Make Your Own Hauler/Pot Lifter (15 Mins; $3)





Introduction: Make Your Own Hauler/Pot Lifter (15 Mins; $3)

Trying to maneuver a large pot is very tricky, potentially dangerous, and just plain uncomfortable - you risk injury to yourself, your pot, and/or your plant. I have a sprained ankle right now (and for the past 12 years), and I need to be careful with my footing. Getting my legs near a pot could cause me to twist my ankle again, and I'm sure my orthopedist would have a fit since I just had an MRI a week ago. If I had a trick back, I definitely wouldn't be able to move some of the pots in my yard - some are very slippery with no place for a good hold and weigh more than 150 lbs.

I first saw the Pot Lifter on an episode of "Gardening by the Yard" and loved it!  Then I saw the price and was a bit surprised.  I'm not doubting the construction or the relative value, but I can find a large dolly at the pawn shop for the same amount of cash.  And I'm cheap when it comes to gardening gadgets.  Plus it seemed a bit limited in size.

I also saw an episode of "from Martha's garden" where the producers must have convinced Martha to try climbing a tree with an experienced arborist.  I don't know that much about knots, so I'm easily amazed when it comes to how useful and versatile they can be.  However, despite how awesome it was to watch Martha Stewart try to climb a tree (and I can't say I would have done any better to be honest), the knot the arborist used was even more awesome!

So combining the Pot Lifter idea and the knots, I managed to create my own pot lifter/hauler for $3.  I taught myself the knot and can make one of these rigs in about 15 minutes.  It's super easy and incredibly useful especially if you have a lot of large, bulky pots that you might need to bring inside for the winter or severe weather.   You can potentially make your own for free if you can get your own rope without paying a dime.

The bonus is that it's adjustable and can move more than pots!  You can haul lots of stuff!

Step 1: Materials

You will need:
  • Two Longer Bicycle Inner Tubes (cut to 24" or 61cm each)
  • Two Shorter Bicycle Inner Tubes (cut to 11" or 28cm each)

You can find bicycle inner tubes for free at a place that does bicycle repairs or perhaps any specialty bike shop.

  • Two Hollowed Pieces of Bamboo (11" or 28cm each)

I used bamboo because I have a good amount of it in my backyard. You do not need to use bamboo - you just need something that is tubular and has a comfortable grip for your handles such as PVC pipe.

  • Two Longer Ropes (154" or 391cm each)
  • Two Shorter Ropes (61" or 155cm each)

This is some leftover rope that I bought at Home Depot. You won't need a whole bundle.  I taped and singed the ends.

Note:  These are the measurements of the materials I used.  Your measurements do not need to exactly match mine, but remember you can cut things shorter, not longer.

Step 2: Create the Center

Send the longer ropes through the longer tubes and the shorter ropes through the shorter tubes.

Lay the longer ropes parallel to one another.

Lay the shorter ropes parallel to one another and on top of the longer ropes with the inner tubes between the longer ropes.

Tie the shorter ropes to the longer ropes using a Blake's Hitch and a Figure 8 Knot.

Step 3: Create the Handles

Send each end of the rope through the bamboo (see picture).

Tie the end of each rope to other rope coming out the same end of the bamboo using a Blake's Hitch and a Figure 8 Knot.

Repeat for the other side.

Step 4: How to Use

You can adjust the knots for a range of pot sizes by squeezing the knots and pulling it along the rope it's tied to.  The inner tube will crumple with smaller sizes and will help add surface tension between the rope and whatever you're carrying.  You probably won't need the full size all that often, but it's nice to have the option.  You can also adjust the distance between the handle and the center portion should you need to be closer or further away.

Enjoy and be safe in the garden!

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Finalist in the
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Alchemy Goods Inner Tube Reuse Contest

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    25 Discussions

    Hi, AR,

    I made one today for my mom and we tested it out: she likes it very much.

    I found the short cord measurement to be much longer than needed. Otherwise, everything worked as advertised. :D

    Thanks again.

    1 reply

    I'm glad to hear it worked well!  And just in time for overwintering too!

    The shorter ropes are a bit on the long side depending on the pot size, but the knots can be tied closer and retied later.  Or maybe I just have enormous pots.  :P

    Thanks so much for letting me know!

    This is fantastic! Just in time for Chicago's ever-cooling weather. I'm going to make one of these for myself and one for my folks. One thing; in step 2, you write

    "Send the longer ropes through the shorter tubes and the shorter ropes through the shorter tubes."

    I assume you meant to put one pair of the lengths through the longer tubes, but I'll need to re-read and look at the pix to see which.  :D

    1 reply

    Good catch!  It was supposed to say:

    "Send the longer ropes through the longer tubes and the shorter ropes through the shorter tubes."

    Which is exactly what you thought it should say, so I corrected the second step.  Ah well...

    I hope you find it helpful for winter preparations!  I'm hauling my plants in the garage next week, and it's going to be VERY helpful for that cactus pot and a number of others that are spectacularly awkward and heavy.

    You changed the title picture? :( I thought the original one was prettier :)

    Well, the only thing to say: "Why I never thought it before?"


    This is fantastic. I will be making one, then pondering how to make shoulder straps--to take the weight on the shoulders and leave the hands free for maneuvering. Moving straps go up over the shoulders and I think will be necessary for moving things like my enormous treadmill.

    This should be interesting.

    I usually have lots of rope around as it is the dog's FAVOURITE TOY EVER. Some days I'll make an 'Ible on how to use crochet technique and heavy rope to make the best toys in the universe (according to big dogs who destroy toys).

    1 reply

    I don't think it would be difficult. I can add an idea for one to the end of this although the rope I'm using isn't rated for something as heavy as a treadmill.

    Love this one. Cheap, easy to construct, and infinitely useful--that's the instructable trifecta! :)

    1 reply

    Nice one, I wouldn't want to move that cactus pot any other way, that looks deadly.

    1 reply

    I definitely looks deadly, but it's actually spineless. It's called Roadkill Cactus cos it looks like it got pancakes on the highway.

    This looks excellent! I'm definitely going to use it when I have to move something heavy- I hate lifting usually!

    1 reply

    Smart! Can I add a summary and a link to my uses for old rope ible please?