It’s not often that I can bear to let my DIY-efforts go to waste, so this is just another one of those instances where other project leftovers morph into something else purposeful around the house. The inspiration this time? A stack of leftover wooden hexagons.
Background: I created a whole slew of carefully cut and assembled hexagons a few months ago to add visual interest to our bedroom in the form of a new semi-headboard. I hadn’t needed every last hexagon in the batch that I created meticulously, so 6 extra forms have been sitting untouched in the sunroom waiting for the right project to come around. You may have seen them making appearances over the last few weeks. Like in this post about my newest fab.com splurge:
They were kind of cute left stacked and shoved aside; a charming, unorganized, fun, geometric pile of assembled pine that wasn’t doing much, but wasn’t yet trash-worthy. I knew something good would come from them with the right brain power (and this brain is usually powered with peppermint mochas), so I hit up Starbucks and got working.
I already liked how the forms looked aesthetically when stacked, appearing disorderly, so I decided that each of these 6.5″ hexagons could be affixed to one another and hung as a unique and handmade planter in our home.
Before I did much of anything, I had to figure out a way for the hollow stack to securely contain a pot, or in the case of this DIY planter experiment, a canning jar that was both narrow and short enough to fit inside the hollow stack (the jar itself is precisely 2.75″W x 4″H). The planter needed a real base, you know, or else the jar would just slip through like this:
The simplest solution I devised was to create a platform for the jar to sit on using nothing but stiff 16-gauge wire (a piece of scrap wire that I had leftover in the basement). By pre-drilling holes the same size as the wire into opposite sides of the lowest-most layer of wood, I created a minimal space in which to weave the wire and hopefully reinforce the jar in the entire hanging unit. This is going to make more sense in un momento.
The wire wrapped through the holes easily and tautly, forming a platform on which the jar could sit upon while also being easy, and minimalist, and as least-exposed as possible. I snipped the wire to length with some handy wire cutters and then looped the ends of the wire around one of the outer edges. As I’m looking at this photo now, I’m realizing I could have also done the reinforcing on the inner side of the hexagon to keep the outer edges even more clean-lined, but… well, live and learn from my trials.
Once the base layer of hexagon was wired tautly, I began attaching one layer of wood to the next, piling one after another upwards to replicate the disorganized stack that had been sitting unused for all these weeks. Relying on wood glue between each layer and screws of various lengths, the form for the planter began to take shape quickly, becoming a secure hexagonal single unit.
I clamped each layer as I glued and pre-drilled holes strategically through multiple layers of pine to make way for the reinforcing screws. Some screws were shorter and attached one hexagon directly to the one below it, and some were larger, like the 3.5″ screw in this next photo that extended through multiple layers to really lock the planter together tightly so the weight of the entire planter wasn’t solely pinned on the bottom layer that held the weight of the jar and plant. I also aligned the screws in such a way that the next layer of wood would cover the screw heads, so the finished piece appears pretty clean-lined with the exception of two screws that went through the very top layer and down through.
Each screw itself, I should mention, was pulled straight out of my scrap screw stash, so I didn’t have to purchase new ones to assemble of this little modern planter. Plus, since I used about 16 screws in total, now I have more room in my junk hardware drawer.
With the planter assembled strongly, I found myself a new little succulent at the store and decided it would work perfectly due to its tendency to grow long dangling tentacles. We have one of these same succulent varieties in our bathroom window and it went from being a micro-plant to having 14″ shoots overhanging its pot in a short 6-month span. I have high hopes for this little guy, and only had to spend $3.99 to make him mine.
Because the canning jar that worked best in his planter doesn’t have any drainage, and because I didn’t want hanging plant drippage on our newly refinished sunroom buffet, I layered a bunch of shale rocks (leftovers from the entryway floor project) to give the base of the jar some room for excess water and air. I have another small pot of succulents in the house with this same built-in drainage, and they’ve grown and thrived for about 3-years so I’m hopeful that it works well here too. Also, I happen to know that my own green-thumbed Grandma has succulents taller than me growing out of yogurt cups, so if this fails, it’ll be out with the jar and in with the recycled yogurt container.
When it came time to hang the new succulent planter, I splurged on a new set of ceiling hooks that claim to hold up to 100 lbs. when installed into wood, which is what our sunroom ceiling consists of. At $4, it came with two hooks and I already have sweet plans for the second hook. I wouldn’t be needing those blue anchors that it came with since the hooks will be going into wood and not drywall, but they’re a nice bonus gadget and will be saved for a future project instead of trashed.
On the topic of anchors, I did kind of hope for a more toggle-reinforced kind of system to ease my mind about the planter plummeting out of the ceiling and smashing on the buffet, you know, since the sunroom ceiling is just a simple beadboard ceiling that I feel like I could snap in two over my knee, but these mega-hooks seemed to do the trick; even with a simple 3/16″ predrilled hole, I had to twist with every ounce of upper body strength to get the hook in tightly against the ceiling. Maybe I was accidentally into a stud. Success.
Back to the planter itself; I debated over how to hang it a bit before I actually got down to using f-r-e-e twine from beneath my kitchen sink, but I think it turned out quite fine and secure. To decorate the plain twine just a pinch, I used a few extra natural wood beads that were leftover from when I created my pendant light (see, this post is totally about embracing the scrap materials).
I attached the twine to the planter using three eye screws that were spaced apart to keep the planter weight well-distributed. (Also, the eye hooks were free from our basement scrap bin, high-five).
The discoloring on the side of this piece is residual wood glue; I think had initially glued these hexagons to the bedroom headboard when I was still in assembly-mode, but when I realized that the headboard would have been too wide in the available wall space, I popped them off and cleaned them up, and that’s why they’re leftovers. Whatever glue remains isn’t raised, sticky, or obvious to the touch… just visible.
The finished hanging piece is quite charming. Tiny, but with lots of personality in the space.
Hung over the buffet and in front of the new ombre art, it’s a good fit for the way the rest of the sunroom is coming together.
More to come as we get into the week; we spent all day Friday and Saturday trekking to and from Boston, MA for a graduation par-tay, so I put most projects on hold while we were gone, but I promise there’s some good stuff up my sleeves! What were you up to all weekend?