D.I.Y. timber dowel herb planter


Project Overview

Build your own herb planter using timber dowel. Bring lush, natural textures into your kitchen to not only spruce up your design but also provide a neat place to store your fresh herbs.

Photo credit: Natasha Dickins and Sue Stubbs. Continue to step-by-step instructions

Step by Step Instructions

1 Measure up
2 Apply adhesive
3 Make the base
4 Clad the box
5 Position edging around the top
6 Round-over corners
7 Waterproof the inside
8 Apply the varnish
9 Ready to use
  • Step 1. Measure up

    Measure then use a mitre saw to cut the 90mm x 12mm oak into three 300mm pieces for the box base and sides, and two 114mm ends. Cut the edging into four 340mm sides and four 90mm ends. Use a clamp to set up a stopper on the mitre saw to cut the 8mm dowel into 110 pieces, each 120mm in length.

  • Step 2. Apply adhesive

    To make the box, apply adhesive along the sides to butt them against the base then apply adhesive around the ends to position them against the box assembly. Use masking tape to hold the joints while the adhesive dries, tapping in nails to secure the ends and sides.
  • Step 3. Make the base

    To make the base, position edging under the box to fit over the 12mm sides and ends to protrude by 8mm. Apply timber adhesive and tap in nails at least 40mm from the ends to avoid splitting the timber.
  • Step 4. Clad the box

    To clad the box, apply adhesive liberally over one side. Position the first dowel flush with the edge and then add dowel to cover the side, stretching masking tape over the side to hold the dowel as it dries. Clad the next side, applying adhesive, positioning the dowel and holding with another length of tape.
  • Step 5. Position edging around the top

    For capping, position the edging around the top of the dowel. Apply adhesive and tap in nails 40mm from the ends to avoid splitting the timber, checking the nails go into the dowel. Inside, run a bead of adhesive around the top of the box and the dowel cladding. 
  • Step 6. Round-over corners

    Use 180-grit abrasive paper with a sanding block to round-over the corners of the edging, then fold the paper to sand the cladding, removing any breakout, splinters and excess adhesive.
  • Step 7. Waterproof the inside

    Waterproof inside the box by liberally applying a coat of bitumen rubber with a brush, ensuring there are no gaps or bubbles. Leave to dry then apply a second coat. When dry, use the abrasive paper to sand off any spills of the bitumen rubber.

  • Step 8. Apply the varnish

    Holding the aerosol varnish can 20cm from the planter, apply at least two coats of varnish on the sides, base and top; leave to dry between coats.

    Tip: wear a mask and make sure the area is ventilated when working with airborne materials like spray paint.

  • Step 9. Ready to use

    Now you've got a herb planter fit for your fresh herbs!

    Tip: The dowel cladding is higher than the side to allow for the wider lips of 95mm herb pots. Squeeze the edges of the pots together slightly to position them in the planter.

Tools and Materials


  • Safety equipment
  • Measuring tape
  • 210mm compound mitre saw
  • Irwin Quick Grip 300mm medium duty bar clamp
  • Claw hammer
  • 50mm synthetic paintbrush


  • Sanding block with 180-grit abrasive paper
  • 1.2m length 90mm x 12mm oak
  • 2.4m length 20mm x 4mm square edge pine
  • 15 1.8m lengths Pinetrim 8mm dowel
  • Timber adhesive
  • Painter’s masking tape
  • 20 x 1.25mm 100g bullet head nails
  • Gripset Betta bitumen rubber waterproofing membrane
  • Cabot's 300g Satin Cabothane Oil Based Polyurethane Aerosol

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