Air Plant Holders

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About: I like to design and build random things.

My daughter recently started collecting succulents and Tillandsias (air plants). Honestly, I had never heard of air plants but as the name implies, they grow without the need for soil. They can be purchased at your local nursery or garden center and online.

Anyway, she wanted a way to display them. Online, you will find various options for containers with the most common selection being glass terrariums. I wanted to make something a little different. Also, it's an excuse to use my scrap wood. If you are not a woodworker, I've also include STEP and STL files (last step) for those that would prefer to 3D print the holders.

Step 1: Tools/Materials

Tools:

  • Table saw
  • Drill press
  • Router (optional)
  • Sander
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Wire cutters
  • Round objects (dowel, funnel, etc.) for bending wire

Materials:

  • Blocks of wood
  • Coat hangers or 10 to 12 gauge wire
  • Oil, Stain or Paint
  • Air Plants

Step 2: Wood Version - Option 1

The blocks are pretty arbitrary. I basically wanted a hole to capture the plant and openness to allow for air flow. For the first block, I started with a scrap piece of wood that was already 1.75" square by 2.5" long. If you would like to build your own, the dimensions are shown in this step.

Step 3: Hole

After cutting the block down to size. Mark the center on one of the 1.75" sides. I used a .75" diameter Forstner bit to drill the hole. I chamfered the sides and around the hole using a router with a 45 degree chamfer bit.

Step 4: Slots

For the slots in the sides, I set the table saw blade so it just broke through the inner hole. I repeated this step for the four sides.

Step 5: Finished Block

Once sanded, I finished the block with Danish Oil.

Step 6: Wood Version - Option 2

This version is similar to Option 1 but has holes passing through the block - similar to the 8 ball in a cube by tomatoskins.

Step 7: Holes

I used the .75" Forstner bit for the plant hole. For the sides, I used a 1" diameter bit. Again, I used a router for the chamfers.

Step 8: Finished Block

As with all the previous and future blocks, I used Danish Oil for the finish.

Step 9: Block Comparison

I'm happy with how they turned out. Hopefully, the air plants will like them also.

Step 10: Block and Wire - Option 3

For this one, I started with a block that was 3" square and 1.25" thick. I chamfered the sides again just because I like to play with my router. Drill a hole in the center that will match the diameter of your wire. Make sure the wire will be snug by doing a dry fit.

Step 11: Wire

I used a old coat hanger that had a rubberized coating on it. Start by cutting the hanger close to the hook (straight section). This picture is showing both sides cut. Don't cut the other side yet.

Step 12: Bending Wire

As with the block design, the bends are arbitrary but are made so that air can freely circulate. I'm not very artistic so mine are pretty simple.

Note that bending the wire is difficult to do by yourself. I suggest getting a helper or find a vise to hold one end of the wire while bending it into shape. I used a vise and a 1.25" diameter dowel for the larger loop. The smaller section was wrapped around a .75" dowel. The straight section will fit into your block. You may choose to put a dab of glue on the end of the wire if you don't want it to rotate.

Step 13: Finished

Push the wire in the block and you are good to go.

Step 14: Block and Wire - Option 4

I tried to produce different designs each time. For the fourth block, it has a 30 degree cut along the top. As for the wire, use the same process as before. This wire was thicker (harder to bend); so the bends are limited.

Step 15: Finished

Again, place the wire in the block and you are ready for plants.

Step 16: Pretty Picture - Option 1

We got a lot of air plants!

Step 17: Pretty Picture - Option 1 (outside)

My daughter thought the grooves in the side were a nice touch.

Step 18: Pretty Picture - Option 2

Going for the cubist look.

Step 19: Pretty Picture - Option 2 (outside)

Outside cube. Note: only keep air plants outside if you live in zone 9 or warmer.

Step 20: Pretty Picture - Option 3

Swirlnado.

Step 21: Pretty Picture - Option 3 (outside)

There they all are!

Step 22: Pretty Picture - Option 4

Note that the wire is longer in these pictures compared to the next set. I realized I liked it better when the wire is shorter.

Step 23: Pretty Picture - Option 4 (outside)

This one looks like it works for the larger air plants.

Step 24: STEP & STL Files

I've included STEP and STL files for anybody interested in printing the first two designs.

Thanks for viewing!

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    8 Discussions

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    mmmelroy

    3 months ago

    really enjoying the mixed metal and wood forms here

    1 reply
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    rayp1511

    3 months ago

    Never heard of "Air Plants" before, thanks for that info. I like both of those first two designs.

    Well done.

    1 reply
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    mtairymdrayp1511

    Reply 3 months ago

    Yes, the plants were new to me as well. Thanks!

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    Penolopy Bulnick

    3 months ago

    Love the designs! I think the very first one with the cuts down the side is my favorite :)

    1 reply
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    mtairymdPenolopy Bulnick

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thank you. I added the slots at the end after my daughter said “they are air plants...don’t put them in a hole...they need to breath” :)