Introduction: Plywood Plant Pot
I have always loved the look of things made from plywood stacked together. And I wanted to create a plant pot using that method. However, all the projects I found online used a hole saw, which I don't have. I could buy a hole saw except they can be pretty pricey considering I would only use it once. So I decided to design a pot that I would be able to make with what I've got. I also wanted to be creative and come up with a totally custom idea that fits me and what I want.
Plywood sheet (mine is 2x2 feet and 15/16 inches thick)
Circular Saw or Table saw
Sandpaper for Belt Sander (120 grit and 400 grit)
Steel Wool (optional)
Personal Protective Equipment
Step 1: Designing With Tinkercad
This step is not necessary. You could of course do the exact project and sizes I am doing. However, I do encourage you to come up with your own design. Make it custom to you. You don't have to use Tinkercad if you don't know how. You could of course always do paper and pencil or another modeling program.
I started in Tinkercad designing an idea that I thought looked cool. I have seen other people do projects from layered plywood, except they always make the grain layers go horizontally. I wanted to make my project unique and custom to me so I decided to stack the plywood in a vertical look.
Inside Tinkercad, I started by changing the units on the grid from millimeters to inches. I took the thickness of the plywood I bought, 15/32 inches, and made a shape of that thickness. I had a general idea of the size I wanted the final project to be and I raised the shape to that height, 5.5 inches. I duplicated the shape and put them next to each other multiple times and lined them up until I got my desired length, about 4.5 inches.
I added a couple more shapes and clicked on the "Hole" button. This will make it so I can cut out an area of my shape. I rotated them 45 degrees and put them on the corners. When I selected all of the shapes and grouped them (Ctrl + G) it cut out the corners making them 45 degrees.
I took the new shape and duplicated it 3 times and rearranged them to form 4 walls of a pot. Now I had the general idea of what I was going to build.
Step 2: Sawing the Pieces
Begin by drawing out the pieces on the plywood sheet. The plywood I bought was 15/32 inches and 2x2 feet. I drew out 36 pieces that were 5.5 x 7/8 inches. Make sure to make them correctly sized and have all right angles by using a rafter square. I measured everything twice just to be sure I had the correct dimensions.
Next, I cut the pieces out using a circular saw. If you have a table saw I would recommend using one to get more accurate or perfect cuts, however, I don't have one and I have to work with what I've got. I cut it out in rows so I ended up having 4 pieces together. I then cut them out using a bow saw by hand because I knew the circular saw would likely chip the small pieces.
After I had cut all my pieces out I realized some of them chipped pretty badly because I didn't take my time when cutting them out. So I cut out 4 more pieces and discarded the bad ones. I would just recommend making sure to be careful and take your time when cutting so you don't mess up as I did.
I also cut out a square that was just a little over 3 x 3 inches. This won't be needed until quite a bit later though.
Step 3: Gluing
Take all of your pieces except the 3x3 square. Apply wood glue to the side of the pieces as shown in the images above. Smooth it out evenly over the surface using your finger or a paintbrush. Put the pieces together so that you can see the layers of grain as shown in the pictures. I tightened a few clamps on 9 pieces to hold them together and let it sit for 45 minutes. When you tighten the clamps wood glue will seep out the edges so just be sure to wipe that up. Also, don't leave it sitting face down on a table because it might accidentally get glued to it. Repeat this process with all 4 sides of your pot.
Step 4: Sanding and Angles
When the pieces dried they were pretty jagged and not lined up perfectly. I used a belt sander with 120 grit to sand down the pieces to be a bit more even. Don't worry about getting things absolutely perfect right here because more sanding will be done later. Don't forget to wear some protective equipment like a dust mask to keep from breathing in sawdust.
Next, I had to cut the corners at 45 degrees so that they could be glued together correctly. I began by drawing on the side of the pieces with a rafter square to mark 45 degrees. To cut it out I began with a circular saw set at 45 degrees. Don't cut right next to the line you drew though. I stayed about 1/8 inch away to keep from any mistakes. I next used the belt sander to sand the angle down to its correct size. As I sanded the pieces down I continually checked to make sure that when the pieces were lined up, they made a 90-degree angle.
Step 5: Assembling
Once your pieces are sanded to the correct angle, you can take two of your pieces and glue them together. I used the 3x3 inch square I cut out earlier to keep it at a right angle as shown in the picture above. But don't apply glue to the square. You don't want it to be stuck to it. It can often be hard to clamp something like this at an angle but putting the square there helps it. If you have a clamp that can hold together a corner easily I would recommend you use it, but I only have normal clamps.
Once that is dried, I pulled off the square. I sanded it down until it was at the correct size to act as a bottom to the pot, about 2.75 inches. Once it is the correct size glue it back on.
After that is dry you can glue another piece on and let it dry. Before you glue on the fourth piece, check to see if it fits. If it doesn't, you might need to sand it down in a few places until it does fit. You can then glue it on. My final piece had trouble fitting in perfectly so I had to use five clamps to get it to fit properly.
Step 6: Final Sanding
Chances are, and if your plant pot turned out like mine so far, the edges are not lined up perfectly. So I took the pot to the sander and using 120 grit I sanded it to the point where things were correctly aligned. I had one corner that wasn't at perfectly 90 degrees so I had to sand it so it was.
Once everything was the correct shape I used 400 grit sandpaper to finish all the sides off and make it smooth. I wasn't able to get it perfect but I am still very pleased with how the final shape turned out.
Step 7: Finishing
If you have any gaps or imperfections on the seams you can use wood filler to fill those in. I just used my fingers and pushed it into the gaps. After the wood filler dries you can do some quick sanding.
Now is when the wood really starts to look amazing. I used Watco brand Butcher Block Oil & Finish to seal and finish my wood. I placed down a couple of pieces of paper to protect my table. I used a foam brush and began to evenly spread it across my wood. I painted on all parts of the pot including the inside and bottom
After it dries you can decide if you want to add another layer. I decided mine could use one so I roughed up the surface a tiny amount with some steel wool. I lightly brushed the steel wool across the surface. This is not necessary however it does help prepare the surface. I then applied another coat of the oil.
This oil really makes the wood more vibrant and helps seal it.
Step 8: Reflection
Well, there you have it. The flower pot is completely finsihed.
There are a few things that I would have done differently and would recommend you do. The first thing is when cutting out the pieces of wood, take your time so your pieces don't chip the way mine did. Another thing I would recommend would be to buy turpentine when using the finishing oil. This is a liquid that helps with cleaning up the oil. Because the oil is not water-based water will not work to clean it up so I would recommend using turpentine.
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