Our project stated wandering the aisles in Goodwill. It usually takes a couple rounds before the ideas start flowing. We stumbled across the CD tower and I thought, “Well there’s something not many people are using anymore.” We’d already been talking about planters and so the concept of a vertical planter quickly came to mind! We searched the kitchen containers for cute glass, metal, and ceramic containers that would fit on the shelves and leave room for the plants to grow. The tilted glass containers would work especially well for trailing plants.
With our purchases in hand we made a trip up to Sky Nursery in Shoreline. They share a parking lot with one of our stores, and happen to be run by some friends of ours. This charming nursery has a nice wide selection of herbs and we carefully picked out our favorites, trying to avoid the ones that grow three feet high and opting for the low lying and trailing herbs. This planter would also be a great way to start herbs from seed! Along with the herbs we bought gravel for the bottom of the containers to help drain the water. Our cashier told us that herbs have the best value for money because they cost much less in plant form and they taste better than what you can buy in the grocery store.
After we picked up some supplies from Dunn we were all ready to get started! The first step is to sand the CD tower. This will help create texture for the spray paint to stick to so make sure you get all the different surfaces.
Once it’s sanded grab a rag and some cleaner and wipe down everything. If you’re dealing with rusty metal, it’s not a lost cause! You can pick up rust cleaners at Dunn Lumber that will help clean the metal so that you can paint it. While you have the rag out you can grab the containers and give them a once over as well. All this cleaning will ensure that your spray paint has the best chance to stick to these slippery surfaces.
Next take your project outside or into an open garage. Lay out your plastic or newspaper and make sure you use something to secure it so that the wind doesn’t upset anything. Tape off any area of the CD tower that you don’t want to paint. Ours had a concrete base that we taped off before we started painting. Shake up your can and begin spraying. I recommend starting with the inner corners and tricky angles first because in the process of painting these you’ll probably partially hit the outside ones as well. This will help you get a more even coat.
While the tower is drying you can start taping off the containers. We dipped some, striped others, and completely coated one. This is a fun time to get creative! Take these back outside and paint with the necessary number of coats. We did about three. You can remove the tape after they’re dry to touch, but I would wait the full 24 hours before planting otherwise they’ll chip.
And since we’re on the subject, let’s talk about spray paint and glass. Spray painting is pretty much the easiest way to paint something, and for that reason we are recommending it. Spray paint on glass though is not the strongest connection. It will inevitably chip, but at that point you can always throw a plastic bag over the plant, tape it off and repaint it—so do not expect these to last forever, handle them carefully, and you’ll be fine.
When the containers are fully dry it’s time to plant the herbs. Pour in a thin layer of gravel into the containers. Decide which plants fit in which containers best. Transplant the herbs from their plastic containers into the new ones. Depending on the size of the containers and the plants this may include breaking up the roots, splitting the plants, or adding more soil. Pack down the soil. For easy watering make sure the base of the plant is below the rim of its container and not rising up in a mound.
To guarantee a happy transferal for your herbs, make sure that you fertilize and water them in their new homes. We killed two birds with one stone by using a liquid fertilizer that you combine with water and feed to the plants.
The final step is arranging the plants on the stand. We displayed them so that they’re all facing out one direction, but you can turn the stand sideways and have them coming out of both sides. You can also break up the plants with other things you’d like to display. This is your chance to have fun and be creative. And don’t forget to enjoy those herbs in your cooking!