Intro: Small Forest Planter
Few days ago, my wife bough some small plants that look like trees. We already have 65+ plants on our balcony, so i start thinking what can i do with those..
I wanted something hand made and ..small... using mostly stuff i already had.
I start looking around and .....
Step 1: Materials and Cost
- Plastic Planter - already had it but it costs around 3€
- Old frame wooden backplate 0€
- Reeds - 0€ (gathered my self last summer)
- Potting Soil (1 €)
- Plants (the ones my wife bought 3€ + some from my garden)
- Crafting Sticks (both flat and rounded) 2€
- Cable stripper (i tried various tools to cut crafting sticks, but with my cable stripper i was able to cut faster)
- Crafting glue or wood glue 3€
- Sanding Paper
- Wood Varnish (just a bit)
- Hot Glue Gun
- Knife or saw
Total cost: 12€
Step 2: Making Something Different With the Planter
Unfortunately i don' t have pictures of the process for this step:
I wanted to glue reeds around my planter to make it look more "natural". I though at the beginning to make the planter with reeds only, but i had concerns about dirt dropping around and water drainage. So i decided to use the plastic one.
Backplate is used due to planter shape (smaller on bottom) in order reeds to glued vertically:
- Cut the planter to the desired size. I used a knife for this. Took me a while though so better use a rotary tool with a cutting disk, or a saw. Be cautious since with rotary tools it is possible plastic to melt from heat.
- Cut frames backplate 0,5cm smaller than planters top
- Glue backplate to planter (i used small screws to hold it since i was having trouble keeping the backplate to desired place)
- Cut the reeds using a saw to few cm larger than planter height. So bottom part is not touching the ground protecting the backplate and top part be higher than planter in order plastic to be covered by soil.
- Put some glue using a hot glue gun on plastic planter and on backplate and glue the first reed (dont worry if its not very stable. Placing the rest of the reeds will make the construction stronger.
- Glue the next reed by applying some glue also on the side with the previous one
- Continue gluing the rest of reeds and stop when another 5-10 reeds remains
- Put the rest of reeds without gluing them to test fitting. It is very likely that you will need to replace some reeds with smaller or bigger. When you all reeds fit glue them with the order you place them.
- Remove any excess hot glue. dont worry if you can see hot glue joints inside the planter since that part will be covered by soil.
When all reeds are in place you can use sand paper to level them, but i prefer to let them have different heights.
Step 3: Creating a Small Wooden Hut
Walls and flooring
First of all we must roughly decide our hut size... that depends both on planters actual size but also from our personal likes.
- Make a square to desired size by using crafting or wood glue. On the long end i preferred to leave some wood outside the "box".
- Since this box is not stable enough to continue i added a "cross" for support and four small sticks on the sides so my hut floor to be placed.
- Measure 2 sticks a bit larger than with the existing ones on short edge of your created box and mark them with a pencil.
- Place them on the short sides
- Measure 1 stick that will fit between the short sides sticks you just glued and cut it.. if it is a bit bigger use a sanding paper until the size is correct.
- For the front side, we need to leave space for a door. Cut a small stick and glue it. Leave a space that it looks normal for a door and place a stick to the rest.
Next the long sticks must go to the long edge and continue with the same way.. short edge-long edge -sort egde
When you create the first 2-3 rows of your walls measure the inside of your hut and cut flat sticks for the flooring. It is better to do it early so it is easier to put them to place. I used sanding paper again in order to make small adjustments.
When i reached the fifth row i decided it was a good height to have windows. As with the door, cut smaller sticks and place them to create your windows (this was the most time consuming part since you need lots of small sticks)
When you reach desired height of windows start placing full sticks.
Next part was the roof.
Measure the short side of your hut and cut a stick longer than that so your roof ends outside of your walls (on my hut size it was around 2 cm bigger)
Cut another stick smaller by 4 stick tops than the previous one. You can measure it like the photo below.
I started with 2 stick tops smaller but i end up with a very high roof as you can see in photos.. so for most cases .. 4 sticks will be fine.
Cut again a smaller stick (by 4) than the previous one until you end up with a few mm stick (for the top)
Now you should have a set of sticks that can form a triangle. Cut another set with the same dimensions.those two will be the sides of our roof.
Start with the larger stick and center the next one and glue it (on flat surface). Continue gluing the rest of the sticks and do the same with the other set.
Until the two triangles set, we must cut our beams. Each beam must have the same size as the long edge of our hut. Cut as many sticks as the "steps" of each triangle.
Put the two sets vertically (this is a bit tricky to put them vertically and stay there) and glue the first beam on the lower step of the triangles. Now glue the second on the exact opposite direction.
Glue the next stick to the higher step and the next one to the exact opposite.
I find it much easier using small boxes to keep the triangles in place until the glue of the first 4-6 sticks set and roof start keeping its shape.
Continue by gluing the rest of the sticks on each step.
Measure and cut the edges of flat sticks so the end of the flat stick touches on beam and the beam below is roughly at the middle of flat part. I preferred to keep the rounded edges of the flat sticks, but you can also cut them if you like it). Test fit them before you start gluing them.
Glue the first row and when glue sets continue with the second one. At the top there we have two options, cut the flat pieces with angle so the fit or just but a beam (as i did)
Finally if you dont want to glue permanent the roof to your hut, you can create "stops" by adding beams on the bottom of your roof so it does not fall. measure your beams with your hut perimeter of your top side of your hut.
Base of hut
I did not wanted my hut to be at the soil directly so i created a base.
I align on a flat surface flat sticks and measure it so they are bigger than my hut few mm from the sides of the hut, and few cm on the front so i can create a balcony.
I glued horizontal flat sticks to keep them in place. when glue was set, using sand paper i sanded the edges to be roughly level. I glued 4 more flat sticks around my base so it has some height from the ground.
Put it all to together
when all parts are completed put them together without gluing them so you can see the fit. I ended re-doing the base since the first one was too small.
Step 4: Test Fit Hut to Planter
Before proceeding to any other steps i filled my planter with soil and my hut on the planter. I start adding my "trees" to see if the size is ok and decide the final layout.
I removed the hut and planted the "trees" and water them.
Since all soil and trees needs some time to settle, i removed my hut.
Step 5: Varnish, Windows, Door, Etc.
Using a small brush i varnish (clear varnish) all wooden surfaces of my hut and let it dry.
I measured a flat stick and cut in in size for the door.
Using toothpicks created a fence in the front of the cabin
From spare parts i created also a small bench and some stairs since the base was a bit high
Step 6: Put It All Together
I put the hut in the planter and finally i crated a small walkway .
You can paint the hut, add a chimney or whatever else you want.