Back Porch Vintage School Desk Fall Flower Planter

Vintage School Desk Fall Flower Planter

Have you ever had a potential project staring you right in the face, and you didn’t even realize it?  Well, this is one of those projects for me.

Vintage School Desk Fall Flower Planter |

I have NO idea what took me so long to do this project, because I’ve had an old school desk sitting outside my workshop getting rusty and sinking in the grass.  Every time I looked out my kitchen window, I saw it.  But I got so used to it being there, I stopped even noticing it.  It was hidden in plain sight!

My husband moved it last week to mow the grass, and I had an “OH, DUH!” moment.

Better late than never, right?

Here’s how I did it.

How to Make a Vintage School Desk Fall Flower Planter

  1. Sand off any loose paint and scrub it with soapy water.
  2. Repaint chair and legs with outdoor paint.  (Using spray paint is much easier than using a paint brush.)
  3. Drill drainage holes into the bottom of the desk top.
  4. Add potting soil into desk top.
  5. Plant flowers and trailing plants.
  6. Fertilize.

Here’s how the desk started out.  Blah beige, with paint peeling off the chair.

How to repurpose a vintage school desk into a Fall porch flower planter |

Leaving it outside for so long turned out to be a good thing, because the weather made the paint on the chair start flaking off.  I just needed to finish the job.  I used a disc attachment on our drill.  I didn’t try for a perfect finish; I just wanted to remove the loose flakes.

How to make an Easy Fall Planter in an old school desk |

Supplies Used (includes affiliate links for products I used):

Vintage school desk with lift-up lid

Black outdoor spray paint for metal

Organic potting soil

Fertilizer (This fertilizer is easy to mix up and store in a 1-gallon milk jug.)

Fall plants

On the inside of the desk, there were still hinges from where the wood top had been, so my husband used his reciprocating saw to cut through the metal and remove them.  My desk already has holes in it, so I didn’t need to add any for drainage.

Repurposed vintage school desk flower planter |

I debated about what color to paint it, but decided black would hide all the rust spots best.  I chose outdoor spray paint that’s made for metal, wood, and concrete so that it would be durable.

How to make an Easy Fall Planter in an old school desk |

I filled it with soil and placed all the plant containers on top of the soil to help figure out the layout before planting them.  I chose small hardy mums for color and height, a small succulent, and Stonecrop (a perennial flowering ground cover for the corners).  It blooms spring through fall, but these are new plants, so I hope they get established before it gets too cold.  If the mums start getting too large, I’ll transplant them in the guest house raised garden.

Vintage school desk fall planter flowers arrangement |

So far, so good.  But there was still a lot of space.  I didn’t want to plant so much that they wouldn’t have room to grow.

So back to the store I went …

Easy fall planter in an old school desk |

I found a few pumpkin picks, a “BOO” sign, and a crow figurine.  Those filled in the space perfectly.

Turn and old school desk into a fun Fall Halloween Planter for the porch |

Halloween Fall Porch Planter |

And I could’t resist some beautiful large pots of mums to set on my little flour bin table.

Fall porch decor with mums on a repurposed antique flour bin accent table |

I’m loving the school desk as a planter on the other side of our back porch  … instead of sinking in the grass outside my workshop! 🙂


Vintage School Desk Fall Halloween Porch Planter |

If you enjoyed this Vintage School Desk Fall Flower Planter, you can see more Junk Garden Projects HERE.

Vaya con Dios,

Please know that Knick of Time uses affiliate links, including but not limited to Amazon to help keep this blog up and running.


  1. What a great idea! It all looks so adorable!

  2. I love this idea! This is so clever and I love the angle of the picture that makes it look like a big spider. So Halloween-ish!

  3. Marlene Stephenson says

    Looks real cute and every season you can add decor and different flowers.Hope you have a great Labor Day.

  4. What a great and original idea, Angie! It’s so appropriate for Fall and school starting as well as Halloween! One more project completed! Feels good, doesn’t it?

  5. I love how this turned out! So cute and the flowers and decorations add just the right touch!

  6. At our prior home I had an old school desk at the end of the driveway (we lived in the country) and decorated it for the seasons! I didn’t plant right in it but that’s a great idea!

    Hugs from Iowa,

    • I told my husband I think we should move the desk to the end of or driveway too, Michelle, so it’s visible to other people. He said, “You would say that right after I watered it and it’s heavier now!” 🙂

  7. Angie,
    I absolutely love this school house desk planter!! Amazing!!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Oh that looks lovely Angie and so unusual as a planter too. Isn’t it amazing how some things need a little time before the right idea comes along. Love what you did.

  9. What a great idea Angie! Love it 🙂

  10. Great idea. You should show us what you plant in it next year; a full season’s growth should leave it overflowing. It’d also be lovely in a secret garden spot. I’d put another pot (or a pumpkin!) in the chair!

  11. Love it Angie. Great re-purpose. I will sure be on the look-out for one of those.
    Audrey Z.

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