By Gene and Katie Hamilton
This ribbed basket makes an attractive holder for any plant that needs space to stretch out and grow. It's held up with strong natural jute twine. Carpenters use a pine molding called parting stop to make windows, but you can use it to make this hanging plant holder. Parting stop is readily available at lumberyards and home centers. It comes in long, narrow pieces, easy to cut and glue together. If your lumberyard doesn't stock parting stop, buy an 8-foot number 2 pine lx4 and have the yardman rip off three 1/2-inch- thick strips. He might charge a small fee for this service.
You build the frame like a log cabin. It's so easy that very little help is needed from the older member of your carpentry team. The dimensions of our holder are suitable for a 4-inch pot and tray, but construction is simple enough that you can design it to fit whatever size pot you have.
Take a look at the parting stop, and you'll see that it's not square. When you're gluing and nailing ribs together, put glue on the 1/2-inch side of all the ribs. You'll also find that it's easier to drive nails into the ribs before you place them in position. This makes alignment easy and prevents damage to lower ribs from excessive hammering. You can save time and have a better-looking stain job if you apply the stain before assembly. Other finishes, like paint, should be applied after the holder is tightly glued together.
Construction of your plant holder begins by cutting the parting stop to length. An inexpensive wooden miter box will help you make square cuts at the ends and improve the appearance of your holder, but it's not required. Using a ruler, mark the length of each set of ribs, and cut them to size, following the Cutting List.
The planter is assembled upside down. Begin with the longest set of ribs (A), and lay them parallel to each other about 10 inches apart. Take the second set (B), and drive number 3 finishing nails into the cen- ter of the ribs about I inch from each end. Drive the nails deep enough so that their points begin to come out the backside of the rib. Turn the rib over, and apply a small amount of glue around the area where the nail points through. Place one of the ribs from the second set on top of the first at a 90-degree angle and with a 1-inch overlap; align them so the nails are centered. Hammer the nails in, then repeat this process with the other ribs.
Check to see whether the first two sets of ribs are square by placing a combination square against one corner. Any piece of cardboard that has a square corner can also be used. The third layer of ribs is applied in the same way. Place the third set of ribs on the second, align it, with a 1-inch overlap, and mark the spot where you want the nail to go on each end. Remove the rib, and drive nails through the mark until their points just stick out. Do the same to the other ribs in the third set, putting a drop of glue on the spot where the nail point comes out, and then nail both in place. Repeat this process with the fourth through ninth sets of ribs. As the holder takes shape, check to see that it's square, and sight down one side to make sure it's not twisted.
The last layer-the bottom of the holder-is made from the six ribs in the tenth set. First drill 3/16-inch holes about 1/2 inch from the ends of the two outside bottom ribs for the hanging twine to pass through. Then arrange all six ribs so they are evenly spaced across the holder's bottom. Cut two pieces of jute or heavy twine twice the distance that the bottom of the plant holder will be from its hanging hook. Pass the jute through one of the holes you drilled in the bottom rib, and tie a knot in its end so it can't slip out. Pass the other end through the hole at the opposite end and knot it. Repeat this for the other side. You can also suspend the plant holder with rawhide shoelaces, macram6 twine, rope, wire, or cord, and you can add decorative beads if desired.
Finish your holder with a coat of polyurethane varnish, or paint it. Secure the holder to the ceiling with an adequate anchor. Remember that plants are heavy; use a heavy-duty plastic plaster anchor or an expansion-type anchor rated at fifty pounds or more.
Four hours for cutting, building, and assembling, plus drying time for glue and finish.
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