DIY Garden in a File Cabinet

Learn how to repurpose your file cabinet into a unique at-home garden.

DIY Garden in a File Cabinet
DIY Garden in a File Cabinet
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Don't throw out that old filing cabinet just yet. Instead, use it for this DIY Garden in a File Cabinet idea! People are so creative these days that they'll find a way to plant flowers or succulents in anything. There's nothing spectacular about a filing cabinet; it's not attractive, it's boring, and takes up a lot of room in an office. But, once you're finished giving your filing cabinet a makeover, it will be nothing short of spectacular! This unique DIY garden idea will not only give your backyard some life, but your good ole filing cabinet as well.

Estimated CostUnder $10

Time to CompleteWeekend project


Primary TechniqueGardening



Project TypeMake a Project

Materials List

  • Circle Lever Punch (XXXX-Large)
  • 3 Piece Softouch® Garden Tool Set
  • Big Grip Garden Knife (400S)
  • The Original Orange-handled Scissors™ (8")
  • 4 drawer filing cabinet
  • 4" caster wheels (1 locking and 3 without locks)
  • Power drill and bits
  • 16 - 1" bolts, nuts, and washers
  • Black spray paint
  • Vinyl in white and gold
  • 2-12"x24" sheets of aluminum 
  • 6-8 self-tapping screws
  • Adhesive for circles


  1. Start by removing all the drawers from the filing cabinet. The filing cabinet I bought was in pretty great shape, but it was a little scratched up in a few places, so I gave it quick coat of black spray paint.

  2. With a 3/8" bit, drill at least eight holes in the bottom on the filing cabinet. These will serve as drain holes for the planter to make sure the plant is not over-watered. These holes do not need to be in any particular spot on the cabinet but we laid the cabinet down so what used to be the back will now be the bottom of the planter.

  3. Mark where the four casters will attach on the four corners of the filing cabinet. Pre-drill where the four bolts will go on the casters.

  4. Bolt the casters to the bottom on the filing cabinet, placing a washer on either side of the bolt to secure the casters in place.

  5. Remove the handles and the backs off all the drawers.

  6. Place the drawers inside the filing cabinet. Most plants don't need any more than 12 inches depth of soil, so placing the drawers back inside filled some of the space in the filing cabinet. Stacked inside and placed end-to-end, the drawers fit perfectly.

  7. Once the drawers are inside the filing cabinet, use the two aluminum sheets to cover the end of the filing cabinet. The two sheets I used for this project are 12 x 24 inches.

  8. Screw the panels in place with self-tapping screws. Place two screws on each side of the panel.

  9. Then add a fresh coat of black paint to the new panels.

  10. To personalize the planter, use the Circle Lever Punch (XXXX-Large), and cut several circles from white and metallic gold vinyl. Then cut the circles in half with a scissors  and place them in a random pattern around the planter. If you'd like, you can change out the colors or the pattern of the shapes to personalize the planter to reflect seasons or holidays.

  11. When you are finally ready to plant, there are a few tools that make planting easy. The 3 Piece Softouch® Garden Tool Set has everything you need for digging, weeding and planting. I like that the transplanter has measurements on it to help with spacing while planting. The Big Grip Garden Knife is also a really handy tool to have. The serrated blade edge and forked tip make it the perfect multipurpose tool for cutting through bags, digging up weeds, and scooping soil.

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