Build a Mosaic Plant Stand
by Carolyn Hasenfratz
In this article I’ll show you how to make a stand to show off a special container plant. Raising a planter off of its surface can really enhance the appearance of a single specimen or help you create an attractive container plant grouping by providing elevation to some containers. Such a stand may also help protect the surface underneath by allowing air circulation under the pot so the surface can dry out between waterings. This stand is designed for both indoor and outdoor use. It is designed to let water from the plants run off, rather than catching it. This stand can also be used as a sturdy trivet indoors or outdoors.
Tools and Supplies
* indicates items that are available at Schnarr’s
8 x 8″ x 1/2″ board*
Lattice wood strips 1 1/4″ wide*
Pencil or pen
Hot glue gun*
Wood hot glue sticks
Tiny drill bit*
Wooden ball knobs or drawer pulls with 3/16″ holes to use as feet (Wood drawer pulls are available at Schnarr’s Webster Groves store)
3/16″ drill bit*
3/16″ dowel rod*
An assortment of ceramic tiles and/or glass pieces that are about 1/4″ thick
Palette knife or putty knife*
Ceramic tile cement*
Old plastic lid
Mixing container for grout (can be an old food container)
Bucket* of water for cleanup
Tile and grout sealer*
1. Cut an 8 x 8″ square out of 1/2″ thick plywood.
2. Cut four 8 1/4″ lengths out of a piece of 1 1/4″ wide lattice wood. Miter the corners at a 45 degree angle as you cut.
3. Put on dust mask and sand the rough edges off of your wood pieces.
4. On the inside edge of each mitered piece draw a line 1/4″ from the top.
5. Glue mitered pieces to the edges of the 8 x 8″ block using hot glue as the adhesive and your drawn line as a guide to help line them up. You should end up with a 1/4″ lip all the way around, creating a tray that will hold your tile pieces.
6. As a reinforcement to the glue, drill a couple of small pilot holes on each side of the tray and hammer nails in for a strong hold.
7. Choose four wooden ball knobs or wooden drawer pulls with 3/16″ holes. Place them in the corners of the bottom of your tray. Draw around the base of each with pencil to indicate where their footprint will be. Set knobs aside.
8. Switch to a 3/16″ drill bit and drill a hole in the center of each drawn circle. Try not to go all the way through the wood but if you accidentally do it’s no big problem.
9. Cut short segments (about 1″) from a 3/16″ in diameter piece of wooden dowel rod to make pegs. Insert pegs into holes in wood and thread knobs onto pegs to make sure they are not too long and that there is no gap between the knob and the bottom of the tray. When satisfied, remove, dab wood glue onto each end of each peg, and re-insert into holes. Place knobs over pegs and press in place. Let wood glue dry. I left the wood unpainted in my sample but if you want to you can paint or stain the wood and give a waterproof clear coating like spar varnish.
10. Get out your tiles and arrange in the tray to make an arrangement that is pleasing to you. For my sample I used tiles I salvaged from Leftovers, Etc. and some translucent glass blobs which were backed with colored paper. Try to leave a litte bit of space between each piece.
11. Once you have decided on an arrangement, scoop a small quantity of ceramic tile cement out of the container and place on an old plastic lid. Keep container closed so the rest of your cement doesn’t dry out. Use palette knife or putty knife to apply cement to the back of each pice and press in place. If any tile pieces are thinner than the others, you can put some extra cement on the back to build up the height. Let cement dry for the time period indicated on the container.
12. When cement is dry you’re ready to apply grout. Grouting is very messy – I recommend you wear old clothes and protect your work surface and floor. Have plenty of clean rags on hand and a small bucket of water for cleanup. Don’t be surprised if you need a bath when you’re done!
13. Put some grout in a small plastic tray, such as one left over from a microwave dinner. Add water until it’s about the consistency of soft cream cheese – a little at a time to make sure you don’t add too much. Stir it with your putty knife as you add the water. Try to only mix up small amounts at a time so it does not start to set up before you’ve applied it.
14. Put on your disposable gloves, and use a rag to pick up a portion of tile cement. Smear it around to fill the cracks between tiles. The rags will help protect your hands from sharp pieces if there are any. The thin disposable gloves will protect your hands from being irritated, dried out or discolored by the grout, but alone they will not protect you from cuts.
After the tray is grouted, go back over it with a succession of fresh rags to remove the grout from the surface of the tiles. Dampen the rag with a little water toward the end to get them really cleaned off if needed. Be careful not to dispose of any grout in your sink – it could clog the drain. Dispose of any rags that are really soaked with grout – I put mine in the compost. If some are only slightly dirty, you may be able to re-use them by rinsing them in a bucket of water. If you do that, dump the dirty water out in the yard, don’t put it down the drain.
15. Let the grout dry, then apply tile and grout sealer. You’re done!