Introduction: Plant Caddy

Picture of Plant Caddy

If you have potted plants, you probably already know that moving them may be a quite challenging task. Everytime I have to clean my balcony's floor I remember how heavy my plants are... The solution is placing them on plant caddies.
You can find plant caddies in a wide variety of styles and materials, but nothing is more rewarding than building your own. For this project I decided to build square plant caddies made of real wood.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

For this project, I used:

  1. wood slats (I used two 350x50x25mm and seven 350x30x10)
  2. wood sandpaper (#100 and #220)
  3. wood sealer (and solvent)
  4. wood varnish (and solvent)
  5. paint application tool (brush, spray gun, etc)
  6. nails
  7. casters
  8. screws

Step 2: Prepare the Wood

Picture of Prepare the Wood

Unfortunately, wood made stuff will not last long enough if you don't apply any kind of protective coating to it. There are many options out there, but the one that I like the most is sealing and varnishing.
The first thing you have to do is to sandpaper and clean the slats. I used a #100 wood sandpaper and then a piece of dry cloth to remove the dust.

Once you have sanded all the slats, it is time to seal the wood. Sealing is important because it seals the pores protects the wood and prepares it for the varnish. Follow the manufacturer's instructions about application and dilution. It is important to use the proper solvent (using the wrong solvent will ruin your sealer!). You may apply the sealer using any technique/equipment you want. I sprayed it.

The sealer dries out very fast, so if this is your first time with this kind of product, I recommend you to practice first. Also keep in mind that some sagging at this point will not ruin your project.

Once the sealer is properly dry, sandpaper and clean all the slats again, but this time with a thinner sandpaper (#220, for example). The thinner the sandpaper, the smoother surface you gonna have, but (in my opinion) #220 is thin enough.

As the sealer is not weathering resistant, it is important to apply something to protect it. I used naval wood varnish, but you can choose any varnish or paint that you want. Follow the manufacturer's instructions about application and dilution. It is important to use the proper solvent (using the wrong solvent will ruin your varnish!). You may apply the varnish using any technique/equipment you want. I use a brush.

Step 3: Assembling

Picture of Assembling

Once the wood is properly dried, it is time to assembly everything together...
The mounting process is quite simple: place the two wider slats 35 cm apart from each other and then place the seven narrower slats, 90º rotated and evenly spaced from each other, on top of it.

I preferred to use a drop of wood glue prior to nailing everything, but I'm quite sure you can suppress the glue or the nail. It is up to you to decide.

If you want to extend the nails' life, I suggest you to apply a drop of varnish on its head after hammering it.

The last thing to do is to fix the casters on the bottom, using proper sized screws. If the screws you are using have a big diameter, it is a good idea to drill a hole (just a few milimeters deep, with a smaller diameter) first.

Step 4: Finished!

Enjoy the freedom to move your heavy plants easily.

Comments

tomatoskins (author)2015-05-18

This looks really cool! How long do you think that the finish will last on the wood being outside?

vsolymossy (author)tomatoskins2015-05-18

First of all, thank you! I'm glad you liked it.

This is a quite tricky question. Besides the factors that are inherent to the varnish itself (binder, UV absorbant pigment, etc) it will depend on how much rain and sun the caddy gonna be exposed to.

The standard naval quality alkyd varnish is quite cheap, easy to apply, and will be ok for a reasonable time. Epoxy varnish is more moisture resistant, but it gets chalky when exposed to sunlight. Polyurethane is very resistant to UV and quite resistant to moisture as well, but it is more expensive, may be tricky to apply and uses isocyanates as curing agent. There are so many options out there!

My option was the alkyd, because the maintenance is very easy and my caddies are not supposed to get wet.