One of the best ways to create an indoor jungle effect is to arrange plants of different heights together, but if you don’t have plants that naturally vary in height a lot, a shortcut is to use plant stands. Recently I came across this lovely desktop plant stand, looked at the price, and immediately started trying to figure out how to make my own. With some square wood dowels, plus lots of drilling, I built my own tabletop plant stand, and put together a tutorial.
I’ve seen tutorials for similar plant stands, but when I tried to make one, I failed in multiple ways. The first one I tried to make used round dowels for the legs, but when I tried to drill the ends of the center supports for connecting to the dowels, I just tore up the wood. Maybe it’s doable if you have a drill press, but I gave up. The next one that I tried required you to cut out notches in the center support, and it turned out super wobbly. So I tried to make my version as simple as possible, with no power tools required other than a drill and and a saw (though you could use a hand saw if you don’t have a power saw).
Tabletop Plant Stand
Chop saw, though you could use a hand saw if necessary.
1/4″ drill bit
Power sander – This mouse sander came in very handy for this project, but it’s not required.
1. Measure the pot that you want to make the stand for. Using a pot with straight, untapered sides will make things easier, and I think it looks better.
2. Cut pieces from the wood dowel for the stand. The exact sizes will vary based on the pot you want to fit in the stand. For a pot with a base about 3 1/4″ in diameter, I cut the following pieces:
1 1/2″ x 2
To figure out the lengths of the two crosspieces, you’ll need to subtract the thickness of the dowel (5/8″) from the length of the long crosspiece, then divide by two. So for mine, 3 5/8 – 5/8 = 3, 3/2 = 1 1/2″
You’ll also need to cut four side supports. I cut mine at 4″ long.
3. Measure and mark where you need to drill holes. You’ll need to drill a hole in the center of the long crosspiece and in both ends, in both ends of the short crosspieces, and in the middle of each of the side supports (you could drill the holes in the side supports off-center lengthwise, if you want).
4. Drill holes. The ones in the side supports need to be 1/2″ deep, but not go all of the way through, so mark the drill bit with a bit of tape. The holes on the ends of the crosspieces need to be 1/2″ deep, but it’s okay if they’re deeper. The one in the middle of the crosspiece can go all the way through. It’s important to keep the holes centered, and as straight as possible, so that your stand will be straight. This is tricky without a drill press, but I picked up a few tricks while making these. Before doing any drilling, grab a hammer and a nail. After you’ve marked where to drill, place the nail right in the center of your mark, and give it a tap. This will help keep your drill bit centered. When you’re drilling, start off slowly, but don’t press down until you’ve got the drill going full speed.
5. Put dowels and glue in the two shorter crosspieces, and glue them to the hole in the center of the longer crosspiece. Make sure everything is square, and clamp together. Be sure to wipe off any excess glue with a damp rag before it dries!
6. Once the base is set, add dowels and wood glue to the ends, and clamp on the supports. Use wood scraps between the clamps and your stand to make sure you don’t dent the wood, and be sure to wipe off all excess glue before it dries.
7. Once the glue is fully dried, check to see whether your stand is wobbly. If it is, you may be able to sand down the longest leg(s) enough to eliminate wobble. A mouse sander comes in handy on this step. You’ll also want to sand to prep for staining. Make sure there isn’t any extra dried glue on the joints! If you missed any, try scraping it off with a putty knife and/or wood skewer. The glue won’t take up stain, so be sure to get it off!
8. Stain and seal according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I used Minwax stain in “Jacobean.”