DIY Modern Wood Plant Stands

May 26, 2017   /   byMandi Johnson  / Categories :  Feeds

DIY Modern Wood Plant StandRaise your hand if you’ve found yourself a wee bit houseplant obsessed. Now, keep your hand raised if you’ve brought home a new plant in the past month. If your hand it still raised, I’d wager that you could use a new plant stand (or two, or three? We won’t judge!).

Spring always inspires me to bring home some new plant babies, but they can seem a little dowdy in just their plain Jane pots. Not to worry! This plant stand DIY is pretty simple and really elevates the look of your favorite potted plants.

DIY Modern Wood Plant StandDIY Modern Wood Plant StandTools:
jig saw
clamps (that extend to at least 12″)
-hammer (not pictured)
orbital sander (optional, but super helpful!)
-staining brush or rag

1×12 lumber* (length at least 3.5′)
sandpaper in 80 and 180 grit (bonus points if you use 120 grit in between!)
wire brads or finishing nails in .75″ length (not pictured)
wood glue (not pictured)
iron-on veneer edgebanding (optional if you use plywood)

*Recommended Wood Species: If you are staining your wood, I recommend using maple. Rift sawn oak is also nice, but quarter sawn is more prevalent in lumber yards and showcases a busy grain—not my favorite. Beware of using pine, which doesn’t stain well and dents easily. I used poplar, which also doesn’t stain that well and tends to have yellowish streaks in it. But poplar does take paint nicely. You can always use plywood and use matching iron-on veneer banding if you’re not a fan of the layered look of the plywood edge.

Cost of Project: A 1x10x6 board will yield two plant stands and costs about $35 if you are using a higher quality wood species. Many of you already have sandpaper, nails, glue, and wood finishers (stain, poly, or paint) on hand. You can purchase stain, polyurethane, or paint for around $5 each if you don’t already have some. That puts the total around $45 for two plant stands, a price which can be lower if you use pine lumber.

DIY Modern Wood Plant StandStep One: Use a circular object or compass to draw a 10″ circle at the end of your lumber. Cut out the circle with a jigsaw. (Cut two circles if you’re making two stands.)

Never used a jigsaw? You can purchase a jigsaw for about $23 on Amazon. To use it, hold the wood firmly on top of a table or surface as you cut the overhanging edge with the jigsaw blade (use a fine cutting blade), stopping the saw to adjust which part of the wood overhangs as you go along. I like to cut with a jigsaw on a lower height surface like a bench, and use my body weight (pressing down with my knee) on top of the wood to keep it steady as I move the blade slowly across the surface.

DIY Modern Wood Plant StandStep Two: Cut the wood for the x-bases of the plant stands.

As I mentioned earlier, you can get two plant stands out of a 6′ long board. Cut out two circles, and the rest of the board length will give you the wood for the x-base. The measurements below all hinge on the diameter of the circle you cut, so determine that measurement first.

D– Diameter of your circle (mine was 10″)
A– Height of your x-base (I think higher than 6″ looks awkward.)
B– This measurement should be the diameter of your circle plus 2″.
C– This measurement should be half of measurement B minus half of your board thickness.

DIY Modern Wood Plant StandStep Three: Thoroughly sand all surfaces of your wood pieces. Begin with 80 grit sandpaper to shape the edges of the wood, particularly the edge of your wood circle. Then move up to 120 grit to sand out scratch marks from the lower grit sandpaper. Then, finish with 180 grit sandpaper to make it nice and smooth. If you do not take time to properly sand your wood, it won’t take the stain nicely and will be blotchy and rough after staining.

Step Four: Use wood glue to assemble the x-base of your stand, which are measurements B + C + C from step two. Only use wood glue on unstained wood, as stained wood will not absorb the wood as it should, decreasing the strength of the glue. If your wood is already stained at this point, use something like Gorilla Glue instead.

DIY Modern Wood Plant StandStep Five: Clamp together the x-base tightly, and immediately wipe away all wood glue that seeps out of the seams. Any visible wood glue will repel stain and appear yellow. It is very difficult to sand away.

Step Six: After the wood glue has dried, glue and affix the circular piece on top of the x-base. Clamp the top into place and, if desired, use finishing nails to add further strength to the finished piece. If you’re clamping the pieces together with wood glue on unfinished wood, however, I believe the nails aren’t completely necessary to the stability of the plant stand.

If you choose to use nails on your plant stand, use a nail setter or something similar to tap the finishing nails beneath the surface of the wood and cover the hole with stainable wood filler (sanding it smooth after it dries).

DIY Modern Wood Plant StandStep Seven: Finish the wood as you desire. If you use stain as I did, I recommend finishing with polyurethane to protect the wood from inevitable water splashing. To properly finish the wood, spray with two light coats of poly, then sand with 0000 grade steel wool, and finish with one last coat of poly. This will smooth down the roughness of the little wood hairs that stick up when the wood is moistened by the initial coats of poly.

If you choose to use paint, I recommend spraying with one coat of primer, lightly sanding with 400 grit wet sandpaper to smooth down the rough wood hairs that stick up when the wood is moistened by the primer, and then spraying with one last coat of primer. Then finish with as many light coats of your finish color as needed.

DIY Modern Wood Plant StandI think the finished stands look great with all shapes of pots, but I particularly love how it looks with this vintage planter that used to belong to my grandmother before she passed away ten years ago. I think she’d be happy to know how much I love using it today!

DIY Modern Wood Plant StandDIY Modern Wood Plant StandThis project ended up being so simple that I think I’ll make another larger one out of plywood to give a little height to my beloved ficus tree. I’m thinking maybe white lacquer for that one? Let us know if you make your own—we’d love to see it! –Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited the with NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.

This is a syndicated post. Please visit the original author at A Beautiful Mess

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Ida Clutch Bag

I have something a bit different to show you today, which is this little clutch bag that I made for my sister, who absolutely loves it.  I first spotted it on Instagram when Kirsten from Fifty Two Fancies made it, and instantly though that my sister would like it.


The pattern is called the Ida Clutch Bag, and is a free pattern from Kylie And The Machine.
One of the bags on the introduction page is leather, as is Kirsten’s, and I really loved them, so decided to give it a go myself.  

Much googling finally brought me to Leather4Craft on ebay, where I bought some veg-tan goat skin leather for £22.00.  It came as a rectangle of leather, which I stupidly forgot to measure, and is lovely and soft.  There was more than enough for this little bag.
More googling was done on cutting and sewing leather.  I used my rotary cutter to cut it out, and pattern weights to hold the pattern piece down.  I say pattern weights, it was really my phone and some masking tape…

You can maybe, sort of, judge the size of the leather from this photo.  There was enough leather to the top to cut out another pattern piece, and there was a bit left over that is probably about half as wide as the bit that my rotary cutter is sitting on.
Sewing the leather turned out to be a lot easier than I thought, but leather needles are a must.  I practised a dart on some scrap leather first, and my machine handled it beautifully.  Sewing leather is a bit of a one shot deal, you don’t want to be unpicking, and my walking foot was great.

I marked the point of the dart with a pin, which left a little hole in the leather, then clipped the dart ends within the seam allowance.
I marked the dart legs with a pencil on the wrong side of the leather.
I obviously couldn’t use pins on the leather, as they would leave little holes, so I used a mini clothes pegs to hold everything together.  Quilting clips would be great, but I don’t have any.
 This is what the darts look like from the wrong side,
And this is the right side.
The instruction page on the interfacing mentions that the sample leather bag is interfaced (I think it’s in the comments), but I was a bit too scared to try that!  So I just interfaced the lining.  I used a medium weight interfacing for the whole bag lining (Piece B), and then a woven interfacing on top for Piece C.

I added an inside pocket, and made it as big as I could without interfering with the darts.  It’s big enough for a phone.

Next came inserting the zip, and the instructions for it are brilliant.  I didn’t take any photos of it, but here’s what it looked like when it was finished. 
The pin in the photo above is marking the tailor’s tack for the snap placement, which leads me on to attaching the snaps.  I wasn’t looking forward to this, because I was afraid of ruining the leather.  But some more googling showed me how to do it.  
Everything I read called for interfacing, but, as already mentioned, I didn’t want to interface the leather.  So I didn’t use any, and it’s grand.  Here’s what I did.
First of all, I practised on a leather scrap!  The snaps have two prongs on the back that are secured with a little washer.   

I stuck a pin through the lining and leather where the tailor’s tack was (the tack was just in the lining), to mark the snap position on the leather.  Then I used the washer as a template, and marked the position of the prongs with a pen (making sure it wouldn’t bleed through to the front!).


Admire that lovely top stitching!


Then I snipped into the leather using some embroidery scissors.

The prongs on the snap go through the holes from the front, then it is held in place with the washer.  I just put it through the leather, so the snap is not visible on the inside of the bag.

Here’s what it looks like from the right side.

I did the same with the other snap, and here’s what it looks like when it’s closed.

As suggested in the instructions, I sewed the edges of the bag with a zipper foot.  It was tricky to get over the closed end of the zip, and I ended up just turning the hand wheel.

I’m delighted with how this little bag turned out, and leather definitely isn’t as tricky to sew as I thought.

Now I sort of want to make a leather purse…  Have a great weekend,
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New Look 6500 shift dress: a simple pattern that I couldn’t leave unmodified

How much adjustment do you do on a very simple pattern? Do you feel it’s worthwhile to make very small changes to get it just right or perhaps you sew up simple things as is and save your efforts for a special dress or coat.
This simple dress pattern is something that I choose as one of the suggestions for my Sew a Dress class at Hello Stitch in Berkeley. (scheduled again for Sun. July 30 – the first one was great fun. More details at the bottom of this post on all the upcoming classes). As it happens Craftsy asked me to write a longer post outlining all the steps to sew a simple dress, consequently I decided to sew up this pattern and get a lot of things done with one project. Plus I’ve been on a shift dress kick lately. They are such simple and pleasant things to wear. Since it was 107˚F in the SHADE here yesterday I would rather have worn a dress made of ice cubes but since that is not going to happen a shift dress it is.

batik shift dress

I have had this fabric in my stash for a good 5 or 6 years. It’s a cotton batik that I bought in Hawaii, quite a large amount (5 yards) and just never found a use for it. Slightly heavy as a lot of batiks are, so not really good for most dresses plus the vertical stripe had me stumped. I think I found the perfect style for it that uses the stripe best. Plus I can wear my stripes navy blue espadrille sandals – double win.
Here’s the pattern envelope, with a sneak peek of a subsequent version of this dress. Which everyone has gone wild for on my Instagram teases, embroidered denim must be the thing this summer. The envelope says D0569 but all the pattern pieces say New Look 6500 so I’m calling it that. I really like New Look patterns, they come up with some super cute dresses and tops, plus they include all sizes in one envelope and cost $ 3.99 all the time.

New Look Shift dress pattern

batik dr front view

Onward to my adjustments: I sewed this dress for the Craftsy post, not as a wearable but as a “photograph-able” item, i.e. something that would really show in the step-by-step tutorial but I had no intention of wearing it. It was actually quite a pleasure to just sew up a dress with no changes, I sewed the size 12 and went from there.
Here is the version I sewed for Craftsy, in a quilting cotton that I had in my stash, I think a remainder from a project I did for someone on Etsy ages ago. And I really loathe this color of green so don’t even tell me that you like this dress on me 🙂 Plus for the most part sewing/wearing garments with quilting cotton is a bit NO for me. With some exceptions they always look a bit off: too wrinkly, too juvenile, too unsophisticated to claim my interest.

green shift dress

green shift dress3

But I include the photo of me wearing this one to show the neckline fit. That neckline was choking me – I don’t like that high round neckline and when you move your head forward it’s so uncomfortable. Good shoe match thought, right?

Back to the blue and white batik version. Can you see the difference in the neckline? It is so much more comfortable for me in the second version. I wanted to figure out exactly how much to open the neck so I made a version of just the top half of the dress in swedish tracing paper – and every time I use that I remember that is has absolutely no give. While it seems like a good idea because you can sew it – putting it on is not so easy. I did put a zipper so I could actually try it on – which worked in the end but it was kind of shredded. However it was good enough to slice and dice a bit, figuring out how I wanted the final neckline to be shaped.

neckline comparison

I cut out the batik version based on my new neckline, and basted it together at the shoulder seams to see if I liked the neckline. It still seemed a bit too high for my preference and also I like the armholes to be more cut in at the shoulder in a sleeveless dress. So instead of cutting more off the edges of the dress I made a one piece facing for front and back, and then used tracing paper to mark a seam line. At the neck I took away a further 5/8″ (total seam allowance now 1.25″) and then on the armholes I think I sewed it at around 7/8″ which makes the armhole a bit bigger all around. You have to be careful that it doesn’t make the armhole too low but this dress had a very tight armhole so there was plenty of room.

batik dress facing new seam

On my next version of this dress (the embroidered chambray fabric)  I’ll show how I make the one piece facing plus this upcoming version is lined so it incorporates facing and lining together.

The original New Look pattern had separate neck and armhole facings which works ok, not my preference but not as horrible as some make it out to be. But there’s a better way. Another option for these simple summer dresses is bias binding but I wanted to show the traditional or basic type of dress sewing.

But we are not done yet! In fact this adjustment should have come up first in my writing but I only remembered to take this picture a few minutes and include it. The bust dart on this dress is both large and high. I measured it on the pattern piece and could see that it needed to be lower so I did that before I did anything else, just a straightforward shift downward about 3/4″. The bust dart is kind of larger than it would be had there been other darts (vertical waist darts)  or other shaping. Trying it on it made the dart a bit too pointy – not my favorite look. So I reduced the width of the dart.

dart adjustment on shift dress

On the tracing paper on the left you can see the faint outline of the original dart, too high. The second placement, lower but too big, and then the final version in the purple dotted line, just right. I sound like Goldilocks don’t I but if you’re going to do adjustments you might as well go all the way until you like the fit.

Batik dr side and back view

Back and side view, you can barely see the dart but that is the ideal, at least for me. Since the side seams were not even in length I split the difference at the top of the seam at the armhole and sliced off about 3/8″ off the side back at that point. Worked out fine.

batik dress front 2

So that’s chapter one on my summer shift dress extravaganza. I have some more complex things in line for my sewing table but not sure what order I will sew them.

Here’s the link to that Craftsy post: The Complete Beginners Guide to Sewing a Dress.

Update on classes at Hello Stitch Studio on Berkeley. The Fit Lab was great – we are going to schedule this class again soon. In July we are repeating Saturday classes for sewing Skirts, Tunic Tops, and a new on starting on Wed 7/26 in the evening is a Button-front shirt class. All these classes are two sessions scheduled a week apart so not a long term time commitment and you will get a project done (or nearly) and learn some new and useful techniques. The Dress class is an all-day one on Sun. 7/30. FYI: I’ve found parking to be surprisingly easy around the studio and it is no more than a 10 minute walk from the Berkeley Bart station so really convenient to get to.

This was yesterday afternoon. Survival mode with an iced coffee. thankfully lots cooler today (ha ha only mid 90’s˚F).


Happy weekend sewing,

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Jan 2016 Accuquilt Sale