I made this Tree of Life Wall Plant Hanger for my sister for Christmas, and a lot of people wanted to know how to make one.
So these aren't perfect instructions, as I didn't take measurements or many pictures while making it, but it will give you enough information to make one, easier than it was for me to make! :-)
I also added some "Lessons Learned" comments, so that you hopefully don't have to go thru the same learning curve that I did.
Step 1: Purchase Materials
1) Decide what size Tree of Life you want and buy a steel ring. I bought a 19" ring from Hobby Lobby for less than $4.
2) Decide what type of string/twine/jute/whatever you want to use for the Tree of Life. I used "On a Cord" which was also from Hobby Lobby, on sale 50% off, so again less than $4.
3) Decide what type of wire you want to hold the plant pots to the ring. I used a 12 gauge copper colored aluminum wire from Michaels (here) that ended up being a little too soft to really hold the pots as well as I would have like. I will buy something sturdier in the future, like this 8 gauge solid copper wire from Lowes. It can be bought by the foot for $.59 a foot or a 25' spool for $10.68.
4) Buy your plants! I bought 6 plants in 3" pots from Lowes.
Lesson Learned: If you are going to hang your wall garden inside, make sure that the pots don't have drainage holes in them, or have a saucer. For hanging outside, make sure the plants all need approximately the
same sun/shade conditions.
Step 2: Start Making Your Tree of Life
Cut 24 pieces of string 50" long. If you are doing a ring that is a different size, double the diameter and add 10". The extra 10" are for attaching to the ring, twisting, making knots at the end, etc.
Lesson Learned: It is MUCH easier to make sure that you have extra string when you are making it, then to have to try to tie knots with very small ends. You might spend $1 more for string, but you will save tons of time and hassle later!
Step 3: Connect the Roots
Fold the strings in half and attach to the bottom of the ring using Larks Head knots. It doesn't matter whether you do them regular or reverse, just do them all the same or alternate or random. I did them all regular.
Here's a great explanation on how to make a Larks Head Knot.
Lesson Learned: Make sure that the ends of the string are the same length BEFORE tightening the knot, or else your strings might not be long enough to knot at the end of the project.
When you are done attaching the strings, move them all together at the bottom of the ring. You will have 24 knots and 48 strings coming up from the ring.
Step 4: Make the Trunk
Collect all the strings together and twist them around several times to make the trunk. You are looking to get "about" to the middle of the ring. The strings will "relax" once you let go, so give them an extra twist! :-) Tie an extra piece of string around the top of the trunk with a tight bow - you will remove it later.
Lesson Learned: I didn't twist the trunk enough originally, so later I had to "undo" some branches and twist them around the trunk again to make it look better. The "original" tree picture above (doesn't have the copper pot holders) along with "fixed" tree trunk picture (does have copper pot holders).
I could have maybe twisted a few groups of 2-3 of the strings together before twisting them all together, to give the roots a more realistic look. Try a few ways and see what you like!
Step 5: Start Making the Main Branches
Select 24 of the strings for the "front side of the Tree" and 24 of the strings for the "back side of the Tree". This just helps make the tree look more 3 dimensional and creates some depth.
Tie the front set of 24 strings to the top of the ring with a loose bow while we work with the back
set. Turn the ring over and work with the back group of 24 strings.
Divide the 24 strings in the back group into 5 smaller groups - two groups with 4 strings each for the left, two groups with 4 strings each for the right and one group with 8 strings for the middle. These are the main branches coming from the trunk. Tie the side groups to each side of the ring with a loose bow, and start with the middle group of 8 strings.
Step 6: Start Making the Smaller Branches
We are going to make smaller and smaller branches with each group:
A. Twist the group of 8 strings for about 1-2 inches
B. Divide the group of 8 strings into 2 groups of 4 strings
C. Tie one group of 4 strings to the ring with a loose bow
D. Twist the other group of 4 strings for about 1- 2 inches
E. Divide the group of 4 strings into 2 groups of 2 strings
F. Tie one group of 2 strings to the ring with a loose bow
G. Twist the other group of 2 strings for about 1-2 inches
H. Spread the ends of the 2 strings apart and tie with a loose knot onto the ring where you want them. Note: They will slide around a little, but we will "lock" them in place at the end.
I. Repeat steps G and H for the other group of 2 strings
J. Repeat steps D thru I for the other group of 4 strings
Lesson Learned: I am very analytical, so it was hard for me to NOT make them all symmetrical/same
length of twists, but a real tree isn't, so make your branch lengths somewhat
random for a more realistic look.
Repeat steps 6 (D) thru 6 (I) for each of the remaining groups of 4
strings on the back.
Step 8: You Are Done With the Back of the Tree! :-)
Turn over the ring to work on the front.
Step 9: Make the Front of the Tree
Repeat steps 6) and 7) for the 24 strings on the front of the tree.
Step 10: Finish the Ring
We are going to make knots all the way around the ring to "lock" the branches where we want them. There are several ways that you could do this, but I did the Larks Head Knots to go with the ones at the roots.
A. Cut a very long piece of string, maybe 15-20 feet.
B. Wrap it around and around 2-3 of your fingers, to make it into a manageable "ball" of string.
C. Connect it to the ring to the right of the roots, with a regular Larks Head Knot, leaving about 2" of string on one end, and the "ball" on the other.
NOTE: You can tuck the short end of the string under the first 5-6 knots, and then trim off the small tail OR knot it a few times to the ring.
D. You are now going to make Larks Head Knots "manually":
a. Take the ball of string over the top and thru the ring
b. Bring the ball up outside of the ring
c. Go UP thru the loop made
d. Pull tight
e. Take the ball of string under the bottom and thru the ring
f. Bring the ball down outside of the ring
g. Go DOWN thru the loop made
h. Pull tight
E. Repeat step D around the ring, "locking" the branches in place by making stitches
on each side of where the branches attach to the ring, until you get down to about 2" of string.
Lesson Learned: Tie the branch with a tight knot a few Larks Knots before you get to it, so that
F. Repeat step A-C until you get all the way around, tying the end of one string to the beginning of the next.
G. Tie off the very end string with a few knots.
H. Trim off the long ends from where the branches were knotted to the ring, leaving about 1/4" of string.
Step 11: Add the Hanger
I made a 3 string braid for this hanger, but a 4 strand braid would have been easier to tie to the ring.
A. Cut 3 pieces of string about 36" long.
B. Hold all 3 pieces of string together and tie a knot about 4" from the end. You want to leave enough string to tie it to the ring when we are done.
C. Braid the string for about 2 feet
D. Hold all 3 pieces of string together and tie a knot at the end of the braid, about 4" from the end. Again, you want to leave enough string to tie it to the ring when we are done.
E. Tie one end of the braid to the ring at about 10 o'clock and the other end of the braid to the ring at about 2 o'clock.
Step 12: You Now Have a Beautiful Hand-made Tree of Life Wall Hanger!
If you want to make it a wall plant hanger:
A) Measure around the pot with the rope to see how long the piece of copper wire needs to be. I think mine were about a foot long each - which was 9-10" for going around the pot and then an extra inch on each end for attaching to the ring.
B) Cut your first piece of wire
C) Wrap it around the pot to curve it and make sure it is the correct size
D) Attach it to the ring by winding the extra inch on each end around the ring several times.
E ) Repeat for each of the 6 pots
Lesson Learned: The pots at the top stay in place better than the ones at the bottom. I attached the pots at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 o'clock spots on the ring. It would have been better to connect them at 1, 3 5, 7, 9 and 11 o'clock, which is what my inspiration plant hanger had done.
F) Put your pots in the wire holders!