Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Recycled:- Space saver/pot holder

I originally posted this tutorial on my craft blog - Coach House Crafting.

The weather here in the Highlands is a tad naff at the moment. It's either wet, windy or the ground is too frozen to be worked.
So what do us tenacious gardeners do when we can't garden? We build!
This is a project I completed a couple of years ago with the intention of making some form of space saver that meant I could use some of the vertical space in my greenhouse (no polytunnel back then) for pots of young veggie seedlings.
This is what I came up with:-

garden spacesaver, pot holder, recycled garden

It really does do the job I intended it for and it cost me nothing more than scrap wood I already had, plastic milk cartons I saved for the project and half a day of my time.
So simple to make and yet a great workhorse - don't you just find that the most simplest of items are the ones we find invaluable? This little tool is in work throughout the year, every year!
Here's how I made it.

First you should gather all your tools and materials - I never do this because I make stuff up as I go along and never really know what I'll need until I need it but I'm gradually accepting the fact that preparation would save me a lot of time and frustration.
But basically you'll need:-

  • Scrap wood. I used roofing batten for the frame and lath for the pot supports.
  • Electric screwdriver or hammer.
  • Screws or nails.
  • Tape measure.
  • Hand saw or electric cutter.
  • Plastic milk cartons. I used 4 pinters or 6 pinters, the kind with a handle.
First off make a frame from your batten, screw it together and then add corner supports. (I didn't have a particular size in mind, I make these things up as I go along - that's just how I roll)

recycled milk cartons, garden space saver, garden pot holder

Next we need to give the frame some feet for support. I used batten and 3 x2" scrapwood. Once you have the feet cut simply screw or nail them to the base of your frame, like this:-

 garden spacesaver, recycled wood, thrifty garden, milk carton recycled

You can see in the above photo how I screwed the batten to the frame first and then screwed the 3 x 2 into the batten, I found this double feet system gave it more stability.

Next I made the rectangle pieces of wood that will hold the carton supports.
For this I used scrap ply and cut 6 rectangles (3 for each side), each rectangle then had a groove cut out of each end deep enough for the carton supports to fit into.
Like this:-
recycled milk carton, scrap wood pot holder, garden space saver

3 of these supports were then attached to the inside of each side of the frame. I didn't make any accurate measurements for the placement of the rectangles I just went by eye.
It should then look like this:-

Next I made the carton supprts and I used scrap lath for this. I cut 6 lengths (3 for each side) slightly longer than the actual width of the frame and then simply slotted them into the grooves of the rectangles we just attached.

Finally give the whole thing a protective coat of something - I used Cuprinol 'Garden Shades' and leave to dry.
While it's drying you can gather together your milk cartons, cut each one all the way around just below the handle (we need that handle intact with the top half of the carton) and simply slot each handle through one of the carton supports.
Your space saver is now ready for you to either fill with pots or to plant directly into the milk cartons (the screw cap can be taken off each carton as needed to aid drainage).

garden space saver, scrap wood garden pot holder

I hope this little idea and tutorial is of some use to other thrifty


Linked to:-
Ginger snap crafts
Lil Luna
Bear rabbit Bear 
Tilly's Nest 


  1. This is a great idea! I don't have a greenhouse but I good still do something like this in my window during the winter.

    1. Thank you for the comment Tara.
      This project would be perfect for a window - maybe on a smaller scale? Although if you have patio/french doors a full sized one would still work. It definitely saves space.
      Have a go!


  2. Wonderful idea and wonderful tutorial! I totally understood your written directions and the photos helped too.
    via Tilly DHBH, Pat

    1. Thank you, I'm glad the tutorial made sense and glad you like it. :)

  3. hi. i'm following the "down home" blog hop. i would love for you to visit my blog and follow if you like it.


    new follower bev

  4. Nice idea. I have a wonderful south facing bay window that would love something like this. I am going to forward this post to my carpenter.
    Drop in and vi1sit my Vermont garden and herd at www.tailgait.blogspot.com
    Happy New Year

  5. wow.. nice idea.. can i sharing in my blog? Tq


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