painting the Crate

Stenciling the Crate

The Garden Shop and Herb stencil came from Funky Junk’s Old Sign Stencils, love these and the details were perfect.

This transfer was a lot of fun using the color, midnight sky and you can get my complete stencil tips here.

My best stencil advice is to always do a test on scrap wood before applying to your project and remember less paint on the brush is best…


Get more from Garden Up Green and Check out Carole’s books here.


Finished Plant Purchase Crate


Project Complete

As you can see, I stenciled a little different on each side making sure to use the word “garden” twice.

  • Then I transferred, plants, bulbs and seeds on both ends.
  • Added locally grown from the herb stencil above the handle.
  • A flower was also added near the handle.
  • When everything dred a little sanding was added to rough up the edges.
  • I finished with a nice clear wax from Dixie Belle Paint.

The wax protects the paint and wood as it travels from one place to the next.

I have to admit, it felt pretty great to get back in the workshop and make something new, it’s been a long time coming…

If stenciling and wood crafting looks like something you may enjoy then you may like these ideas, Stenciled Market Bags and Inspired Garden Signs Here.


Thanks for joining me and hope you have a great day.

Smiles and Sunshine, Carole West

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  1. Sandi says:

    This cute project would also be great to store items in the greenhouse:) sounds like I’m spoiled, my nursery has cardboard boxes for the plants with purchase. I seen someone comment on the plastic trays, I like to use them in my greenhouse when I transfer my plants to the bit larger pots… I find them very useful for that, and they drain obviously lol thanks for sharing this cute project

    1. Carole West says:

      I agree they would make awesome greenhouse storage. Robert had several of these leftover so I used some for storage in our workshop and because they were stackable they didn’t take up much space. Win – win…

  2. Jemma says:

    Well I love this and yes I remember those amazing cardboard boxes that we all loaded up with blooming petunias, sassy marigolds and top heavy tomato plants. The good old days, where you met up with neighbors thrilled with their blossoming treasures.
    You have really elevated this handy, creative and long lasting garden crate and the rope handles are fantastic!
    You were the creative source behind me discovering that I enjoy stenciling. Although, my hand isn’t nearly as steady as yours!
    Happy Valentine weekend, Carole and Robert!

    1. Carole West says:

      I knew somebody would remember those planting boxes. I felt like they said, “thank you for shopping with us.”
      Plant shopping is the best and you should make one of these boxes. Have Dave cut the wood and you’re off.
      For Valentines we’ve been watching old chick flick movies from back in the late 90’s and such. Robert is a gem and I’ve really enjoyed it.
      Told him it’s been the best Valentines ever… Happy Valentines to y’all and enjoy!

      Hugs, Carole

  3. Patti says:

    These are so cute. I want one! I really like the fact that it isn’t too tall, and I love the rope handles. Definitely something to make Before spring.

    1. Carole West says:

      Have your hubby cut a fence board and off you to go making your own. Rope was leftover from Robert – he’s a smart one…

  4. Christine says:

    What a fun AND functional project, Carole! I totally remember the boxes at our local nursery. Now all they have are plastic trays and let’s just say they aren’t very sturdy! This would be perfect to have a couple of these in the back of the truck come spring! Great tutorial and as always I love the colors you chose.

    1. Carole West says:

      I don’t like those plastic ones early and a lot of times they won’t let you use them because they have to go back to the plant wholesaler. I was thinking the other day a second one might be a good idea because they would also be great for placing groceries inside.

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