Friday, May 23, 2014

How I made window boxes

So, one of the things I've been doing since last we spoke is making window boxes for the studio.  I had been thinking about how to do this for a LONG time--as in, since we built the studio--because for some reason I got it in my head that the studio should look like a cottage.  Maybe that's just me projecting my fantasy of abandoning the clutter of my actual home.

Anyhoo, it wasn't until last week that I finally got up and built the window boxes and now I'm kicking myself that I didn't do it sooner.  Better late than never and so forth.

"Hey Ella, let's go back outside.  I want to try to hang
the window boxes without asking Daddy for help."

"Well, good luck with that, Mama."

Several people have asked for a tutorial, so here in true VoHo style is a near step-by-step sequence of events.  I hesitate to call it a tutorial for reasons that will become clear momentarily.

1:  Ask your husband or some other trustworthy person to bring home a few pallets.  Or, if you're the go-getter type, go get some yourself.  Bring them home and break them down into separate pieces.  Try not to split any of the boards in the process.  (This is why you need two pallets--splitting boards is going to happen even if you are careful.  Just imagine how many more would split if you weren't careful.) Also, look around your shed and see if you have any other boards you can use.  If you happen to find a leftover fence board, give yourself a couple of extra points.

Here is where there would be a picture,
if I had had the forethought to ask Ella to take pictures
of this part of the process.  


2:  Measure your window, measure your boards, figure out which ones are long enough to use.  You need one for the bottom, and one for the front and back.  So three boards, all cut to the same length.
10-year-olds have their own ideas about photo composition and framing.

Your window box can be however long you want.  I made mine the length of the bottom of the window, but in retrospect I could have made them a little shorter and they would have been fine.  If your target window is very long, you might need to make several shorter boxes and butt them together when you put them up.  Just make a choice and work with that.

3:  Apply glue to the long edges of the boards then nail them together to form a U-shaped trough.  Be neat, but not anal.

Safety glasses:  check.
Work gloves:  check.
Groovy 4-month-old hair cut:  check.

The boards on the sides were from the pallet.
The board on the bottom was the fence board.
The shoes were from Target.

4:  Take the remainder of the bottom board, slide it into the end of the trough, measure and cut.  This piece will be the end piece.  You need two.  :)  Slide the cut pieces into place on each end, glue, nail.

Measure.  Mark.  Cut.

Glue.  Nail.  Repeat on the other end.

INTERMISSION.  At this point, you need to let the glue dry/cure.   This would be a nice time to go ask your Facebook friends whether or not that is really necessary.

5:  In the pile of lumber that was once your pallets, you will find some really sturdy support boards that all the other boards were nailed to.  The support board usually has a shape cut into it--sometimes it is a smooth curve, sometimes it is a sharp, uh, curve.  Measure your window box from front to back, then cut two pieces from the curved portion of the support board to make brackets.

This is the kind of thing I was going for.

And this is the part you are looking for.
If there are still nails in this part, you'll have to pull them out.

If you don't wear your safety glasses and one of the nails
goes flying up at your face and you can't move away in time
to keep it from hitting you in the eye and blinding you for life,
you'll have no one to blame but yourself. 

If your support board is regular boards with blocks nailed to it, you can use that.  It will look different but it will work.  Or you can skip this part because, shhhhhhhhhh:  the brackets are only there for show.

6:  Decide where you want the brackets, then glue and nail them in place on the bottom of the box.  You don't have to wait for the glue to dry to keep going, because,  shhhhhhhhhh:  the brackets are only there for show.

SEE???  Faux.  I don't know how they even have
the self-respect to call them brackets.

7:  Drill a few holes in the bottom board to allow for drainage.  You have to wait to do this part until after the brackets so you won't inadvertently cover the holes.

8:  Locate the position of the studs under your window.  You can use a stud finding tool, or you can use the old "knock and listen for the dull thud" method.   Drill holes in the studs.  Mark the locations on the back of your window box and drill holes there too.
You can hang your window box directly against the window frame if your windows slide open vertically.  If they swing open to the outside, you'll need to hang your window box lower to allow the swing without knocking all your pretty flowers down.

9:  You might need help for this part, or you might decide that you are a grown man/woman and don't need anybody's help because you have an "issue" with authority.  Either way: bolt that baby in place.

10:  Fill with some light potting mix, plant, admire.

Once again, for your viewing pleasure.

YOU DID IT!  Now go tell Facebook.


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