Make Succulent Planters from Wood Blocks


I recently saw some planters made from old railroad ties that looked awesome. Unfortunately I don’t have any railroad ties laying around but I did have some lumber pieces that would work.

This seemed like an easy project but halfway through I had to ditch my current technique and go with something different. If I had a drill press and some type of boring bit or a router with a deeper bit I might have been able to build this faster. But I would have missed out on the experience of hacking this together.


1. I started with a block of wood that was 3 1/2 inches tall by 5 1/2 inches wide by 9 1/2 in length. Any block of wood will do but I suggest it be at least 3″ tall so a 2×4 is too thin.


2. I measured an inch away from each side.


3. The tools I initially chose included:
oscillating tool with a wood cutting attachment
3M Advanced Abrasives sandpaper
3M Tekk Protection safety gear to protect my eyes and lungs as I knew sawdust would be flying.


3. My first thought was to use my oscillating tool to cut the wood then use a wood chisel to carve out the hole.


4. This didn’t go as planned so I moved to option 2 which was a 1″ spade bit and although it was a bit tedious it didn’t take long to drill out a space that was about 2 inches deep.

succulents soil

5. Just add soil and succulent cuttings and water. If I was patient I would simply add succulent leafs and a few stems then cover with soil but that’s for the next project.


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Timothy Dahl

Timothy Dahl

Founder/EIC at Charles & Hudson
Timothy’s background includes stints at This Old House, ELLE DECOR, Metropolitan Home and Woman’s Day. His work has been published on Wired Design, Bob Vila, DIY Network, The Family Handyman and Popular Mechanics and he has been featured on the Martha Stewart radio show and as a speaker at the ALT Design Summit, K/BIS and the National Hardware Show.