How to Make a Plant Seed Storage Box + Free Printable Dividers

April 28, 2019

A wood recipe box can be easily repurposed into a place to store and organize garden seed packets.  Keep reading for the modern farmhouse style DIY transformation and download some free labels to categorize your seeds.

Box to store seeds, garden trowel, and a fern in clay pot

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If you enjoy starting flowers, vegetables, or herbs from seed, it is likely that you have seed packets to store.  Maybe you ordered them early in the year to be prepared for planting or perhaps they are excess seeds that you need to save for next year.

Seeds can be stored from one year to the next under proper conditions.  They like to be kept in a cool, dark place.  And if they are neatly organized so that you can find what you need when you need it, you can spend more time playing in the garden and less time hunting for what you want to plant.


There are different ways to store and organize your packets of plant seeds and it is all a matter of preference about what works best for you.  I've seen them stored in plastic storage boxes made specifically for photos.  There are companies who manufacture metal tins where they can be kept safe.  Or maybe you prefer to store them in plastic sleeves in a binder.

But I like things to be pretty as well as functional.  When I was cleaning recently I found a wood recipe box that I was no longer using and knew that it would be a convenient place to keep all of the seed packets I have in one place.  By repurposing this old box, I was able to personalize it to fit in with my style.    It was such an easy DIY project, and really reminds me of something you might see Joanna selling at Magnolia!  The full tutorial appears a little further down in this post.


There are many ways that you can organize your seed packets.  I like to sort the seeds into perennial, annual, and vegetable seeds.  Maybe you like to store them based on when they need to be started indoors or planted directly outside.  Or perhaps you want to sort the plants based on what season they bloom.  If you are an avid gardener, it is possible that you have multiple varieties of single seeds like tomatoes like you want to keep together.

In addition to customizing my box to look the way I wanted it to, I was also able to put a personal spin on how they are organized inside the box.  I created my own dividers out of chipboard and then added pretty labeled tabs that I made on the computer.

Not only are these dividers useful in keeping your seeds separated and organized, but they could also be used as a place to record where and when the seeds were planted, notes about their blooming habits or success you had with the planting.   Things you would want to refer back to next year.

Labeled tabs for organizing garden seeds

To help you organize your own plant seeds, I'm sharing the tabs I created.  There are four different color options for you to choose from, so you can either pick one or pick a few and mix them up in your box.


white   |   light gray   |   dark gray   |   charcoal

It is hard to know exactly how everyone would want to label their seed packets, so I've set up an option in my online store where you can purchase a set of customized tabs if you'd like.  And they don't have to be used just for dividing seeds.  I'm actually going to create a set to update my stored recipes and they'd work great for making custom dividers inside of a binder. 

Printable page of labeled tabs for organizing garden seeds

With Mother's Day just a few weeks away, this seed storage box would make a thoughtful gift for mom if she loves spending time in the garden.  Fill it with the handmade dividers and some of her favorite flower seeds.

It would also be an easy project to make as a housewarming gift for a friend or family member when they move into a new home.

If it is for a gift, I love shopping for flower seeds that come in pretty packaging because I think the beauty of the packet is part of the gift.  Some of my favorite places to shop for vegetable and plant seeds are Monticello ShopFloret Flowers, and MagnoliaThe packets you see in this post with the vintage inspired botanical pictures came from Monticello Shop which is set up to sell heirloom plants through President Thomas Jefferson's Center for Historic Plants.

Garden seeds stored in wood box.



Supplies for making Plant Seed Envelope Storage Box


  1. If you are using an unfinished recipe box, the first step is to paint or stain the wood as you'd like.  I had previously painted my box white and stained the inside, but you can make your box  whatever color you love.
  2. When the paint or stain is dry, transfer the word SEEDS to the front of the box using carbon paper.
  3. Using a small brush, paint inside the letters you drew on the box with acrylic craft paint.  It may take two thin coats of paint to completely fill in the letters.  I used a charcoal color (Graphite by Americana), but you can choose whatever will stand out against the color of your recipe box.
  4. After the paint has dried, gently distress the letters with a fine grit sandpaper to give the letters an aged appearance.

SEEDS painted on wood recipe box

  1. Cut equal sized rectangles from the chipboard to create the number of dividers you need to organize your seed packets.
  2. Print out the printable tabs in the color or colors you'd like to use onto white cardstock.  Carefully trim out the labels that you want with scissors.  
  3. Fold them in half.  You can use either a bone folder or your fingernail to get a crisp fold. The blank area under the typed word has been made a little longer than you may need depending on how far up you want the label to be on t the divider.  The bottom can be trimmed down if you desire to do so.  
  4. Before attaching the tabs to the dividers you need to figure out where the bottom should be positioned so that they all line up with one another and also how you would like the tabs to be spaced across the top of the dividers.  I chose to have tabs in four locations, but you may want more or less.  Make a couple small dots with a pencil where the tab should be attached.
  5. Add  three short pieces of double-sided tape to the inside of each label - a piece should be placed in the middle and at both bottom ends.  This is what will attach the label to the chipboard divider and will tape the top portion to itself creating a sturdy tab.
  6. Fold the labels over the top edge of the chipboard divider where you've measured for ti to be and press firmly to securely attach everything together.  
  7. Add the handmade labeled dividers to your seed storage box and begin filing your packets!  If you are adding packets that have been opened, be sure to tape them shut to ensure the seeds do not fall out into the box.

Supplies for making labeled divider tabs          Tape, scissors, and printable divider tabs


Hand Tools You Need to Be a Successful Gardener

Grow Shrubs + Bushes in Containers....Even If You Don't Have a Green Thumb

Create a DIY Storage Basket from a Repurposed Kitchen Pot

Vintage botanical print seed packets from Monticello


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