DIY WOODEN HERB BOX || EASY TO DO IN A DAY

This DIY wooden herb box is easy to do in a day. The box itself can be assembled in just an hour, but it will take a bit more time than that to apply the finish to it.

wooden herb box with herbs planted in it on a table

You will find that the reward of owning an herb box far outwieghs the effort that it takes to build one.

There is nothing like fresh herbs, they make every dish better! You will find yourself cooking with them every day.

Fresh herbs are one of those things that can take time for people to adjust to using in their kitchen, but the effort is well worth the payoff. If you take the time to develop the skill of using fresh herbs in your dishes, you will NEVER want to go back to cooking with dried herbs again.

This handy little herb box will provide you with an abundant supply of up to 3 common kitchen herbs. And you can use it to grow lettuce, leafy greens, and microgreens as well.

With those two things, in mind you might want to consider doubling up on supplies when you go shopping so that you can build two boxes at once. That way you can have both herbs and greens growing in no time at all.

What supplies do I need to make a DIY wooden herb box?

All of the supplies needed to complete this DIY wooden herb box are readily available at your local hardware store.

herb plants in wooden planter on a table
I planted spicy hot oregano, lemon thyme, and barbeque rosemary (from left to right) in my herb box.

If you make a list of those you don’t already have on hand, and head off to the store, you can pick them all up in one trip.

The following list of supplies will give you enough material to build one 9″ x 24″ x 10 1/2″ herb box. Building a box this size will provide you with the ideal environment to grow 3 healthy herb plants.

Tools needed:

  • circular saw, table saw, or hand saw
  • power drill and phillips head drill bit
  • staple gun and 1/2″ staples

Supplies needed:

  • 2 – 1″ x 5″ x 8′ boards, not treated, and cut to the following lengths …
    • 2 – 22 1/2″
    • 4 – 24″
    • 4 – 9 1/2″
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • 6 – 1/2″ x 2″ mending braces with screws
  • 24 – 1 1/4″ phillips head wood screws
  • landscape fabric
  • gravel/stones
  • potting soil

Optional supplies:

  • 8 oz mineral oil
  • soft, lint free cloth
  • letter stencils
  • craft paint (your choice of color)
  • small artists paint brush
  • plant markers

How to make a DIY wooden herb box

The size of your box matters

The box in this tutorial measures 9″ high x 24″ wide x 10 1/2″ deep when completed. This size box will provide an environment that allows ample room for your herb plants to thrive. And healthy herb plants mean abundant harvests.

Boards, paint, and paint brush on a table
Stenciling your wooden herb box is completely optional, but it is a very nice touch. For mine, I simply printed out free stencils from the internet that appealed to me and used them to trace the letters onto the wood. Then I painted them by hand with some inexpensive craft paint and a small artists brush. To oil my boards I used a cutting board oil. This is just mineral oil, and can be purchased considerably cheaper at a hardware store. I had it on hand for another project and decided to use it up, or I would have done exactly that.

There are many tutorials available online that provide instructions for building boxes which are not as deep or as wide as this one. Building a box with smaller dimensions will stunt the growth of your herbs and should be avoided.

You should only plant a maximum of 3 herbs in one box. And make sure that the plants you choose to plant in it grow well together.

Be certain that you are not choosing herbs which do not thrive in a container environment. There are several herbs which are much too large to thrive in a container this small. Dill is the perfect example of this.

Choosing a liner for your herb box

Plastic is likely the least expensive way to line your herb box, and this makes it a very tempting choice. However, using plastic will make your herbs very unhappy because they do not like wet feet, and it will hold moisture in.

boards braced together on a table
You will need to brace your end boards and side boards together. It is important to have pretty even spacing for the braces in this step. However, exact measurements are not necessary.

It is best to use a landscape material to line your herb box. This will promote good drainage and keep the dirt from falling through the bottom of the box. However, it is difficult to purchase landscape fabric in small quantities so you can substitute a different material if it works better for you.

Cotton, muslin, or linen cloth are all good choices for lining your wooden planter. I used a white muslin cloth.

Basic outline of steps to build a DIY wooden herb box

There is a full, ready to print tutorial on how to make a wooden herb box available at the end of this post. It is nice to have a print copy on hand when you are working.

In the interest of sharing just how easy it is to do, the following 13 steps sum it up quite nicely …

  1. Cut wood to size
  2. Sand the ends of each individual board
  3. Stencil the front boards of the box, if desired
  4. Apply mineral oil to each of the wood pieces and allow to sit for 24 hours
  5. Remove excess oil from the boards
  6. Brace the sides and ends of the box with mending plates
  7. Screw the end boards to the bottom boards
  8. Screw the front and back panels to the end boards
  9. Line the box with landscape fabric
  10. Fill the bottom of the box with gravel/stone
  11. Fill the remainder of the box with potting soil
  12. Plant herbs in the box
  13. Insert plant markers next to each herb plant, if desired

Putting a finish on your DIY wooden herb box

Avoid choosing toxic materials, such as paint, varnish, and stain when deciding on a finish for the exterior of your herb box. These materials contain high levels of toxins which are unhealthy for humans, animals, and the environment, including your herbs of course.

sides and bottom of a wooden herb box
When you attach your bottom boards to your end boards you will want to align them to the outer edges of the end boards. This will leave a gap between the two bottom boards. This gap is needed for drainage.

These toxins will seep into the soil inside the box, where they will contaminate it. Thereby resulting in contamination of the plants themselves.

This can effect the health of your plants and, because you will be consuming them, your own health as well. Consuming food products which carry toxins can cause the human body to suffer from a large variety of health issues.

You can safely extend the life of your herb box by treating it with mineral oil. This is a food safe oil often used to treat cutting boards and butcher block tables.

You can opt to use raw linseed oil or 100% pure tung oil to finish your herb box as well. These options can take quite some time to apply and they are a bit more expensive. The finish they provide has more depth which makes them more aesthetically pleasing choices, if you are willing to invest the time and money in them.

Planting your DIY wooden herb box

After you have built your herb box and lined it with landscape fabric, you can start planting your herbs.

Place a 3-4 inch layer of gravel/stone in the bottom of the box.

gap in the bottom of a wooden box
This image shows the gap between the bottom boards of the wooden box. As mentioined above, it is needed for drainage making it a valuable asset to the box.

Choosing gravel/stone for your box:

If you have access to a clean woodland or a river bed, where you can harvest small stones for your herb box, this would be the least expensive way to obtain this material.

It is important to note that the material you harvest may be contaminated or carry undesirable bio matter on it. If you are not willing to risk this it is best to visit your local garden center and speak with someone there about what they have that will suit your needs.

I chose to gather my stone from a local river bed. I did wash it well and I soaked it in some hydrogen peroxide. But I know this doesn’t completely eliminate the risks of contamination.

Choosing soil for your box:

The next step to planting your herb box is to add the potting soil. There are a variety of ready made, organic options available at most local garden centers.

Avoid purchasing the cheapest product available and do not purchase plain top soil. Both of these choices will be much too dense to provide the environment that herbs need to thrive.

Herbs like a light loomy soil and they are not heavy feeders. Choose a soil with additives such as sand, vermiculite, or peat moss. And avoid super soils, which are heavily laden with nutrients intended to feed a plant for an entire season.

After you’ve topped off the box with potting soil. you will be ready to plant your herbs. Pick up a few different kinds of seeds or grab a few small plant starts at your garden center and place them in the box.

Your herbs are going to LOVE the home you’ve created for them. They will have ample room, appropriately airy soil, and dry feet. These are all of the things an herb craves most in life!

The only thing left for you to do is water them regularly and perhaps offer them a light food source a few times a year.

Labeling your herb box

Labeling the plants in your herb box can be done as simply or as elegantly as you choose.

You can pick up a few fancy plant markers online or at your local garden center. You can make a very nice plant marker yourself if you are crafty, or you can simply write the name of your herbs on an old popsicle stick and push it into the dirt next to your plant.

handmade wooden herb planter
Once your wooden box is assembled it will look like this. All that is left to do are the final steps of filling and planting it to make it functional as a planter.

PRO TIP:

Plant rosemary, oregano, and thyme in your herb box and you will have the perfect spice blend to make an amazing red sauce for pasta! YUMMY!

Use that red sauce to top a fresh batch of handmade pan fried gnocchi and you’re in for a real treat!

cloth lining in a wooden planter
The instructions included at the end of this post call for landscape fabric to be used as a liner for your wooden herb box. It is a good choice, and if you have a small amount on hand you should use it. I didn’t have any on hand, and all I could find for purchase were some pretty large pieces. So, I used a large muslin napkin that I was able to purchase from an Amish outlet for just a few dollars. If you prefer to use something other than landscape fabric, cotton, muslin, and linen cloth all make great choices.

PRO TIP II:

Bring your DIY wooden herb box indoors for the winter and you will have fresh herbs all year long. Can you just imagine clipping fresh herbs for your dinner on a cold, snowy January day?

It’s truly delightful. It really is!

layer of river rocks in a handmade wooden planter
I gathered the rocks for the bottom of my planter from a local river bed. I rinsed them well, soaked them in hydrogen peroxide, and scattered them throughout the bottom of the box.

Meet me in the comments and let me know if you use fresh herbs in your kitchen? Or if you are chomping at the bit to dip your toes into the world of cooking with fresh herbs?

I’d love to hear all about it!

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pinnable for diy wooden herb box
wooden herb box with herbs planted in it on a table
Yield: 1 - 9" x 24" x 10 1/2" Wooden Herb Box

DIY WOODEN HERB BOX TUTORIAL

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 1 day 3 hours
Total Time: 1 day 4 hours 15 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $1 - $25

This DIY wooden herb box is easy to do in a day, and can provide you with an abundant supply of up to 3 common kitchen herbs.

Materials

  • SUPPLIES NEEDED:
  • 2 - 1" x 5" x 8' boards, not treated
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • 6 - 1/2" x 2" mending braces with screws
  • 24 - 1 1/4" phillips head wood screws
  • landscape fabric
  • gravel/stones
  • potting soil
  • 3 small herb plants
  • OPTIONAL SUPPLIES:
  • 8 oz mineral oil
  • soft, lint free cloth
  • letter stencils
  • craft paint (your choice of color)
  • small artists paint brush
  • plant markers

Tools

  • Circular saw, table saw, or hand saw
  • Power drill and phillips head drill bit
  • Staple gun and 1/2" staples

Instructions

  1. From your 1" x 5" x 8' boards cut boards of the following lengths: 4 @ 24", 2 @ 22 1/2", 4 @ 9 1/2"
  2. Sand the ends of each of the boards, and if necessary sand the boards themselves
  3. If you want to stencil the front of your wooden herb box do so on 2 of your 24" boards, centering your stencils and painting with craft paint, allow ample time for the paint to dry before moving on to the next step
  4. Apply a liberal coat of mineral oil using a soft, lint free cloth to all sides of the boards and allow it to sit for 24 hours to soak in
  5. Wipe off any excess mineral oil that remains on your boards
  6. Brace your end boards (9 1/2" boards) together in sets of two using one mending brace in the center of each set
  7. Brace your side boards (24" boards) together in sets of two using two mending braces for each set, place each brace approximately 7 1/2" from the end of the boards, if you have stenciled your boards be sure that they are aligned properly before bracing
  8. Screw the end boards to the bottom boards aligning the bottom boards with the outer edges of the end panels so that there is a gap between the bottom boards for drainage
  9. Screw the front and back panels to the end boards
  10. Liine the box with landscape fabric and attach it along the upper edge using the staple gun and staples
  11. Place a 3" - 4" layer of gravel/stone in the bottom of the box
  12. Fill the remainder of the box with potting soil
  13. Plant your 3 herb plants in the box, evenly spacing them
  14. Insert plant markers next to each of your herb plants if you choose to use them (it is advised)

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6 Comments

  1. I absolutely love this! What a neat idea and seems like such a great tutorial to follow!
    I grow sage, several varieties of mint and balms, thyme, parsley, but think I’ll be adding more this year as I use so many others in cooking and teas 🙂

  2. What a cute idea… Love these! I’d love to grow some chives, mint and sage like this! Pinning for later this month when I’ll be planting!! Thank you!

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