Mardi Gras Inspired Plastic Patio Garden

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A few months ago I was bit by the gardening bug, but had no place to plant. Inspiration struck and I ended up creating a space using two plastic storage bins. Patio gardens are a fun, DIY solution for gardeners who lack soil for planting. The patio gardens are ideal for growing small tomatoes, jalapenos, any leafy green vegetables and herbs.
To commemorate the start of the Mardi Gras season this February, create this patio garden inspired by the festival. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
2 20 gallon plastic storage totes
2 cans of purple Rust-o-leum Painters Touch Paint & Primer
2 cans of green Rust-Oleum Painters Touch Paint & Primer
1 can of Rust-Oleum Glitter spray paint in gold
1 can of gold Rust-Oleum Specialty Metallic spray paint in gold
An all-purpose plastic tarp
150 grit sand paper
1/4 inch drill bit
4 1/4 by 1-1/2 inch hex bolts (.25 x1.5 inch)
4 ¼ inch flat washers
4- ¼ inch lock washers
4- ¼ inch nuts
Gorilla Glue
Fleur-de-lis stencils
Alphabet stencils
The back/front of a cereal box
Plastic Mardi Gras beads
Acrylic paint
Paint brushes

Step 1

Choose a well-ventilated room or flat, dry surface to work on outdoors. Lay the tarp on the ground of the working area.

Step 2

Wipe down the two plastic totes with an oil-free cleaning solution (such as Windex) and a clean white rag to remove excess dirt and oil.

Step 3

Cut one sandpaper sheet into two 5x5 inch squares. The sandpaper will scratch the surface of the totes to ensure the paint adheres. Scratch all sides, including the bottom. Be sure to swipe the sandpaper square in one direction so that the surface stays even.

Step 4

Place one tote onto the tarp with the open end facing down. Place the second tote with the open end facing upward, directly on top of the first tote. Be sure to line the totes up perfectly corner to corner.

Step 5

Four “bolt holes” will be drilled into the totes. Notice the grooves that run along the inside of the totes; you do not want to drill here. If the tote is lifted once dirt is added, the bolts could break through this thin area. The best method is to drill about 3 inches away from the groove of the topmost tote and bore straight through the tote on the bottom. Make four holes. Be sure to apply pressure to the top of the tote while drilling so that it does not move.

Step 6

Using the method from step 5, drill four more holes in the middle of the tote for water drainage. Feel free to use a larger drill bit to make these.

Step 7

Remove the top tote and place it to the side. Choose the purple or green Rust-Oleum color to paint the tote in its entirety. Be sure to shake the paint can for at least one minute to ensure the color mixes well. When painting, make sure the totes are placed top side down, and hold the can at least six inches away from the tote. Spray in a back and forth motion. Choose the second Rust-Oleum color and cover the second tote. Allow the first coat to dry for 20 minutes. Apply a second coat.

Step 8

Allow the totes to dry for 24 hours.

Step 9

Once the totes are dry, place the totes on their side in the stacked position.
Thread one of the 1-½ inch hex bolts through a flat washer. Take both the bolt and the washer and insert them into one of the holes in the tote.
Once the bolt is inserted through both totes, slide a lock washer onto the bolt. Now, tightly screw a nut onto the hex bolt until the nut runs into the plastic tote. Repeat this for the other three bolt holes.

Step 10

Now that the totes are connected, place them right-side-up in the center of the tarp.

Step 11

Place the cereal box panel on a flat surface. Cut the panel in half; only one half will be used at this time.
Fold the panel in half and apply pressure with the flat of your hand. Starting at the crease, use the ruler to draw a triangle shape.

Step 12

Cut the triangle out. Un-fold the panel. This diamond shaped stencil will be used to decorate the totes.

Step 13

Here is your opportunity to get creative. Take the triangle cut out, alphabet and Fluer-de-lis stencils, and either spray paint them using the gold colors or use acrylic paints to fill them in. Place a pin drop amount of Gorilla Glue on some of the beads and use them to decorate the totes. Choose beads that are square or flat in shape.

Step 14

When the decorating is complete, lightly dust the Rust-Oleum Glitter spray paint on the outside of the totes.

Step 15

After letting the glue and paint dry for 24 hours, the patio garden is ready to use.

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