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How to Build Furniture

How to Build a Plant Stand

Follow instructions to make the base pieces and top.

Plants love special attention (and really, don't we all?), so give a favorite plant some extra elevation and added presence in your home by making a plant stand for it. This simple stand works well on a table or on the floor, and for more height or larger plants, you can change the dimensions as needed.


  • measuring rule
  • pencil
  • carpenters' square
  • handsaw or saber saw
  • drill with 3/4-inch, 9/64-inch or #28, and 1/16-inch or #52 bits
  • straightedge
  • chisel
  • hammer
  • fine-toothed flat file
  • miter box and backsaw
  • nail set
  • sanding block
  • countersink
  • screwdriver
  • paintbrush


  • 3/4-inch grade A-A or furniture-grade plywood
  • half-round molding
  • hide glue
  • 3-penny finishing nails
  • medium- and fine-grit sandpaper
  • rag
  • 2-inch #6 flathead wood screws
  • plastic wood
  • paint or stain

Time: about 3 hours, plus drying and finishing timeFor a finished and professional-looking plant stand, use 3/4-inch grade A-A or furniture-grade plywood, and buy half-round molding to cover the cut edges. Measure and mark two plywood base pieces 12 inches wide and 24 inches long, with the grain of the plywood running the long way. Use a carpenters' square to keep the corners accurate, and cut the base pieces with a handsaw or a saber saw.Measure and mark the horizontal and vertical centerline of each piece. Then, on the vertical centerline of each piece, mark a point 3/8-inch below the horizontal centerline. Drill a 3/4-inch hole at this point. To avoid splintering, drill through the marked point just until the bit starts to protrude from the other side. Then turn the piece of plywood over and drill through the other side to complete the hole.


With a straightedge, draw lines from the sides of the hole down to the bottom of each base piece, outlining a 3/4-inch-wide slot on each piece. Carefully cut out the marked slots with a handsaw or a saber saw, cutting along the inside of the lines so the slots are an even 3/4 inch wide.

Square the rounded tops of the slots with a saber saw or a chisel and hammer. If you use a chisel, be careful not to splinter the wood; make many small cuts instead of one or two large ones. Smooth the raw edges of the slots carefully with a fine-toothed flat file, and test the slots as you work with a scrap piece of 3/4-inch plywood. File only until the slots are wide enough to accept the scrap. Smooth the slots carefully and accurately; the cut sides must be flat and square, and the edges must not splinter or become rounded.

To make the top of the stand, mark and measure a 14-inch-square piece of plywood, using a carpenters' square to keep the corners straight. Using a miter box and a backsaw, cut four 14-inch pieces of half-round molding, then miter the ends at a 45-degree angle. Attach the strips of molding to the edges of the plywood top by applying hide glue to the back of each strip and then nailing it into place with 3-penny finishing nails. Sink the nailheads with a nail set and allow the glue to dry completely, as directed by the manufacturer.

To finish the cut edges of the base pieces, cut four 24-inch pieces of half-round molding with squared ends. Apply hide glue to the back of each molding strip and nail the strips onto the outside long edges of the base pieces with 3-penny finishing nails; sink the nailheads with a nail set. Let the glue dry as directed.

When the glue is completely dry, sand the base pieces and the top as necessary, using a sanding block and medium- and fine-grit sandpaper. Smooth the edges where the molding meets the edge of the plywood, but do not sand the inside surfaces of the slots in the base pieces.

Creating the base.

To assemble the stand, apply hide glue to the inside edges of the slots in the base pieces, then put the two pieces together at right angles, with the glued slots interlocking firmly and the top and bottom edges of the base pieces flush. Set the base on a flat surface and adjust it so that the pieces are perfectly in line and square with one another; then carefully wipe away any excess glue that has leaked from the joints. Let the glue dry completely, as directed by the manufacturer.

When the glue is completely dry, put the stand together. Draw an X on the bottom side of the top piece, from corner to corner, and draw a light X on the other side. Set the top piece on the assembled base and align it so that the penciled X on the bottom is hidden by the edges of the base X. The top piece is attached to the base with screws, so mark points for two screws along each arm of the lightly drawn X on the top. Then remove the top from the base.

At each marked point, drill a hole completely through the top piece, using a 9/64-inch or #28 bit. Countersink each hole so that the head of each assembly screw will lie slightly below the surface of the wood. Replace the top on the base, align it, and mark the screw holes on the edges of the base X. With a 1/16-inch or #52 bit, drill pilot holes 1 inch deep at the marked points on the edges of the base.

Apply a coating of hide glue to the edges of the base X, set the top into place, and secure the top to the base with 2-inch #6 flathead wood screws through the holes in the top and into the predrilled holes in the base. Quickly turn the stand over and wipe off any excess glue.

Using plastic wood, fill screw and nail holes and any visible cracks at the edges of the half-round molding. Lightly sand the top of the stand to remove the penciled X, and sand all visible wood surfaces as necessary. Paint or stain as desired.

When the plant stand is dry, move your favorite flower or fern onto its new home and enjoy!

For more ideas related to creating your own furniture, see:

  • How to Repair Wooden Furniture: You don't have to start from scratch and make new furniture. Learn how to repair the wooden pieces you already have.
  • How to Stain Wooden Furniture: Staining wooden furniture adds protection as well as beautiful color, and when you do it yourself, you can get just the shade you want. Follow this link for instructions on staining pieces you've purchased or handmade.
  • A Guide to Decorating Wooden Furniture: Wooden furniture can be decorated to fit any design scheme or color palette. Use this guide to transform simple items into elegant, finished pieces that will accent your home.