We’re back this week sharing a simple DIY with you, and a timely one! I’ve gone into full-on Plant Lady mode lately, and with the emergence of Spring, it’s the perfect time to build your own simple planter. This is an easy one: inexpensive, quick, beginner DIY, and minimal supplies.
Midcentury-modern style planters have been popular for several years now, and the trend doesn’t show signs of stopping.
While there are some great sources to buy these plant stands, I love the idea of DIYing this project because that way you can totally customize it to the size and shape of your favorite container. This whole project started when I got a beautiful plant from my pop, and I knew I wanted to create a perfect place for it. This was one of those times when I just literally popped out to the workshop and started cutting.
The most important considerations you want to make are:
- How high do I want my plant off the ground? (This includes how tall the plant actually is. If it’s a tall cactus or sprawling fig, you’ll probably keep the base low to the ground, whereas if you’re working with “spiller” plants, you can go a little taller so that the plant will have more presence in the room.)
- How big is my pot? Your container will determine the dimensions of your stand, and it’s all simple from there. You want the X-base of the stand to be just slightly larger than the diameter of your container, so that it hugs the pot closely. If there’s a lot of room between the container and the “arms”, it looks quite strange.
- What proportions do I want? Some of these mid-mod style plant stands have tiny arms that barely come up the sides of the container. The planters from Room and Board (above), have arms that almost reach the top of the containers. This one is totally a personal preference based on what look you’re going for. I think the best look is when the arms are about 1/2 – 3/4 of the way up the side of the container.
Above you can see my basic components: 4 vertical arms, one long cross piece, and two short cross pieces. The math that we did here was: How tall do I want the arms to be + How high do I want my plant off the ground? Because my plant is tall, I knew it only needed to be about 10″ off the ground, and with my 12″ container, I went with 6″ arms. So, the basic arm pieces needed to be 16″ long, and my X base needed to be 12.5″ across to accommodate the container, so the single piece is 12.5″ long, and the shorter pieces are 12.5″ minus the width of the center piece, divided in half. I used 1″x2″ boards for this project.
I cut all these pieces with my miter saw, but it could easily be done with a hand saw and a miter box. Next up was attaching all the pieces. Here’s where you can really do whatever suits you best. If you have a Kreg Jig, you can pocket hole the pieces together and keep the holes hidden underneath the cross piece. If you want to keep it really simple, you can drill or nail the cross pieces from the outside of the arms, and then make sure to counter-sink them (create space within the wood to accommodate the entire head of the screw so it doesn’t stick out) so you could fill and patch that later. However, that wouldn’t work for attaching the 3 X-base pieces to each other. I really wanted this to be completely sleek and have hidden joints, so I went with my doweling kit.
I’m a big fan of the doweling kit because it is simple and inexpensive. This is the one I use. (Just a regular link, y’all) You can certainly dowel by hand, but this kit takes all the guesswork out. The jig and stops allow you to drill to the exact depth you need, and the pins let you line up your dowels perfectly. Below you can see where I was making the X-base, using the pin to line up one doweled hole with where I’ll drill the next one. The pin fits into your drilled hole, and makes an indent in the exact right place against the other board so that you know they’ll line up perfectly.
I started by making one “H”, using two arms and the long cross piece. You can see where I’ve already drilled the dowel holes where the short cross piece will attach. I used wood glue and my favorite clamp to let this cure up for a bit.
Then I glued the short cross pieces to the center piece and attached them to the other arms. This part is sort of a game of Twister for a moment, but the pieces are so light, it’s not that much of a challenge. I added another clamp to pull that “H” section together and let it all sit for at least an hour.
And that’s it! Seriously, you’re done! The hardest part of this project was waiting to put on my finish. I actually quite like the wood raw, especially with the right kind of container, but I knew that the finish wouldn’t really match the room where I was putting this planter. I could have done a dark stain, and I thought about it, but I decided to paint it with a matte black to make it feel more modern.
The finish is the part where you can really have a lot of fun. You could do any kind of stain or paint, you could color-block it or do something wild with an ombre or splattered finish, or you can keep it really simple and let your container be the star. The Midcentury Modern style generally calls for a mid-toned wood or black painted base, and a simple black or white cylindrical container, but I like the idea of going crazy too. You do you! I think a gold base and a bright colored container would be totally fun and funky.
I kept it more traditional with a grey container and a matte black base. I love the pop of much-needed greenery it brings to our dining room- it’s just perfect!
Simple, inexpensive, and endlessly customizable, I’d say this one checks all the boxes of an ideal DIY. I wish I had a nice open corner to make a cluster of these. Maybe outside! And here I am making plans for new projects when I’m still in the middle of other ones.. 😉