Build a midcentury inspired planter stand in 8 easy steps

DIY mid century planter stand“Window shopping” here and there this summer, I kept coming upon really cool mid century inspired planter stands. I’ve been in love with these modern looking plant stands for a while now, but I am saving my money for the real deal. Meanwhile, being a do it yourself type, I thought, “I’ll try and make one of these myself.” It only took me a few minutes of brainstorming and a quick trip to the home improvement store before I had my plan..

The first order of business is getting some supplies together. I found this turquoise plastic 12-inch pot at Target for about $6. I chose this particular pot for a few reasons. It has nice clean lines and flat sides — which will work well with the planter stand design. It also was inexpensive, lightweight and such a fun color!

Materials needed to build a mid century inspired planter stand:

  • Pot of your choosing
  • Piece of scrap wood to use as a base (Mine was a scrap of 1×3 pine)
  • 7/8 inch dowel rods (I used poplar because I wanted to keep the cost down-if you are using a heavier pot, you will probably want to spring for oak instead)
  • 1/2 inch dowel rods (Poplar-but again, use oak if you are using a heavier pot)
  • Fine Sandpaper
  • Wood Glue
  • Stain or paint for finishing

Tools needed

  • Drill (variable speed is best so you can go slow when drilling)
  • Clamps
  • 1/2 inch wood drill bit with pointy tip for easy driling (I used one like this)
  • Saw to cut dowel rods with (I used a hand miter saw)
  • Measuring device (tape measure, ruller, or whatever you have handy)
  • Pencil for marking
  • Safety glasses (remember, safety first!)

materials needed for mid century planter standStep 1 – Calculate the height of your planter stand

With my materials gathered, I was ready to start. I made a quick sketch to figure out my measurements. The pot I chose is about 12 inches tall and I wanted the vertical dowel rods to go just a bit past the top of the pot–about an inch. I added these 13 inches to the height I wanted the planter to sit off the ground which I decided was 6 inches. (Keeping the planter stand low increases its stability). That gave me a total measurement (13+6) of 19 inches of vertical dowel per leg.

DIY mid century planter stand sketchStep 2 – Measure, mark and cut vertical legs

Take the 7/8 inch dowel rods and cut it into four 19 inch pieces. These will be the legs of your planter stand.

step1 measure and cut legs from 7/8 inch dowel rods

step1 measure and cut legs from 7/8 inch dowel rodsStep 3 – Measure, mark and drill holes in legs for cross supports.

From our sketch, we know that the base of the planter stand (that the pot rests on) will be 6 inches off the ground. Measure 6 inches from the bottom of each leg and mark the spot you will be drilling.

step 2 mark where to drillI set up my clamps with a few more pieces of scrap wood butted up against the dowel rod to help the dowel stay in place while I am drilling.

clamp setupNo pre-drilling is necessary. In fact, I did try to pre-drill with a smaller bit but it ended in disaster–it tore up the soft poplar wood. The type of 1/2 inch drill bit I purchased worked better without drilling a pilot hole.

step 2 drill holeUsing the 1/2 inch drill bit, (same diameter as the smaller cross beam dowel rods we will be using) drill about half an inch into the dowel rod. Repeat 4 times with each of the legs of the planter.

step 2 drill holeStep 4 – Mark and drill holes for the planter base

Take your piece of scrap wood and find the center of each side. I did this by using a straight edge and drawing lines across the diagonals and then the horizontals of the piece.

step 3 find center of scrap wood and drill holesThen I marked the center of the sides where I need to drill to insert my 1/2 inch cross supporting dowel rods.

step 3 drill hereOnce again I clamped down the wood and drilled about 1/2 inch into each side of the block.

step 3 find center of scrap wood and drill holes

Step 5 – find the measurement of your cross beam dowel rods

Then it was back to my sketchbook to find the measurement of my cross beam dowel rods. My piece of scrap wood is about 2.5 inches square. The diameter of my pot is 12 inches. This left me with 9.5 inches of space left to span. Since there will be two smaller cross beam dowel rods going into either side of the scrap wood base, I divided 9.5 by 2, which gave me 4.75 inches per dowel rod. Then I had to take into account the 1/2 inch holes that I drilled into my scrap wood base and the vertical leg dowel rods, so I added 1 inch back to that dowel rod measurement giving me a length of 5.75 iches per cross beam support. If your scrap wood is not square, you will have to do this same calculation again to figure out the lengths of dowel rods you will need for the other axis.

step 4 sketchMeasure and cut the 1/2 dowel rod to your specified lengths (in this case 5.75 inches)

step 4 measure and cut cross beam dowel rodsStep 6 – Do a dry fit to make sure everything comes together correctly

Once you have your cross beam dowel rod pieces cut, you’ll want to do a dry fit (without glue) to make sure everything fits and lines up the way you intended. You may have to shorten your cross beam dowel rods a bit if your holes aren’t exactly 1/2 inch deep.

step 5 test fit on planter and adjustStep 7 –  Sand and glue

If you are happy with the way the dry fit turned out, then it is time to give your dowel rods a light sanding to smooth out any rough spots. After that, you can break out the wood glue. First glue the cross beam supports into the vertical legs using a medium amount of glue. You want to fill the hole about 1/3 of the way with wood glue. If any leaks out when you press the pieced together, clean it up right away to avoid that drippy look.

step 5 glue pieces togetherAfter I glued all four of my cross beam supports into mthey vertical legs, I let them dry for about an hour-to make sure they weren’t wobbily before I glued all the pieces into the center support.

step 5 glue pieces together and let dryThe distance between your vertical legs should be the diameter of the pot you are going to use, in this case, 12 inches.

step 5 glue pieces together and let dryStep 8 – Stain or paint and plant your planter!

After the glue had 24 hours to dry, I took the planter stand outside and tried it out with my pot. I even planted some flowers in it!

Leo with mid century planter

Leo with mid century planter

There’s my opinionated dog, Leo. For those of you who have visited my blog before, you know he always has to get his two cents in!

Don’t worry Leo, I’m going to stain it!

I had this dark walnut colored Minwax oil stain sitting around the house from a previous project, so I decided to use it to finish the planter. I applied the stain according to the directions on the can, let it dry and then used a clear coat spray sealer to finish off the job.

step 6 stain Minwax wood finish dark walnut

step 6 stain Minwax wood finish dark walnutWhen everything was dry, I picked a nice spot for my planter to live. (Note-to prolong the life of the planter stand and keep the wood glue holding strong, I would keep this planter stand on a covered porch or inside.)

Mid century inspired planter stand made with dowel rods

Mid century inspired planter stand made with dowel rodsI think it adds a nice finishing touch to my tiki lounge screened porch, don’t you?

Mid century inspired planter stand made with dowel rods in tiki lounge

So there you have it, 8 easy steps to making your own affordable midcentury inspired planter stand.

Who is making one this weekend?


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  1. Marta says

    I missed this first time around, but it occurred to me while reading that for heavier pots you could put a short fifth leg directly under the center of the wooden base. It wouldn’t detract much from the look, but would take the weight off the horizontal dowels.

  2. Sofia says

    I just bought three Gainey cylinder pots and I will make these stands for them. Gainey is the original maker in Los Angeles of these iconic cylinder pots. They are no longer making them in ceramic but a fiberglass which makes them less expensive to ship. Thanks for reading. Enjoy.

  3. Matthew says

    Great idea! The woodworker in me is thinking walnut or teak with an oil and wax finish. I’ll taper the legs on my lathe and do through tenons on the supports. Yes, I over complicate everything (just ask my wife), but it keeps me out of trouble 😉

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