[DIY] Wheelbarrow Planter – A Creation In Your Garden

This is another project that allowed me to make use of my scrap wood collection.  I used leftover plywood pieces, 2 X 2’s, & 1 X 2’s.


Begin by cutting the barrow pieces according to the templates.

When you’re finished printing them, overlap the two “front” halves until you get a template that will give you the front of the wheelbarrow measuring 9″ tall, 12″ wide at the top and 9 1/2″ wide at the bottom.  Then tape them together.


After you print out all three “side” photos, tape them together overlapping as needed until you get a shape that is 14 3/4″ across the bottom, 9″ tall at the highest point and 17″ wide measuring across the top from each pointed corner. Which means your tape is on a slight angle for this last measurement.

When you’re finished you should have a template that will give you the end of the handle.  Lay it on your 1 X 2 and adjust as needed.

I used the table saw and miter gauge with the blade tilted to 45 degrees to cut the 2 sides.  That way I beveled the edge and cut each piece at the appropriate angle.

To get the proper angle and bevel be sure to turn the board around after the first cut and angle the miter gauge the other way.  Then I used my jigsaw to cut the curves on the top of each piece.  I found it easier to trace out the entire shape on each piece first.

Use your favorite method of joinery to glue up the “barrow” part: biscuits, screws and plugs, pocket holes.  I used biscuits and exterior polyurethane glue.

Other options:

♦ Cut the sides with a circular or jigsaw at a 45 degree angle.

♦ Cut the sides straight with either saw and use a 45 degree chamfer bit in your router.

♦ If you don’t mind end grain showing, use a butt joint.

Next, cut two 5 3/8″ circles from 3/4 inch plywood. Glue them together and clamp overnight.  I used a jigsaw and cut my circle on the outside of a line drawn with a  compass.

My method of having a perfectly round circle was to use ShopNotes circle jig.

Note: I wanted to use a 5/16″ dowel for my axel, so I used a 5/16″ pivot pin and 5/16″ hole in the center of the circle blank.

How to sanding jig for circles, read here

I wanted my wheel larger (5 3/8″) than the 4 1/4″ the heart jig plan is made to give, so I needed my hearts “moved” further out from the center of the wheel to give it a more balanced appearance.  I adjusted the jig to suit my needs by moving “A” to the left 1/4″ to 3/16″.

 Note: I used a 5/16″ pin for this jig also, so I only had to drill the hole once.

You can read make Heart Wheel

Here’s what you will have after using the circle sanding jig and cutting out the “hearts” with the heart jig.

You can see that we don’t have our true heart shapes yet.  I used a 3/4″ sanding drum in my drill press as recommended in the plans to finish shaping the hearts.


Finished results after using the 2 jigs and sanding on my stationary belt sander.

Next, I cut the handles from a piece of 1 X 2.  You can use the handle template if you like.

Once the handles are cut using a 1/8″ round over bit in your router and go around the edges of the handle that will be facing out.  In other words, do not round over the side of the handle that will touch the wheel and legs.

I then used a 1/2″ round over bit on the handle ends that attach to the wheels to round and smooth the ends.  Place a piece of scrap on each side of the end to prevent tear out.

The last step in preparing the handles is to cut a piece of 5/16″ dowel 2 1/4″ long to use as an axel.

Then drill a 5/16″ diameter hole about 3/8″ deep and 3/4″ from the end of the handle to receive it.

Before final assembly, it’s a good idea to do a dry fit up to make sure all the parts line up properly. You may want to make adjustments to the axle length, etc.

I found that when I assembled my barrow the pressure from spreading out the handles kept the axel in place and still let the wheel turn, allowing me to avoid using glue in the axle holes. You may need a drop in yours.

Cut two 2 X 2’s 5 3/4″ long for the legs.

Cut a 1/2″ plywood base 8″ X 13 3/8″.  I didn’t drill drainage holes in mine since it fits snugly on the sides but had a gap between the base and the barrow at the front & back on the ends.  If yours fits so snug that there are no gaps you’ll need to drill a few drain holes water drainage.

Flip the barrow upside down.  Lay the handles in position with 11 3/4″ protruding from the end of the barrow. Pre-drill 2 holes in each handle with a countersink bit. One goes through the handle and the front end of the barrow. The other catches the handle, going through the plywood platform.

Pre-drill a countersunk hole in each leg and attach each leg to a handle as shown in the photo.

Pry the handles apart a bit at the wheel end and insert your wheel and axel.  The angle of the handles should hold the wheel securely without glue. If that’s not the case, spread the handles and put a drop or two of glue in each axle hole and reinsert the wheel assembly.

I like the 2-tone effect so I  stained the handles with Minwax Ext. Gel Stain (Honey Maple) and the rest of the wheelbarrow with Olympic Ext. Gel Stain (Colonial Oak).  After the stain dried I applied two coats of Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane semi-gloss.