Upgrading from Cardboard to Wood: A Seed Packet Storage Box

Along with other things, I’m a seed hoarder. I know they lose germination potential after a certain amount of time, but I just can’t take that chance. What if there is one more forget-me-not in that packet waiting patiently in the dark to see the dampness of soil and the light of day? Because of this I-just-can’t-get-rid-of-them tendency, I’ve accumulated quite a few seed packets.

(To be fair, after taking this pic I threw out some of the ones from way back. How many packets of basil seed do I really need? Especially if one of them is from 2007. True story.) I’ve stored all of my seeds in a nondescript cardboard box for as long as I can remember, and have had ‘organize seeds’ on my to-do list almost as long. Well, the other evening, inspiration hit and I marched down to the basement and made myself a seed-organizing box. (Brag alert: I am proud to say that I did this completely by myself. No hubs help at all! I didn’t even have to ask where anything was :D)
I had a few goals 1) Use only what I had on hand, 2) Make something that I wouldn’t want to get rid of next month, and 3) Organize my seed packets effectively. As luck would have it we had an extra 8′ length of 1×4 in the basement, so I designed the box around it. After measuring my seed packets, I came up with a plan.
The general design is basically a long box: 18” side panels and two 5.5” wide end caps. Each side is two 1×4 lengths stacked and attached via kreg jig pocket holes. Originally, I was going to inset the end caps, like this:
but when I came up with my finishing plan I realized I’d rather have the end caps exposed to the front. Here’s a pic of half of the box, pre construction:
Before I put it together, I painted the long pieces in chalkboard paint and the end caps got the bar tray treatment: copper flashing! (I had some left over from that project) Honestly, when I thought of this I felt like I had a stroke of genius: metal and wood – natural elements in harmony! Rustic-industrial, how en-vogue! Yeah, I got a little stoked.
So to flash the ends (i.e. wrap them in copper), I first made a template that I’d need to cut out. I started with an 8×10 piece of printer paper, and wrapped the ends like a present, cutting out the places where things were doubled up. (No need to have copper beneath copper, you know what I mean?)
My template ended up looking like this:
Then, I just taped it to the copper sheet and used scissors to cut out the shape. Easy peasy.
To apply the copper, I also just wrapped the end caps like a present, but the good news is that when you bend copper, it stays that way, so once the wood was wrapped, it was wrapped. To secure the corners, just in case, I tapped in a few brass finishing nails on the inside (the same ones I used here).
Then I just did a little (Kreg) jig to put it together, and I had a box frame. Sweet! The only thing left was the bottom, and to be honest, it was kind of an afterthought and consequently, it’s not exactly the most elegant thing in the world. And the Men’s gymnastics finals were on, so I had to hurry.
I traced the bottom opening onto a piece of 3/4” MDF from the scrap pile, and then used a jig saw to cut it out. Then, I tapped in a few nails for the bottom to rest on and popped it in. But hey, it’s sturdy enough, I mean really, it’s only holding seeds!
Here’s what it looks like from the inside:
Down the line, if I want it to hold something heavier, or want it to be more functional, I’ll have to do a little re-design. So, with the bottom in place, here is my seed organization box (minus the seed organization system…that’s still in the works.) Also, I know, cheesy saying, but I’m a cheesy girl. I also can’t wait to think of season/holiday related seed puns to change it up.
Hey, it hold’s seed packets, how nifty!
A copper side-panel shot:
And here it is in it’s more permanent residence on our bedroom rope shelves:
Ugh, I’m the worst at styling. Regardless, not bad for an evening of work! I do still have the issue of actual organization within the box to think of. Soon!
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1 Comment

  1. Lizzie

     /  September 8, 2012

    I was glad to see your seed box on your shelf inside because all the previous pictures made the box look so huge that i couldn’t image how big those seed packets were. Now it all looks normal and it is a cool looking box. As far as organizing, I would simply put cardboard dividers with a tab on top that stands up highter than the seed packets. You could get poster board and make a template to cut out your custom fitted dividers and then label the tabs as you see fit depending on your seed variety i.e. tomtoes, peppers, lettuce assuming you have a few different variety of each vegetable. And then you would have to have your flower tabs too. OK that is my two cents.


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