I made the first of these small succulent planters with some leftover redwood from a deck railing but they've turned into craft fair gold and I even have some local flower stores carrying them now. I hope you have fun making some of your own but if you live in the bay area please don't show up in a stall next to me at the next Renegade fair selling these!
The process is pretty simple. It's just some 2x4 redwood glued up and carved down on the bandsaw. One thing I will mention up front is that you have to free cut these on the bandsaw with your hands pretty close to the blade so if you're not comfortable with using one you may want to get used to using the tool first.
You will need:
- (2) 24" long sections of 2x4 redwood. I actually like to pick out the ones with knots and different color to them that most people discard as these give each planter an individual look.
- Drill with a 2-1/4" diameter forstner bit and a 1/4" bit
- 80 and 150 grit sandpaper
- Wipe on polyurethane
Step 1: Glue, Drill, Cut, and Drill One More Time
The first step is to glue up the two 24" long sections of redwood. Give them a good clamping and let them dry overnight.
Next you need to drill out the plant pockets. The 2-1/4" diameter forstner bit is the perfect size to accommodate the 1..25 quart succulents that you can pick up at your local box store for about $2. You need to drill 6 pockets in the 24" long section. Start the first hole 2" in from the end and space the rest 4" apart. Be careful not to drill all the way through!
On to the bandsaw. Slowly start to whiddle off little chucks at a time. I like to start by shaving the bottom then working on the top and sides. Don't try to take off too much material in each pass as it increases the chances of your blade binding and also helps you keep an eye out that you don't cut through into your plant pocket. Please keep two hands on the piece at all times when cutting, I only show one hand in my picture because I had to hold my phone.
Once you have your pieces cut down drill a 1/4" hole through the bottom for drainage.
Step 2: Sand and Finish
On to everybody's least favorite part of any project, sanding. I do these by hand but if you have access to a nice bench belt sander you can go that route as well. Hit them first with some 80 grit and then move on to 150. You can go smoother if you like but I like the look of leaving some of the band saw marks showing so I stop at 150.
For finishing I give them 2 coats of wipe on polyurethane. I use the satin as the gloss finish kind of takes away from the rock look.
Step 3: Other Options
I did a set of these for a small kitchen windowsill herb garden. I made one side really flat and added 3 coarts of chalkboard paint so that I can label them as to which herb was in each. You can feel free to add any color you'd like. You can also make these out of a nice hardwood but you'll have to be sure to sand and seal the inside of the planter pocket well. I use the redwood due to it's natural resistance to water damage so I don't pay too much attention to the inside.
Thanks for looking and hope you enjoy!