How to Turn Old Bookshelf Into a Vertical Garden

A vertical garden lover like me must be in looking for some tips to learn how to turn old bookshelf into a vertical garden. Actually, a vertical garden is the best way to up-cycle your old bookshelf. It is really fun and functional. It is highly decorative and you can place it whenever you like. Vertical garden is the best way to decorate with your favorite plants indoors or outdoors. But if you are planning to place the showcase outdoor, keep conscious observation for the happiness for and healthiness of the plants.

Let’s learn the process and hope you a happy gardening.

Cleaning and sanding the bookshelf

Select a useless bookshelf of hardwood or metal

  • You can think of a bookshelf that you’ve found recently or of your own. For a best looking, a shelf of at least three or four will be best in the vertical garden. So, you can easily place a lot of decorative plants on every tier.
  • Ensure a far enough apart shelf if you wish to have some tall plants. It’ll allow the plants to grow upward without being hit by the above shelf.
  • Select the shelves that are not rotting, wobbly screw or cracks.
  • As wooden bookshelf is perfect for indoors, it does not deteriorate from rain and rough weather. Still you can waterproof it with a sealant to give it a tip-top shape.

How to Turn Old Bookshelf Into a Vertical Garden

Sand down the bookshelf to paint it

To do this, take a grit of sanding block which is 150, 180 or 220. It’ll make the shelves smooth to touch. Holding the block firmly in the hand, move it forth and back, back and forth along the grain; never you’ll move side to side. Do it with some pressure. Once you’ve done all, wipe the dust away.

  • Use a sand paper in cause of your having no sanding block.
  • You need to follow the instructions to use it safely as inscribed in the package if you have an electrical sander.
  • No need to apply such sander in metal bookshelves. Scrub-downing with steel wool may prevent any rusty spots.

Cautions: wood dust may result into respiratory issues. Don’t forget to use a mask and protective eyewear while working.

How to Turn Old Bookshelf Into a Vertical Garden

Priming and painting the bookshelf

Applying acrylic primer to paint with acrylic paint

To give a great look, you need to use acrylic paint to your wooden bookshelf. Also it’ll last for a long. Using a paint brush, you must apply it in long. Let it dry for at least 4-5 hours before you are going to add the first coat of paint.

  1. Keep looking for a priming spray at hardware store or home improvement.
  2. You must not apply primer if you want to place the vertical garden inside. But, it can certainly make the shelves stay longer and without any chipping.

How to Turn Old Bookshelf Into a Vertical Garden

Paint your bookshelf with 2 coats of acrylic paint

With the help of a paintbrush or roller brush, apply paint in long. You need to wait at least for 4-5 hours to dry. Then, you can apply the second coat. In cause of using a spray paint, select a well ventilated location. Never forget to wear safety mask.

  • Selecting a warm color such as yellow, orange or red will let your green leaves of the plants stand out. But, if you want to create a look of calm and inviting, select among deep red, purple, green or blue.
  • In cause of your using a spray paint, you should feel free to get creative with stencils. Also it’ll give you some artful touches to your bookshelf.
  • In order to go with a garden theme, use a floral stencil. You can also use stencil lettering to write your own name.
  • It’ll be better to consider different color for vertical backs and sides of each shelf. Isn’t it so nice to look at when a colorful shelf will decorate your vertical garden?
  • Putting down some newspaper or a tarp is a must to protect nearby surfaces.

How to Turn Old Bookshelf Into a Vertical Garden

Wait for 4-6 hours to dry the paints

Within 1-2 hours, the paint will be dry enough to the touch. But, it may prone to chipping or smudging. Then, what to do? All you can do is to wait for 4-6 hours to dry the color completely.

How to Turn Old Bookshelf Into a Vertical Garden

Use a waterproof sealant to protect the wooden outdoor bookshelf

Think of a waterproof sealant with a paintbrush only after the color has dried completely. In cause of your using a sealant spray, it’ll be best to hold the canister 6-8 inches away from the surface. Before you start installing plants inside, wait for 4-6 hours.

  • Buy the polycrylic sealant from any hardware store or home improvement.
  • Don’t be worried if the color looks to be fade or somewhat cloudy. Drying more will ensure more bright and deep color.
  • Using an oil based sealant will be worst choice as it may emit toxic fumes.

Placing the bookshelf in such a place getting 4-6 hours of sunlight

Place your vertical garden at such a location that’ll work for the most of the plants’ need. Such a place that is spacious and it’ll be easy for you to water the plants whenever you are in need of it. Also it’s a must that the place will get at least 4-6 hours of sunlight. It’s really essential to keep your plants happy and healthy.

Place your vertical garden away from the driveway or the playground of the child if you’re planning it for outdoors. It may get accidentally knocked over.

To hold it in place, install furniture anchoring hooks

After placing the bookshelf in front of a wall or a fence, screw furniture anchoring hooks. Attach the other end if the hooks to the back of the bookshelf. Tie the shelf and wall or fence so that your shelf wont wobble or topple over.

Adding plants

Selecting plants having same demand of light and water

Look up your USDA hardness zone in order to see the plants that best suit in your reign in cause of your keeping the bookshelf outdoors. Don’t worry, it’s no matter where you are about to keep them; just note the temperature, light limit and water level. It’s best planning to select the variety of plants that require the same amount of light and temperature. It’ll minimize the labor and there’ll be best output as well.

  • Control the height of the plants so that they cannot touch the bottom of the shelf and cannot get too high.
  • Select the plants that are easily handle able and you can take care of them easily. Succulents are a great choice for the purpose
  • Some herbs can be great addition to both indoor and outdoor bookshelves like rosemary, dill, cilantro and basil.
  • Don’t select some plants or herbs that need trellis to grow. So, avoid tomato, beans, peas, jasmine, Mandevilla, nasturtium and that like vining plants.

Ensure nutrient-dense potting soil and well-draining pots

You can purchase or propagate some desired plants you want to grow in the vertical garden. As a beginner, you can collect the plants from the nearest nursery or plants store. Starting from the plants will cost you no waiting for sprouting or germination.

  1. Look for special sales, buy smaller one.
  2. Ensure different kinds of potting soil for different kinds of plants.
  3. If you want to start from the seeds, be careful in maintaining actual depth, distance and moisture of the soil.
  4. Consider propagating some plants if you already have some of the desirable varieties of your own. Select some of the species that are well known for propagating and being grown from cuttings.
  5. Ensure well drainage in the pots and give up extra-large containers in considering the demand of the plants.

Place the heaviest pot at the bottom

You should be creative and careful placing the pot on the shelves. To maintain a balance weight and stableness of the vertical garden, place the heaviest one at the bottom of the shelves. Be sure allowing some space between two pots. It’ll ensure enough light and air for each plants and they won’t be in fighting for that.

Hang vertical planters onto the sides to maximize the space

This technique is really awesome and always let it you have some extra space for extra plants. Besides, it’ll enhance the beauty absolutely. To hang your plants onto the sides of the shelf, you can take help of some hooks and rope or wire to tie the pot with the wood.

Decorating your bookshelf with lights and other trinkets

Want to enhance the beauty of your vertical garden? Or, isn’t it mesmerizing that your vertical garden will twinkle like a starry sky at the night? It’s really exceptional thinking and eye catching. Carefully install some LED light of different colors among the pots. You can add some other decorative elements for better experiment.

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