How to Make an Upcycled Suitcase Planter with Gas Pipe Legs

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Imagine that great vintage suitcase you?ve been meaning to do something with spilling over with blooms all summer long. This upcycled suitcase planter is a nifty raised bed, a way to give new life to old objects you might have lying around, and a unique piece of garden art all rolled into one. With a few materials and a little know-how, you can make this creative raised bed in an afternoon.Upcycled Vintage Suitcase Garden

Isn?t it lovely? This project is from wonderful book . It contains everything you need to know about how to install a garden pretty much anywhere by creating your own using various inexpensive or upcycled materials. The book also fills you in on how to get the most space out of your raised bed, gardening on a budget, rooftop and vertical gardens, and practical tips on growing medium, planting, and watering.

Tara is here today to give us step-by-step instructions on how to turn a suitcase and some gas pipe into a revolutionary raised bed. And be sure to check out the end of this post to see how you can enter to win your very own copy of Raised Bed Revolution!

How to Make an Upcycled Suitcase Planter with Gas Pipe Legs

By Tara Nolan

Step 1: Prep the Box

Prepare the box that will rest on top of the gas pipe legs. Here, the top of the suitcase was removed simply by unscrewing part of the hinge. The hinges were left on the actual box as decoration.

Prep a vintage suitcase to upcycle into a planter

Step 2: Drill Drainage Holes

Add holes to the bottom of your box using an electric drill. Lay it aside for now.

Drill drainage holes

Step 3: Assemble All Pipe Pieces

Have a rag close at hand as you put the gas pipe parts together; they can be quite greasy.

 

Screw one flange into one end of each 24-inch pipe. On the other end, add a tee fitting.

 

To continue the leg, add one 6-inch pipe to the opposite end of the tee. To the end of that, screw on the end cap. To the perpendicular end of the tee, add a 3 1?2-inch threaded pipe. Repeat for the three other legs.

Assemble gas pipe pieces

Use a tee to connect each set of end legs. Your project should now be in two pieces. Attach the two sets of end legs by screwing the 6-inch pieces of pipe to the middle tees of the two leg sets so they?ll be parallel to the ground. Attach them with one union. It will take a bit of maneuvering to twist everything so it?s just so and the feet rest on the ground evenly.

 

Step 4: Determine the Perfect Leg Placement on the Box

Set the whole leg construction with the flanges touching the box, and measure where they will go so you can screw them in place.

Leg placement for upcycled suitcase planter

Step 5: Assemble the Top and Bottom

Attach the flanges to the box with screws. When you turn it back over, the box can be leveled by twisting various sections of pipe as needed to make it longer or shorter.

Assemble the top and bottom

Line the box with landscape fabric; fill with soil to prepare it for planting.

Finishing the Legs

When left outdoors, the gas pipe legs will develop a natural rust-colored patina. Be careful where you place the new raised bed, however, because you don?t want the rust to leach onto the surface. To protect the gas pipe legs from rusting, apply a couple of coats of tung oil (a food-grade oil) with a brush or a rag, wiping it off between coats. You could also use a rustproof spray paint?either a clear coat or a vibrant color.

Plant it!

This suitcase planter is filled with a mix of edibles and ornamentals. Edibles have been used for their foliage, but they also can be snipped (herbs benefit from a regular trim) and added to summer recipes. The ornamentals add that wow factor?as both a thriller and a spiller?that you would find in a . The prolific flowers you see along the front are Supertunia? Pink Star Charm petunias (no deadheading* required!), and the herbs include lemongrass, chives, rosemary, and sage, with a colorful chard added to the mix. You can fill your suitcase planter with whatever your heart desires. Get creative!

Planting an upcycled suitcase raised bed

*Deadheading is the term used to describe the act of removing spent blooms from plants. This usually encourages more blooms to grow so the plant remains showy for longer. Some plants, however, like these Supertunias? and calibrachoas, another similar-looking annual, deadhead themselves, so no maintenance is generally required (unless they become leggy in the hot, dry conditions of summer; at that point you can cut them back a bit to thicken them out as they grow back in).

Reprinted with permission from Raised Bed Revolution by Tara Nolan ? 2016. Published by Cool Springs Press. Photography courtesy of Cool Springs Press.

About the Author

Tara Nolan

Tara Nolan is a freelance writer, editor and author with a diverse publishing background. She is a co-founder of the popular gardening website . Her first book, , was published in May, 2016, the same year that she also appeared as an edibles expert on a show called Garden Wisdom for WNED Buffalo, a PBS station. For over six years, Tara was the web editor of CanadianGardening.com, where she won a Canadian Online Publishing Award for the Seed to Supper newsletter.

GIVEAWAY Time!

I?m happy to be giving away a copy of  for more amazing tips from Tara. This contest is now closed. Congratulations to our winner!

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We all know begonias make beautiful flowers to enjoy in the garden, but did you know how many creative uses there are for them? You can eat them, craft with them, and even dye fabric with them! These versatile flowers can be used in all sorts of surprising, unique ways. Read on for lots of fun begonia crafts that will inspire you to get creative.

Get creative with Benary's BIG Begonias

Eat Them

Pick flowers early in the morning, as this is when they have the highest water content and are not at all droopy. Begonias have a sour, citrusy flavor and look wonderful topping canap?s or cupcakes, or garnishing a Pink Lady cocktail.

Canapes with begonia garnish

Cupcake with begonia topper

To make a Pink Lady, combine ? oz. each gin, lemon juice, and grenadine with the white from 1 egg. Strain and serve in a chilled glass with a sprig of rosemary and a few begonias floating on top.

Pink Lady cocktail with begonia and rosemary

 

 

Take a Begonia Bath

You can dry petals to use in begonia crafts and natural beauty recipes. They make a nice addition to soothing bath salts and give them a delicate floral scent.

Recipe:

Simply mix together 2 cups Epsom salts, 4 tablespoons baking soda, and a couple of handfuls of dried begonia petals.

If you like, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Store in a Mason jar and add a scoop or two to your next bath for a relaxing at-home spa experience.

Soothing begonia bath salts

Decorate a Phone Case

Make a unique and beautiful phone case with begonia petals. Press begonias (and any other botanicals you want) in a book and when they are fully dried, fix them with small dabs of glue to a plain phone case in the arrangement you like.

Pressed flower phone case with begonias

 

After the glue dries, apply 1-2 coats of clear epoxy resin to protect the flowers.

add 1-2 coats of epoxy resin

Customize Napkins

You can even use begonias to dye fabric! These personalized begonia-patterned napkins are fun and easy to make. Use 100% cotton fabric, as other material won?t take up the pigment well. Place a plastic bag underneath your napkin to protect your work surface. Lay fresh begonias face-down on the napkin and cover with another plastic bag. Gently hammer the begonia through the plastic bag until it feels flattened. Carefully remove the plastic bag and the begonia. The flower?s natural dye will have transferred to the fabric. Repeat until you have the pattern you want.

Napkin dyed with begonia flowers

Plant them in Unexpected Places

Try planting your begonias in surprising places. You can use almost anything as a planter, and items like colorful rain boots and vintage suitcases look positively adorable.

Plant begonias in a vintage suitcase

You can even use a plastic children?s? ball with the top cut out to make a creative planter. Make sure the item you choose as a planter has good drainage, or drill drainage holes if necessary. Line the container with newspaper before adding potting soil and then add some colorful begonias.

Begonia planted in a plastic ball

A BIG thank you to Benary for sharing their creative ideas for begonia crafts with us! Benary is the creator of BIG? Begonias, a new generation of begonia with remarkable traits, including substantial height and flower size, and the ability to thrive in sun or shade in a wide range of climates. Drought-tolerant and self-cleaning, BIG? is a big deal for gardeners looking for a low-maintenance, attention-getting plant. Check them out on and keep an eye out for these beauties in your local garden center!

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