DIY Plant Stand: How to build a convertible plant stand, potting bench, or boot bench
When I moved into a newly rented house, I had six subtropical trees to fit in my kitchen. I wanted a storage solution that fit into the space I had, elevated my plants to window height, and had a top bar from which to mount grow lights. I came up with a sketch for a 2′ x 2′ x 4′ bench with one tall side. It was easy to build, cost less than a bookcase from Ikea, and looks beautiful in my kitchen. In the future if I no longer need a potting bench, I can easily convert this to a boot bench with a coat rack by simply installing a few hooks on the top bar and adding some decorative boards to the base.
Wood Supply List:
(Lowe’s will cut these for you if you don’t have a saw)
- (2) 1” x 4” x 7′ Poplar board (for rear vertical posts)
- (4) 1” x 2” x 4′ Poplar board (for shelf rests)
- (6) 1” x 2” x 22″ Poplar board (for shelf rests)
- (1) ½” x 4” x 4′ Poplar board (for rear top beam, from which to hang grow lights)
- (4) 1” x 4” x 25″ Poplar board (for side cross-braces)
- (2) 1” x 4” x 2′ Poplar board (for front vertical posts)
- (1) ¾” x 2′ x 4′ Plywood or other material (for top shelf)
- (1) ½” x 23½” x 4′ Plywood or other material (for bottom shelf)
Hardware Supply List:
- 1 box of #8 screws, 1 ½” long
- 1 box of #8 screws, 1 ¼ ” long
- 1 box of #8 screws, ¾” long
- (12) corner brackets
You may also need:
- Wood glue
- A power drill and drill bit
My Cost: $127.00
Step 1: Assemble The Rear Frame.
Gather both [1” x 4” x 7′] boards and lay them flat and parallel on your workspace, spaced four feet apart. These will form the back (tall side) of the bench, oriented vertically. Choose one end of the boards to be the bottom of your bench, and the other will be the top of your bench. Next, you’ll need (2) [1” x 2” x 4′] boards. Attach one as a cross beam to connect both 7′ boards at 2 feet from the bottom with two 1 ½” screws anchoring each contact point. These will form the shelf rests. Attach the other [1” x 2” x 4′] board in the same manner, this time 2 inches from the bottom of your long boards. Now take your [½” x 4” x 4′] board and glue it to the top of your long boards using wood glue. This one will be screwed in place from the back side, so the screws will be invisible. When the glue is dry, flip your rear frame on its face and screw the top beam into both long boards with (4) 1¼” screws.
Step 2: Assemble The Front Frame
This step is very similar to the last step. Gather both [1” x 2” x 22″] boards and lay them flat and parallel on your workspace, spaced four feet apart. These will form the front (short side) of the bench, oriented vertically. Choose one end of the boards to be the bottom of your bench, and the other will be the top of your bench. Next, you’ll need (2) [1” x 2” x 4′] boards. Attach one as a cross beam flush with the tops of both 2′ boards with two 1 ½” screws anchoring each contact point. Attach the other [1” x 2” x 4′] board in the same manner, this time 2″ from the bottom of your long boards. These will form the shelf rests.
Step 3: Attach Side Shelf Rests To Front Frame
Gather (4) corner brackets and (4) [1” x 2” x 22″ ] boards. Connect each [1” x 2” x 22″] board flush with the edges of each of your [1” x 2” x 4′] boards on your front frame at 90° angles. The idea is to build out a rectangular box shape, eventually joining to the back frame as well. For now, you should form a three sided rectangle at the top of your front beams, and a three sided rectangle 2″ from the bottom.
Step 4: Glue Side Beams To Front Frame
Gather (4) [1” x 4” x 25″] boards. These are the outer side cross-beams of the bench. Glue each board to the inner side shelf rests attached to the front of the bench in the previous step. Each board should be flush with the front of the front side beam and the top of a side shelf rest. Clamp each board in place until it dries.
Step 5: Glue Side Beams to Rear Frame
The boards should just nestle in to form two complete rectangles with the shelf rests already mounted to the rear frame. Glue and clamp in place. Let the glue dry before moving on to the next step.
Step 6: Screw Side Braces to Front and Rear Frames
With the clamps still in place, drill pilot holes for two screws in each place where a side cross beam attaches to a front or back frame. You’ll have to drill these holes from the outside, they should be the only screws visible once the bench is complete. You can countersink them if you’re fancy like that. Then, install 1½” screws in each pilot hole.
Step 7: Secure the sides of both shelf rests to the rear frame
Gather (4) corner brackets and install one in each corner of side shelf rest and rear frame. This is already glued in place, but adding the brackets will make the shelf rest more stable. It will have to support a lot of weight.
Step 8: Screw Side Shelf Rests to Side Cross Braces
From the inside of the bench, screw side shelf rests to the side cross braces. These are already glued together, but the screws will help make the shelf rest more stable.
Step 9: Install Middle Cross Brace
Using two corner brackets, attach one more shelf rest from front frame to rear frame on the top shelf. This will help to prevent the shelf wood from warping under the weight of all those plants. If you plan to store anything heavy on the bottom shelf, repeat this step for the lower shelf rest.
Step 10: Slide in your shelves
These do not need to be attached in any way. They will simply rest on the inner shelf rest frames you have built!
Finish your bench with something that will stand up to light and moisture. I recommend Tung Oil for a natural finish. You can decorate your plant stand with wood burning art, paint, stain, or whatever you like!
This is as far as I decided to take this project at this time, due to budgetary concerns. In the future, I would like to add a bottom shelf and finish the area between the top and bottom shelves into an enclosed cabinet to store watering cans, garden tools, etc. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying my project exactly as it is!