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in: Manly Skills, Projects

• Last updated: September 7, 2020

DIY Wooden Plant Hanger

Indoor hanging plants.

Indoors plants aren’t generally thought of as the domain of fellas, but they sure can be. Beyond being pleasing to look at, they offer a host of health benefits. Bringing greenery into your home actually simulates nature, and can provide many of the same benefits that being in the outdoors has: houseplants decrease stress, can improve job performance (get a plant on your desk!), can make you more caring and empathetic, and can freshen up your indoor air by adding oxygen and acting as a natural filter for pollutants.

A hanging plant is a great way to not only add indoor greenery, but also to class up and add visual interest to your place. The problem is that most hanging options are either too flimsy and boring, or too feminine in nature. This project creates a plant hanger with just wood and rope, and looks darn good in just about any setting.

And if plants aren’t your thing personally, then consider making this project as a stellar DIY gift for your spouse, sister, mom, or any other wonderful woman in your life.

A quick lesson: Most pots, especially smaller ones, come with what’s often called a drip tray. This is what the pot actually sits on, and catches the water when you give your plant its sustenance. The water drips through the soil, and what’s not absorbed gets caught by the tray.

So for our plant hanger, the idea is that the drip tray will sit in a perfectly-sized hole inside a functional and decorative board to help it stay stable. While there are versions of this project that simply have the pot sitting on a board, that just didn’t seem like a good idea to me. Whether it’s rowdy kids, or watering attempts gone awry, it’s always best to make sure there’s some added stability.

Big thanks to my brother-in-law, woodworker Jack Collison of Colorado Wood Designs, as well as my wife, Jane, for help with design and labor. 


Tools supply for wooden plant.

  • Pot/plant. Beware of getting something too big/heavy for hanging from a ceiling. Pots, and the plants inside them, can get heavy very quickly. Our 7″ pot/plant seemed to be the perfect size for this project.
  • Wood board. Don’t use plywood, as it splinters more easily when cutting. The size is totally customizable; ours is 10″ x 17″, and fit the 7″ pot and plant just about perfectly.
  • Jig saw
  • Drill and 1/2″ bit
  • Sandpaper
  • 20′ Rope. Again, the size is customizable to your needs. We used 1/2″ rope. Having 20′ feet leaves plenty of wiggle room; you’ll probably only use about 16′.
  • 2 ceiling hooks. Best to use hooks made for ceilings; the ones we bought came with options for both screwing into a stud, and using a toggle bolt for plaster, which came in handy, as I ended up using one of each.

How to Make a DIY Wooden Plant Hanger

Cost: $60, with plant and pot
Time:~4 hours; active time, ~2 hours
Experience: Beginner; the only real skill needed is operating a jigsaw 

1. Trace the Drip Tray

First, find the center of your board, then trace the circumference of the inner part of the drip tray onto it.

Tray of clay plant.

You’ll notice the bottom of the tray is somewhat tiered. Trace the bottom of it, as far in as you can.

The Hanging plant tray on wood.

Take measurements of plant tray on wood.

It’s not perfectly traced (doing so on wood is never perfect), but at this point in the project, it doesn’t need to be.

2. Cut the Hole

Using a large drill bit — one large enough to create a hole that your jigsaw blade will fit into (we used a 1/2″ bit) — make a hole a couple inches in from your traced circle. You’re doing this so that if there’s tear out (this is simply when wood splinters) on the back side, it won’t get in the way of your saw.

A man drilling on the wood.

Then, using the jigsaw, cut out the circle! Now, you traced the inner edge of the drip tray. But you want the tray to sit inside the hole a little bit. So when cutting, do so not right on the line, but just outside it.

A man using a jig saw for cutting plant tray circle.

We cut with the jigsaw at an angle of about 30 degrees to try to match the angle of the drip tray; we decided that part probably isn’t worth it, as it adds some more hassle to the project. A straight cut will do the trick just fine.

3. Sanding

After the hole is cut, you’ll likely notice at this point that it looks a little uneven. It’s very hard to cut a perfect circle with a jigsaw.

Cutting a plant tray circle on wood.

Using your sandpaper, even out any imperfections and make it baby-bottom smooth. Even after sanding, it’s still not perfect, but it’s darn close, and seeing as a how a plant sits on top of it, we weren’t too worried about it.

Cutting a plant tray circle on wooden board.

Place a plant tray on wooden board.

Sits in the hole perfectly.

4. Drill Holes for Rope

We used 1/2″ rope, and therefor a 1/2″ drill bit to make the holes for the rope. It makes for a snug fit, but that’s what you want. We put the holes 1″ in from the corners.

Drilling a hole at the corner of wooden board.

Placing some scrap wood underneath will help curb tear out.

5. Sand Again, and Add Finish

With holes drilled, go over the whole thing again with some sandpaper. Use a piece of scrap wood as a block to makes things a little easier.

Using a polyurethane to clean the wooden board.

We used a clear wipe-on polyurethane. This means the wood will retain its original color, but also be protected from water, dirt, etc. — important considerations when placing a plant on it.

Use some cardboard and a couple scrap pieces of wood so that your hanger is slightly elevated for drying purposes.

Applying wipe on poly on wooden board.

Using any cloth, or even paper towel, wipe on the poly. We did two coats, with a couple hours of drying time in between.

A man using paper towel to wipe out wooden polish.

6. Thread and Tie Rope

Cut two equal lengths of rope. Yours will depend on your ceiling; we have 9′ ceilings, and did 90″ rope lengths, so that the board was ultimately hanging about 40″ inches from the ceiling (a couple inches at each end were for knots). Thread the first end of the rope through one of the holes, saving about 2″ for tying the knot.

Using a thread rope at the corner of the wooden hole.

Tie using a simple overhand knot. Then thread the other end of the rope through the hole opposite it (on the short side), and tie it. Repeat on the other side of the board. You can use a dab or two of super glue where the knot meets the wood in order to prevent slippage; with the tight fit of the rope in the hole, though, we found it wasn’t needed for our hanger.

Tightened a thread rope under the wooden board.

7. Place Hooks in Ceiling

Our board was 17″ long, with holes on each side drilled 1″ in, so I had to measure 15″ between hooks. One of the hooks went into a stud, the other required a toggle bolt. I also made sure the hooks were facing in so that the rope would hang straight rather than be twisted. All in all, easy going for actually hanging the board.

Hanging hooks in ceiling.

8. Ensure It’s Level, and Test the Hanger

Put the pot onto the hanger, get out your level, and ensure it’s even. Ours was perfect on the first try. Huzzah!

Placing a plant pot on wooden board hanging from ceiling.

9. Put Plant in and Enjoy!

Placing a plants on tray which hang from the ceiling.

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