While browsing the aisles at our local salvage yard, we wandered into the lighting section and happened upon a huge selection of inexpensive paned glass ceiling fixtures ($2-10$). We had just seen this great tutorial and a bulb went off (he he) to use these abandoned lights to make greenhouse style planter boxes. You could create a much simplified version by just resting the gutted glass on top of a wooden slab, but we wanted to create a more custom look. You’ll need some woodworking skills, tool access, or someone with a workshop to help you put this project together!
CLICK HERE for the full project how-to after the jump!
Our directions are for a six-sided fixture but can be altered for whatever shape you find. Keep in mind that the more complicated the shape is- the more difficult it may be to make the planter box! There are a lot of six and eight sided ones out there, but we also came across some beautiful square and pyramids too. If all the sides are the same size it is much easier to figure out a formula for measuring the wood. Also be sure to look at the light “guts” of the fixture to make sure they can be taken apart. Sometimes the base of the fixture is welded onto the glass frame and can’t be removed without cutting. All of ours came apart with a few screws and a snipping of wire.
What you’ll need:
**Your project/measurements will vary from ours depending on the fixture and wood you choose for the planter base.
Glass paned light fixture
Wood (larger piece to make the base and long piece for the sides)
Miter saw/ miter box and hand saw
1. Start by gutting the light fixture so just the glass paned piece remains.
2. Next, trace the shape of the glass piece onto the wood for the bottom of the planter. The cuts will be made inside that traced line by ½ the thickness of the wood used for the sides. This will allow the glass piece to sit on top of the sides of the planter. We used ¾” wood for our sides, so we measured in 3/8” (half of ¾”) from each line of the tracing and made our cuts there. At the end of this step we had a flat wooden hexagon shape with 3” long sides. It should fit completely inside the glass piece.
3. Now that the bottom is cut to the shape of your fixture determine how tall you want the sides of the planter box. Cut a long piece of wood to the desired height (we made ours 5” tall). This long piece will be cut to create the angled sides of the planter.
4. Next, use a protractor (or simple math) to determine the angles of your shape. All side angles should add up to 360. Divide each angle by 2 to determine the angle at which the sides will be joined. Our hexagon base was made up of six 60 degree angles; so we divided that by 2 and set the miter saw to 30 degrees.
5. Measure the length of a side of the hexagon base (ours were 3”). This measurement will also be the interior length of the sides of the planter (since the cuts are angled out they are slightly longer at on end).
6. Take your long piece of wood and make your first angled cut on one end. Measure over from the interior of that cut by 3” (or whatever your side length is) and mark it. Flip the wood and make your second cut. (You’ll know your cuts are correct if they are trapezoids, not parallelograms.) Continue measuring and flipping and cutting until you have all six sides cut.
7. As you cut your sides begin to fit them together in the way they will be attached to the hexagon bottom. This is a good time to sand/cut any excess if they aren’t fitting just right.
8. Once you have all the pieces cut it is time to glue the edges together. We used a nail gun to tack pieces in place with finishing nails. Let it dry overnight and paint/stain however you’d like. Put a plastic liner in the bottom to protect surfaces from leaks and add your plants!