Making a rustic wooden pallet planter - with The Salvage Sister


Do you believe in fate?

It's a bit of a serendipitous story, me being invited along to one of The Salvage Sister's (aka Charis Williams) workshops in Brighton last weekend. 

Over the last few months I suddenly had a huge urge to learn how to use a drill and make something.

I kept asking friends out of the blue 'btw do you know how to use a drill?' and being so impressed if their answer was yes, which it mostly was. 

I even posted to a friendly community of bloggers on Facebook, 'do any women here know how to use a drill?' and at least 90% of the ladies that replied said they did and they were fully capable of hanging pictures etc. 

herb garden idea brighton

I felt like I was missing a trick not knowing how and got so much motivation to learn and not worry about screwing up the first few times trying it... so I went on the hunt for a DIY class for women in my local area (Brighton, UK). 

As with a lot of 'whim' searches I embark on, my efforts end up fruitless and I've forgotten about it whilst making a cup of tea, or there's just not been anything of interest. 

Well, 24 hours after I sent that question to my blogger friends, guess what landed in my inbox...

Subject: Upcycling Workshop in Brighton with The Salvage sister

Message: Hi Fifi, I am a designer, TV Presenter and columnist, recently I have been collaborating with well known Brighton Recycling charity - The WoodStore. 
I will be holding various upcycling workshops at their workshop in Elder Place, to encourage people to reuse materials and teach them the skills to do it really well.

I wonder if you would like to come along to the 1st one and share your experience with your following? I’d also obviously be happy to answer any questions and send you images.

Feel free to check me out with my website below & here’s the store page - where you can learn more about the events. 


I couldn't believe my luck. It was fate and the 'Make a pallet planter' class she was putting on was just what I was looking for. A  workshop that would help me get comfortable with power tools, make something for our garden and have fun doing it.

I instantly replied to Charis and got signed up - so excited for the day. 

The session ran for a half day - 10am - 2pm. We had a group of about 6/7 other couples, and the inspirational Charis (whose energy brings so much 'can do' attitude to the room) led the class, showing us how to use everything from reciprocating saws to circular saws and drills to make our wooden planter. 

Pic by Stuart Grimwood

Pic by Stuart Grimwood

the wood store workshop brighton
the wood store diy class brighton
Pic by Stuart Grimwood

Pic by Stuart Grimwood

We had SO much fun as a class and there was a real element of team effort in the room. 

I didn't have a partner and most others did, so during those tricky moments I needed someone to help hold a piece of wood whilst I drill into it, there was always someone there to help. 

Charis led the class in such an enthusiastic, safe and encouraging way. She gave us all confidence with power tools and any daft questions I had were met with such helpful answers. No question was too silly! (Thank God, I can sometimes be inclined to asking obvious questions). 

Pic by Stuart Grimwood

Pic by Stuart Grimwood

Pic by Stuart Grimwood

Pic by Stuart Grimwood

before: wooden planter
after: rustic wooden planter

You can see from the pics below, I used my planter to make a herb garden and jazzed up an old fence in our back garden. I plated thyme, mint, coriander, parsley, rosemary, basil, lavender and chime - and potted out some salad leaves (lettuce and spinach) on the opposite side in the hope that the planter get packed/overgrown with food we can use in our meals.

I really can't recommend trying out different classes and workshops enough - especially if it's something you've always wanted to do but never tried before.

Try something new, you will love it!

Charis has listed more classes in Brighton on her website. From pallet planter making (like I did) to Jam Jar chandelier making (which looks amazing!). So if you want to stretch your power tool skills, or make something unique for your home, hop over to her store for details. 

Open to women and men by the way! 

If you see a class you like, get 20% off by entering the code upcycle20off.