Decorative Window Box Plans

This garden craft idea dresses up a plain window box with scalloped lead sheeting for a rustic look.

Have your favorite plants at your fingertips with these jazzed-up window box plans. Scalloped lead sheeting dabbed with white vinegar gives the planter a rustic, mottled look. This garden craft involves the use of lead, so be sure to wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly whenever you handle it.


Reminder: Lead is toxic! Wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after handling.

  • Plain window box (buy one or make your own)
  • Roll of lead flashing
  • Length of 1- x 1-in. softwood batten
  • 1¼-in. deck screws
  • Galvanized ¾-in. roofing nails
  • Tin snips
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • White vinegar
  • Herbs or flowers in clay pots
  • Brackets to hang window box (optional)

Step-By-Step Instructions:

Step 1

Measure the height of the box and the length of the front plus the 2 sides; you don’t need to cover the back unless it will be visible. Use tin snips to cut a strip of lead a little longer than this so you can bend the surplus behind to make neat corners. Flatten the lead flashing onto the box, using a small flat piece of wood and a hammer, and nail it in place.

Step 2

Cut 3 lengths of batten – 2 for the sides and 1 for the front. The scalloped frill will be fixed to these pieces. Fix the battens around the top of the box. Drill holes through the box from inside and drive screws through the holes into the battens.

Step 3

Cut the decorative scalloped trim and nail this to the top of the front batten. Use a large nail and a straightedge to score straight cutting lines in lead. Lead is soft and malleable, so you can bend back the offcut as you cut along the line with tin snips. For the scalloped edge, use a can or jelly jar as a template and score the cutting lines with a nail. Cut the curves from the top down, making 2 cuts for each curve.

Step 4

Snip notches out at the corners and bend the scalloped edge down. Then bend the strip around the corners and fold it over the top edges of the side battens. Tap smoothly into place, using a piece of wood and a hammer, and fix in place with nails driven into the tops of the battens.

Step 5

To give the lead a weathered patina, dab white vinegar onto the surface with a cloth until you get a whitish, mottled effect. Paint the inside of the box if desired. The sage green we used would work well with terra-cotta pots filled with herbs or flowers. If using brackets, securely fix them to the wall and set the window box on them. Then drive screws up through the brackets into the base of the box to keep it firmly in place.