Hi! It's Mandi from Making Nice in the Midwest. As I've learned more about not killing my houseplants, I've gained the courage to fill my home with more and more of them (so much so that I'm running out of room!). My one-and-a-half-year-old kiddo has finally learned how to "no touch" the houseplants, which has given me the guts to employ the use of a plant stand, with minimal fear of potentially having to clean up dirt from the floor. (I'm hoping we're completely past that stage! Please don't burst my bubble!) I had a specific minimal style in mind and—as usual—couldn't find anything in stores or online that fit within my budget, so I fell back on my usual plan of just making my own!
This project was really quick and easy, as far as furniture building goes, since I decided to use brackets in lieu of attempting any wood joinery techniques. The difficulty level and cost varies depending on whether or not you wish to make your own wooden circles. I'll talk a bit about the options below. And guess what? I've heard your cries and am working harder to include more information on the approximate cost of supplies, so you can better decide if this project is right for you.Supplies:
– 2 10" or 12" wooden pre-cut circles at least 1/2" thick. (Don't buy ones with beveled edges.)
– 4 3/4" or 1" square dowels (I used 3/4" x 36" long dowels and cut them down to 28".)
– white paint + primer
– wood stain
– power drill
– tape measure (not shown)
– 8 1/2" wide L-brackets
If you are cutting your own circles you will also need:
– 1" x 12" x 2' piece of solid wood instead of the wooden circles listed above. (A piece 2x the size you need is $18 at Lowes.)
– jig saw
– sandpaper (I began with 80 grit and finished with 180 grit and used a rotary sander.)
– 10" plate for tracing, or a compass for drawing the circle
Total cost: $25 (approximately broken down according to the portion of supplies purchased):
– wood: $15 – I used half of the $18 board, leaving a 1' x 2' board for another project, and four 36" dowels at $2.49 each.
– hardware: $4.50 – Includes two packages of 4 brackets which include mounting screws.
– paint & stain: $3.50 – I used 1/4 of a $5 can of spray primer, 1/4 of a $5 can of spray paint, and less than two ounces of Minwax stain, which costs $4.77 for an 8oz can.
– sandpaper: $2 – I used one sheet of a $4 4-pack of 80 grit sandpaper and 1 sheet of a $4 4-pack of 180 grit sandpaper.
Note about the wooden circles:
The following steps will include the process of cutting your own circles. I decided to cut my own because I had difficulty finding pre-cut circles in the size I wanted that didn't have beveled edges, and since I already have a jig saw, I knew it would be easy to do. You may be able to find wooden circles at the craft store, but they might not be thick enough to handle the length of screws that come with your brackets. If you do use thinner wooden circles, keep in mind that you will need to buy shorter screws to attach the brackets. You also have the option of gluing together two of the same size wooden circles to make a thicker, nicer looking shelf on the plant stand. I found this piece of wood on Amazon that doesn't look too bad, although the edges of plywood are notoriously full of chips, so I would want to fill those up with wood filler and sand it down before painting. Who knows? You may even be able to find two inexpensive round cutting boards that would work perfectly for your shelves!Step One: Trace the outline of the 10" plate onto the solid wood board. I used poplar, but since you're painting this wood, the species isn't too important. Leave an evenly spaced border around the circle you trace so you can easily fit the jig saw on either side of the line while cutting.
Step Two: Cut along the lines you traced with the jig saw. Slowly but surely wins this race! If you go too quickly, you might not be able to trace the line exactly, and then you'll just end up with a wonky circle. While I cut, I hold the edge of the board firmly onto a table with my left hand while I cut with the jig saw in my right hand. Of course, as I cut, I need to move the board so that I don't end up cutting into the edge of the table.Step Three: Sand the edges of the wooden circles so they're nice and smooth. While you're at it, sand down the wooden dowels just to knock off any factory roughness or sharp corners that they might have.
Step Four: Prime and paint the wooden circles. I lightly sanded down the second coat of primer with 180 grit sandpaper to give it a nice smooth finish for the two coats of paint I applied next.
Step Five: Stain the square dowels. When you're purchasing the dowels at the store (I got mine from the craft store), try to find ones that have similar looking grain. They are more likely to take the stain evenly. I applied the stain with a paper towel, and after I was finished, I allowed the stain to cure completely. Only then did I throw away the dry paper towel. If you throw it away while the fumes are fresh, you risk spontaneous combustion. Never work with stain while pregnant or nursing and always wear a mask. If you are especially concerned about the fumes, you may want to look into natural wood stains.Step Six: Find the prettiest looking edge on your stained dowels, and mark the bracket connection points on the side opposite. Measure in 7" from the bottom of your square dowel (the bottom will have red paint on it if you purchased it from a craft store) and 2" from the top, and mark those points lightly with a pencil. Make sure these lines are very precise, or your legs will be a bit wobbly.
Step Seven: Lay out the brackets so that their holes are centered up with the lines you marked in step six, drill pilot holes right on the line, and then insert the screws to connect the brackets. On the bottom shelves, I used longer brackets with two screws for each side, and then I used smaller brackets on the top, since they would be more visible. For the brackets with two holes, I simply lined up the bottom hole with the line I marked, and then drilled the pilot hole for the top hole after filling the bottom one with a screw. Do make sure your brackets are facing the right way on the top and bottom.Step Eight: Find four equidistant points on the edge of your circular shelves and mark them. Do this by measuring the circumference of the circle, dividing by four, and then marking points at that measurement with a measuring tape.
Step Nine: Drill pilot holes for the bracket connection points on the bottom of the white shelves by centering a bracket with the lines you marked in step eight and then marking where the bracket's hole is. These need to be precisely drilled and should be as perfectly centered as you can get them! Then screw each of the brackets (which by now have been attached to the legs) onto the bottom of the white shelves where you drilled the pilot holes. This was a bit awkward to do while managing all of the long legs, but it can be done with just one set of hands and minimal swearing.If you've got some extra crafty woodworking skills, then I would also suggest using larger square dowels and recessing them by making equally spaced dado cuts into the edges of the wooden circles. You can use a small dowel joinery technique inside the dado to connect the dowel to the edge of the shelf to eliminate the need for the L-brackets. But if you prefer your woodworking projects to be on the simple side, just forget I mentioned anything about joinery.
When I first finished this stand, the legs were a bit wobbly because I wasn't fastidious about the screw placement. So I redid the screw holes (a couple of inches aside from the original holes) and also cut the legs down while I was at it. The image below shows what the plant stand looks like now. Perfectly straight, sturdy, and a bit shorter at 28" tall instead of 36". I love it!The top plant is a Chinese Evergreen, and the bottom is a Bay Leaf Tree.
If you'd like to have an extra set of hands for assembling your plant stand, it could be fun to split the cost of supplies with a friend and spend a nice spring afternoon (that eventually will be here, right?) making two stands, so you won't have to worry about stashing leftover supplies.
This little Arts & Crafts meets Mid Century style project was a nice, simple solution for my plant stand needs, but it would also make a great side table! You can adjust the height, width, and even the number of legs to suit your needs. You could even add another shelf in the middle for another plant. The more the merrier!
Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson