How to Make a Self-Watering Plant Stand

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Introduction: How to Make a Self-Watering Plant Stand

About: I’M A SELF-TAUGHT MAKER, DESIGNER, AND CONTENT CREATOR. WHILE I’M ALWAYS TRYING TO LEARN AND WORK WITH NEW MEDIUMS AND TECHNIQUES, MOST OF MY CURRENT WORK FOCUSES ON LEATHER WORK AND WOOD WORKING. WHEN I’M N…

I have an amazing ability to under or overwater house plants which always ends with the plant dying, so today we’re going to make a plant stand with a hidden self-watering reservoir that allows the plant to regulate how much water it needs and when

Supplies

Supplies & Materials (Affiliate Links):

· Circle Cutting Jig - https://amzn.to/30DQOaV

· Router - https://amzn.to/3jwr0om

· Palm Sander - https://amzn.to/3d2cFxw

· Total Boat Penetrating Epoxy - https://amzn.to/3d1YSHa

· Total Boat Makerpoxy - https://amzn.to/30CjHnR

· Simple Finish - https://amzn.to/2GEOucn

· Concrete - https://amzn.to/34ZByIq

· Pipes - https://www.supplyhouse.com/sh/control/product/~product_id=BLN050-1000

· Coupling - https://www.supplyhouse.com/sh/control/product/~product_id=FBCO1/2

· 12x12 Piece of Leather - https://amzn.to/2uPYGZJ

· Leather Working Starter Tool Kit - https://amzn.to/2uGPGG7

· Leather Rotary Cutter - https://amzn.to/2uTr1yd

· Inexpensive Mallet - https://amzn.to/3ada6Xv

· Leather Marking Pen - https://amzn.to/30pEEAV

Step 1: Cut the Circle Plant Stand Tops

I started with the plant stand top which will consist of two circle pieces of Sapele glued together with the reservoir cut out in the middle

I wanted to create a very shallow shelf for the planter to sit down in, so I used the pot to trace its diameter

I then used my router and circle cutting jig to cut the outline of the shelf

The circle jig is very easy to do – you simply attach the pivot screw in the center of the circle, align the router bit on the traced circle line, and cut out the outline

Next, I moved on to cutting out the larger of the two circles

The size doesn’t really matter, so I set the circle jig to cut just within the width of the board

To cut all the way through, I had to do multiple passes lowering the router a ¼ inch each pass

I then cut all the way through the center using the same process to create the top portion of the reservoir

Next, I cut the smaller bottom circle the same way, but only cut the center void about halfway

This will become the bottom portion of the reservoir that will hold the water

To give the plant stand top a little shape, I added a round over to the top and bottom of both circles

And then I gave everything a sand up to 320 grit

Step 2: Top Glue Up and Epoxy Sealing

Next, I moved back to my shop to glue the two circles together, making sure to align the center holes

To prevent the wood from absorbing the water, I started by applying a layer of Total Boat’s penetrating epoxy

Once that was dry, I added another layer of Total Boat’s Makerpoxy which is a little thicker

This may have been overkill, but I’m always in the camp of better safe than sorry

While that dried, I moved on to making the concrete base

Step 3: Concrete Base Prep

To connect the stands leg to the concrete base, I incorporated a flange on the top of the base

Using a forstner bit, I cut a hole in the bottom of a bowl so the flange would sit flush to the surface of the base

Then to temporary close the flange opening, I used a combination of nuts and washers

To give the concrete something to grab onto, I superglued some screws into the flange

Next, I used some hot glue to hold the flange in place and make the seam watertight for the concrete pour

I also used some silicone on the inside seam

Step 4: Concrete Pour

Next, I mixed up some Quikrete 5000 to the consistency of oatmeal and poured it into the bowl

To get rid of as many bubbles or blemishes in the concrete, it’s important to poke and vibrate the bowl as you go

After about a day or so, the concrete had cured and was ready to take out of the mold

I wanted to make the base darker, so I wiped on some India Ink

The India ink gives the concrete almost a metallic look sometimes which can be a cool effect

With the base done, I switched back to the top which was ready for finish

Step 5: Adding Finish to the Top

To finish the top, I went with Maker Brand’s Simple Finish w/ Wax which is, as the name would suggest, a super simple finish to apply and leaves a really nice natural finish

You simply wipe it on, wait 15 minutes or so and then wipe off the excess

Step 6: Making It Self-Watering/Self-Regulating

Next, I moved on to attaching another flange to the bottom of the top

Because of the reservoir, I had to use some very shallow screws which I spray painted black to match the ones I used on the base

Ok, now for the self-watering or self-regulating part

The idea is that you insert synthetic strings into the soil of the plant through the hole in the bottom of the pot leaving a couple inches hanging out the bottom which will sit down in the reservoir filled with water

The plant then pulls the water up into the soil as it needs it – thereby eliminating any guessing as to when and how much you need to water the plant

I know it sounds a little crazy, but it totally works. All you need to do is remember to make sure the reservoir has water in it every couple of days

With the top done, we’re ready for the final assembly

Step 7: Final Assembly

I grabbed a ½ inch coupling and a couple of pipes to connect the top to the base, and then simply screwed everything together and it was done…or was it…

Step 8: Post Final Assembly Adjustments – Wrapping the Pipes in Leather

I wasn’t happy with how it looked when I did the final assembly, so I decided to wrap the pipes in leather and make the base a little wider and not dye it.

To add the leather accents to the pipes I started by cutting the leather down to length which ended up being 8 and a half inches

Then I just eyeballed how wide the piece would need to be to completely wrap the pipe

Next, I used my wing divider and some leather pricking irons to add stitching holes to each side of the seam

And then I used the corset stitch to close the seam and wrap the pipe

If you want more details on how to do this stitch and others, I made a video dedicated to leather stitching where I go in depth into the process and I will leave a link here for you to check it out

Step 9: Redoing the Base

I used essentially the same process to make the new wider base, only this time I had a small leak which made the flange a little rusty

But since the rust was really just on the surface, I simply used some Acetone and an old toothbrush to remove it and it worked great

Finally, to protect the floor from getting scratched, I cut a scrap piece of leather to size and glued it to the bottom of the base with some Tandy Leather EcoWeld

After that, all that was left was to swap out the new base for the old one and we’re done!

Thanks so much for following along with this project! I’d love to know what you think. Leave a comment below and don’t forget to watch the video on my channel!

See you on the next project!

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    6 Comments

    1
    DIXIE58DIXIE
    DIXIE58DIXIE

    9 months ago

    Really nice work Nathan, I also enjoyed the video but may I suggest one thing? Could you slow your speech down a little bit for us older people. I'm sure you where trying to keep the length of the video down however, as an older person when you talk that fast it's really hard to follow you because the words tend to blend together. While I was at it I also checked out your video on the 7 different stitches. Again, an excellent video. I liked the corset stitch and the baseball stitch for closing the leather the best. They both give a nice clean finish. OHHH decisions decisions. LOL Keep up the great work! Oh and for great music look up Justin Johnson on You Tube I think you would like his music a lot.

    0
    Ethan Carter Designs
    Ethan Carter Designs

    Reply 9 months ago

    Thank you so much for the wonderful comment and feedback - I'm really glad you enjoyed it! I totally understand what you're saying and it's definitely a tricky balance to explain the right amount of information and also keep the correct pacing of the video which is actually one of the reasons I've started trying to do an Instructables for each video where the step by step is almost the exact same as my voiceovers for my video to provide a place if someone missed something I said to reference. With that said, I definitely appreciate the feedback and will work on that going forward! I agree, the corset stitch is probably my favorite stitch all around for look and function and the baseball stitch can really add a cool look! I will definitely check out Justin Johnson - I'm always looking for new music, thanks for the tip!

    2
    gadgeteer123
    gadgeteer123

    9 months ago on Introduction

    Nice job as far as the pot and stand. You will find that most plants do not like to be in constantly damp soil. The roots and stem will eventually rot. I would suggest that you allow the soil to dry between refilling the reservoir. I have tried going to a looser sand or cactus mix combination, but then the wick to soil interface won't draw up the water. Good luck and thank you.

    0
    Ethan Carter Designs
    Ethan Carter Designs

    Reply 9 months ago

    Thank you so much for all the information! I totally admit I don't know a lot about plants, so I welcome the knowledge. It has worked so far, but I totally realize I may need to adjust my plan! Thanks again for the comment and insight!

    1
    rozzieozzie
    rozzieozzie

    9 months ago

    What a cool idea! I bet with the concrete base, this is one plant stand that my dog and cat won't dump over. I'd probably put wind yarn around the pipes, but that's because I have so much! Thanks for a great instructible!

    0
    Ethan Carter Designs
    Ethan Carter Designs

    Reply 9 months ago

    Thank you so much for such a nice comment and I'm so happy you liked it! Haha yep it is definitely pet friendly (sounds like our dogs have a lot in common haha). I like using concrete bases for low profile furniture like this for that exact reason - small footprint but super stable. Oh I bet the yarn would look really cool!!!