Read It and Bloom: Recycled DIY Card Catalog Drawer Garden Planter

Flower planters made from card catalog drawers.

Be creative and sustainable–use salvaged card catalog drawers as backyard garden planters!

I am busy in the throes of planning a graduation party for my daughter at the end of the month. Nothing too fancy, it’s just going to be a backyard family affair, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to any less festive. We are planning as eco-friendly an affair as possible–there won’t be any disposable cups.

I’m also trying to decorate as green as possible, too. While I did give in on ordering some balloons, that’s where buying ready-made decorations end. Instead, I am getting creative and making my own decorations and using reusables in the making too. Like the party garland I will be making spelling out “Congratulations”, which will be way more personal than store-bought versions. I will also be decorating some clear glass bottles (leftover beer bottles, anyone?) using glass paint markers, and will be using them as bud vases for table tops.

By far, my favorite project is the library card catalog drawers that I’m using as planters for flowers in my daughter’s school colors. I’m reusing something that would most likely end up in a landfill and using it for something that I can use again and again–who doesn’t need more fun planters for the deck?

I was lucky enough to be gifted a couple of drawers by a thrifty friend, but you can often find them at antique dealers, auction houses, estate sales and even on Craigslist. Of course, you can also use whatever you can get your hands on to make fun and unexpected planters–old watering cans, leftover paints cans, salvaged washtubs and even broken down pallets. Green Chic never goes out of style and it’s sustainable too!

Here’s how I made my Card Catalog Planters


Library card catalog drawers
Hammer and carpenter nail (or an electric drill)
Potting soil
Flower seeds or plants of your choosing


  1. Clean the drawers and remove any dividers.
  2. On a safe surface–not your kitchen table–use the hammer and nail or a drill to poke drainage holes into the bottom of the drawers.
  3. Add soil and plant your seeds or plants.
  4. Water and enjoy!

I think they turned out great and I’m super excited to show them off at the party.

image: Jen Wallace

Jen Wallace

Jen Wallace shares her indie life by writing about making, creating, cooking, learning, playing, decorating, and pretty much anything else that strikes her fancy from indie biz tips to the modern history of the American hemline.