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You are currently viewing Let’s Build a Rustic Wooden Plank Bucket

When you decide to do things yourself, you open up a sparkling rainbow of possibilities. You get to choose your own path to your pot of gold. Want to stain first? DO IT! Want to sand last? No problem ya bum! It’s open season for your own personal creativity and chi. And when things don’t go exactly as planned, you can throw your hands up in the air and say…ya know what, I’m going to do it THIS WAY! So there.

The same CANNOT be said for I dunno…Ikea! You know, that three-block fortress where upon entering through the automatic double doors, victims are immediately herded to a single path with Swedish arrows pointing you to the two dollar spaghetti and meatball lunch. Sure, you’ll get solid wood furniture for a decent price, but you’ll have to cope with intestinal discomfort and lousy directions. AMONG. OTHER. THINGS.

Us DIY’rs make our own meatballs. Fantastic meatballs.

The reason I mention all of this is because some DIYs aren’t Swedishly perfect. Some of them are down right dirty. The plans are shaky. The process blurry. But we’re creating here! And just like children, our DIY offspring aren’t always beautiful. Kids can be ugly, too. But they’re ours. And we love them.

So with that said, here’s my DIY Wooden Plank Bucket.

Here’s the problem: How can I attach 1×3 wood planks in a tapered circle to create a bucket? Well, my fantastic idea was to use a lampshade as an inner frame. Lampshades have large bottom metal ring and a smaller top ring.

I figured I could flip the lampshade over, giving a natural taper to my bucket.

Here are the wooden planks.

My scrap wood planks are all around between 12.25″ and 12.5″ long. It should be noted that I’m not going to be using this bucket for water or any strictly utilitarian purpose. I’m going to ask my bucket to look nice in my newly renovated bathroom. Look nice and hold toilet paper.

I had 5/8″ staples and one of these pressure staplers. You know, the ones where you bang it into whatever your heart desires.

The problem with the banger is it’s not very precise (surprise, surprise). I wanted to staple directly over the frame, but…

Yeah. What a mess. One side would kick-up after the first side was secured. A sick game you’re playing with me, lampshade! A sick game!

So I’m like hmm. I’ll use my pneumatic staple gun. I probably should have to begin with! But once I set it up I realized I only had 1″ staples! This definitely won’t work.

But of coarse I have to try anyway. I kept dialing down the pressure in hopes I could get the staples to only go in a half inch…but no dice.

No buckets tonight, bro.

I took a trip to the store the very next day and picked up some 1/2″ staples.

I started at the bottom of the lamp shade and put two staples in each plank about a quarter to half inch off the perimeter of the piece.

And flipped the shade around,  putting two staples into the other side of the plank. Things started getting really weird really quick…

LOL! It’s pretty clear my scrap wood needs to be tapered or something. I’m sure there are master bucket makers out there ready to drop some bucket knowledge on me right about now. I encourage you to do so! But I also wonder where you were two days ago when I needed you most. Seriously where were you?

Just when I thought I was sunk, when I remembered what I (begrudgingly) did yesterday!

Yes. I spent my entire morning insulating in our crawl space. What kind of person removes insulation from the joists and duct tapes it around copper pipes? A monster. A FREAKING MONSTER!

Anyway, I remembered I have these 16″ insulation rods (that hold up the insulation between joists). Do you realize what this means?!

It means I can make my own frame! We’re back in business, baby!

Right now I’m trying to get a feel for what angle the planks should be joined at.

Using my pneumatic staple gun, I attach the rod in about a 1/4″ to 1/2″ from each side. I wasn’t being precise because I have no idea what I’m doing!

I started in the middle of the rod, but I’m not sure that matters much, either.

Looks like this. The pressure probably could have been dialed down a bit. But this is full throttle bucket making. Leave if you can’t handle the pressure! Hahah. Love it.

Ok. I started to bend the rod on the angle I wanted to set the next piece to, but that proved unnecessary. The force from the staple gun ended up putting an angle into the rod all on its own.

You’ll notice in this picture that the first few pieces’ angles were too extreme. I stopped bending the rods and let the gun do the work at this point.

Making my way around.

Once I ran out of rod, I needed to attach another. So with my left hand holding the bucket, I adjusted both the rod and the next plank.

And this was exactly what I was going for.

I turned the bucket to line up with the plank and kept on stapling.

It’s always good to step back from whatever you’re working on and see how things are shaping up. If you’re constantly up close you tend to miss the big picture.

I attached the third rod and kept on going.

This was the trickiest part. Flip the bucket face down and line up the two planks end to end. Using your non-dominant hand you line up the planks and wire. With your other hand you nail gun it into place.

Remember that rope? No? Aw…that’s terrible you guys used to be so close.

Attach this about 2″ up from the bottom of the bucket with 2 staples.

IMAG2481 Then pull it SNUG!

And staple.

IMAG2483Chop off the excess rope with a utility knife.

So I’m standing back looking at these planks that were joined against their will. And I’m thinking. Thinking about how ugly it is. Thinking about how I created it. I’m thinking I could leave this on my neighbors porch, ring the bell and run. I’m thinking about meatballs.

You know, just because you join things together…it doesn’t make them visually cohesive. They still appeared to be very much separate. I tried to use the rope to mitigate this but now it just looks like scrap wood with rope wrapped around it. My worst nightmare, really. My DIY bucket is pretty much supermarket sushi.

Expletives were expletived! How can you IN GOOD CONSCIENCE wrap 2″ of old rice around 80 percent celery and call it sushi! I was kindof kicking dirt in my garage when I tripped over a pair of pliers and looked up at that failshade frame. Then it dawned on me. I can use this as a sort of canvas insert to wrap around the top of the bucket and maybe see this thing through.

So I hacked away at that lampshade like supermarket sushi makers. Notice the top frame of the shade on the right. I dry fitted the lamp shade around the top of the bucket.

Using those damn pliers that I tripped on, I bent the wire lampshade wire down into the in inside of my bucket.

Like so.

I secured the lampshade with a staple at the top…

And a staple at the bottom.

I think this could work.

I slide in two 12.5″ planks inside and stapled them together. Then I stapled into the fabric to keep it tight. You have to be careful doing this so the fabric doesn’t rip. I also un-did the top rope and re-attached it on top of the lampshade.

I still didn’t like the bottom. It was too clean cut and probably needed a slight bevel or something. I don’t know. Wasn’t digging it. So I used the remainder of my rope to “hide it”.

I think it’s only fair that this bucket holds toilet paper. I mean given all of the shit this thing put me through.

And here’s a look of the whole space. I just renovated this part of the bathroom. The scrap planks were from the wall on the left! I’ll be writing about that project shortly, so check back soon and in the mean time treat yourself to something special this weekend. You deserve it.

Oh! I almost forgot. If you want to build your own bucket, here’s what you’ll need! Assuming you have all the tools, you can do this for about $25-$40 bucks.

Materials purchase list:
1 – Pack of 16″ Insulation rods (found in the insulation aisle at your local big box store)
2 – 1x3x8′ Pieces of pine (Depends on how large of a bucket you desire)
1 – Pack of rope
1 – Length of fabric or lampshade (Given my experience…I would recommend grabbing some fabric from Home Goods or Jo-Ann’s and making your canvas insert that way)

Tools required:
• Staple gun
• Miter saw or miter box
Utility knife
• Tape measure
• Pliers
• Perseverance and expletives


One stay at home dad (to be) conquers DIY and Diapers

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. countrydesignhome

    Hilarious. I mean like LOL hilarious. You are right about one thing. Just because someone builds it doesn’t mean that its particularly awesome. Some things are better trashed, you just have to know when to call it. But I actually like your bucket. I mean, it really does a swell job holding those multiples rolls of TP. But, seriously, how many rolls does one family need??

    1. Rick

      Thanks Susan! The bucket has grown on me (we’ve been through some hard times together). But you’re right…one family DOES NOT need this much toilet paper! Haha! I’m sure I can be a little more creative on a more practical use for the bucket…one of these days!

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