The mid-century modern style was heavily influenced by Scandinavian architects at the time and focused on simplicity, democratic design and natural shapes. This plant stand is a simple build that reflects that style. I use it to create interesting levels for all my plants and I think it adds a bit of beauty to my home.
- Wood (minimum 35"x5"x3/4" potentially more/less if you modify the dimensions to suit your needs)
- Table Saw (I use a vintage Craftsman, but pretty much any brand will do)
- Finish (I use Watco teak oil, but any type of finish can be used)
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Step 1: Choosing the Materials
You can easily make this plant stand from material bought at any of the big box stores, as they sell domestic wood already surfaced at 3/4" thick. In the stores near my house, they sell Oak, Maple, Poplar and Pine.
If you are looking to make the plant stand from exotic wood, you will need to either purchase it surfaced on all 4 sides, or purchase it rough and square up and surface all the sides yourself. In the accompanying video I wanted to do something a bit more interesting, so I purchased rough cut Cherry wood and used my jointer and planer to square it up, but I won't go over that in this instructable as there are many instructables that cover this in great detail. Like this one: https://www.instructables.com/id/Rough-wood-Milling-it-square-fixing-defects-m/
Step 2: Cutting the Wood to Width
Now that you have 3/4" thick wood, you will need it to be the correct width. I used my table saw with a rip blade to pieces that are 2" wide.
It is also possible to purchase wood the correct width, or to have the store cut it for you. (depending on the store)
Step 3: Cutting the Wood to Length
In order to make this plant stand you will need the following pieces:
4 upright pieces - 12"x2"x3/4" with a 45 degree angle at the end - Note: you can change this dimension if you want the planter to be taller/shorter
2 cross pieces - 10"x2"x3/4" - Note: this will make the planter hold an 8" pot, if you want to hold a larger/smaller one, just change the first dimension to the size of pot + 2".
Cut two pieces of wood to 24" lengths. In the middle of those 24" pieces, cut a 45 degree angle cut. You should be left with four 12" pieces with 45 degree angle cuts at the end.
Then cut two pieces that are 10" long.
Step 4: Mark Out the Notches/Waste
After clamping the 4 upright pieces together I measured 7" from the bottom and marked a line. I used a speed square to ensure the line was perpendicular to the pieces of wood.
I then used a scrap piece of wood to ensure the second line would be the right distance from the first and marked another line. Between these two lines is where I will be notching out the wood. Anywhere that will be cut out is called the waste.
I performed a similar procedure on the faces and ends of the cross pieces while ensuring that the notches were marked in the middle of the piece.
Step 5: Change the Blade on Your Table Saw (optional)
In order to make the cuts quicker I changed the blade on my saw from the standard rip blade to a dado stack. A dado stack allows you to cut more width with every pass.
This is optional, you could easily leave on a rip blade, just make sure it has flat grind teeth. Flat grind teeth make it so that there is little/no clean up after the cut. Most blades come with angle grind teeth and will require more cleaning up in later steps. (not covered in these instructions)
Step 6: Cut the Notches
First I raise the blade to 1/2".This will give a total overlap of 1" on the uprights and cross pieces.
I taped the 4 uprights together and using the dado stack on my table saw, I cut notches into the uprights. In order to be precise I sneak up on the marks I made. Sneaking up on a cut means cutting very little at a time, getting closer and closer to the line to ensure that I don't cut too much off at once. It is best to check your progress with scrap piece of wood. Once it is the correct width, the piece of wood will slide into the notch.
Similarly, I taped the two cross pieces together and cut notches in the end of the pieces. I also sneak up on the cut and check often to ensure I do not cut to much away.
Step 7: Cut the Half-Laps
I changed the blade height to 3/8" (exactly half of the width of the pieces). I will be making a half-lap joint in the middle of the two cross pieces.
I slowly cut away the material until they fit snugly into each other. Again, it is important to sneak up on the line and not take to much material away at once.
Step 8: Sand!
Now that all the pieces are cut, it is time for everyone's favourite part, sanding! I used progressively finer grits, starting from 60, going all the way to 220 on my random orbit sander.
Once I had sanded to 220, I wet down the wood to raise the grain. Raising the grain makes sure that if the wood gets wet later (including during the finishing process) that it continues to feel smooth to the touch.
I let the wood dry and then sanded it again with 220 grit.
Step 9: Glue the Pieces Together
The most stressful part is always the glue up! I like to use Titebond III as it has a longer set up time, but any wood glue would work.
Anywhere that two pieces of wood meet needs glue. After putting wood glue on all the joints, I assembled everything together and added clamps.
At this point is very important to wipe any excess glue with a wet rag. If you miss any glue, it will need to be removed/sanded off before adding finish.
Step 10: Add Finish
The most fun part of a woodworking project is adding finish. I like to use Watco Teak Oil as I like the way it brings the colour out of the wood and it is very simple to use. Using a blue shop towel, I rub oil all over the project. After 15 minutes I wipe off any excess. The following day, I add a second coat of finish.
Teak oil is just one of many different types of finishes that are available. You can use any finish you like, just follow the directions on the can.
Step 11: Enjoy!
And now for the best part, enjoying your project! Add a potted plant to your project and you have something beautiful to add to your home!
If you make one of these, I would love to see it in the comments below and I am always happy to answer any questions.