Build a Plant Theatre from Old Pallets

This plant theatre was quick and easy to build. We used wood from a couple of old pallets with planks of different widths, but a standard pallet will suffice.

To make this theatre you will need:

  • Pallet/s
  • Pallet splitter or crowbar
  • Sandpaper or electric sander
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Screws and screwdriver
  • Saw
  • Pencil and ruler
  • Tape measure
  • Clamp
  • Glue
  • Wall fixings
  • Paintbrush
  • Wood stain / paint / varnish / wood oil

Use the pallet splitter or crowbar to gently disassemble your pallets and cut the planks to your desired lengths.

The size of your theatre will depend on the space you have available. Ours measures 50 cm x 100 cm with the roof slightly larger to provide extra shelter from the elements:

  • 2 x planks 100 cm in length for the side panels
  • 5 x planks 90 cm for the back
  • 1 x plank 60 cm for the roof to allow an overhang on either edge
  • 3 x planks 50 cm for the shelves

If you want to have a sloping roof, cut a 2 cm corner from one end of each of the theatre’s side panels:

Sand your planks until smooth to get rid of any dirt, debris and rough edges:

Lay out your sides and shelves to make sure you have measured and positioned everything correctly, including having the sloping edges at the top:

When you are happy with how everything looks, drill and screw your shelves to the theatre’s sides. Our shelves are placed at approximately 30 cm intervals.

Our change of location in the photographs from the car park to the boat was to shelter from the sun. Rob used the back boards as a work surface to keep everything steady whilst working on the pontoon:

Once all your shelves are in place attach and secure the back boards before fixing the roof panel to the top:

You can paint, stain, varnish or oil your plant theatre to protect it from the weather and use glue to seal old nail holes where rain might sneak through.

Rob attached eye-hooks and rope to the back of our theatre as it will hang over metal railings rather than be screwed directly to a wall, but whatever your choice of fixings, now is the time to attach them.

This is our theatre showing the natural patina of the wood:

I was going to leave it like this but friends on Twitter gave me the courage to paint our theatre a darker colour to evoke the sense of drama of traditional auricula theatres. I used Cuprinol’s Silver Copse leftover from painting our shed:

Dark, rich colours make your plants and pots stand out, but I still think the natural wood finish is also very beautiful:

The auriculas posing in these photos are ‘Gollum‘ and ‘Boromir‘.

I would love to see your theatres. Send me your photos and let me know how you get on: Twitter @wbGabbleRatchet