Quick and Easy Outdoor Herb Stand

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Ali and I LOVE plants and have filled our apartment with them since moving in. We wanted to try our hand at growing some herbs, but have almost no space left indoors. So, we decided to make a cute little herb stand that fits on our tiny balcony. With the stand outside, the herbs can get the sunlight and water they need, and we can make delicious cocktails with fresh herbs 🙂

Materials

  • One 1x12x4 ft common pine (or any wood) board cut to 30 in – $10
  • Two 2x3x10 ft framing stud cut into four 3 ft pieces – $5
  • Four double-wide corner braces – $8
  • Minwax dark walnut wood stain (leftover from another project)
  • Black satin Rust-Oleum spray paint – $6
  • Varathane satin oil-based spray polyurethane – $10

Tools

  • Jigsaw
  • Drop-cloth
  • Power drill
  • Palm sander

Total cost: $39

Step 1: Home Depot trip!

First we needed to gather our materials, so we headed to Home Depot to pick out wood. The employees at Home Depot cut it all for us, which saved us a lot of (what would definitely be imperfect) measuring. We chose a 30 inch top because we wanted to plant 3 herbs and leave enough room in between the pots to see the wood and keep structural integrity. We chose this design (with the pots hanging through the top) so that the herbs could drain properly without water sitting on and rotting the wood. The legs of the stand are long enough so that the plants peek up over the top of our balcony railing. They need lots of sunlight!

Step 2: Draw and cut the holes

This was by far the most difficult step. Ali and I didn’t have a compass, so we were stuck measuring and drawing the circles free-hand. We made a stencil out of engineering paper, which helped, but the hole-cutting process was mostly trial and error. We measured just below the lip of our pots using a string, and then used that string to find the diameter of the circles that we needed to cut. We then made our stencil, traced out three circles with a few inches of space between them, and got to cutting. To cut circles with a jigsaw, we first needed to use our power drill to drill a series of small holes along the edge of the circle. Essentially we just needed a place to insert the jigsaw blade into the wood. Then we simply cut along our traced circles. We put pots in after each circle was cut to see if they sat properly and of course, they didn’t. Each pot sat at a different height! So much for our engineering degrees. Luckily, with trial and error and lots of sanding, we got each pot to sit securely at (relatively) the same height.

Step 3: Sand

This step is pretty self explanatory. We sanded all sides of the top with the palm sander, and hit the insides of the holes by hand with sand paper. The legs got a good sand as well. Everything was sanded until smooth and ready for stain and paint!

Step 4: Stain and paint and poly

We used leftover Minwax dark walnut wood stain and a paper towel to stain the top of the stand. The stain was wiped on and then immediately wiped off to ensure we could still see the pretty wood grain and end with a not-too-dark color. The legs were spray painted with Rust-Oleum universal spray paint. This specific type of paint is great because it protects against the weather and goes on matte. We left everything to dry overnight and came back in the morning to poly. We put three coats of poly all over the top. The perk of the spray poly is that there aren’t any brush marks or little brush hairs, and I was able to easily cover the insides of the holes.

Step 5: Attach legs and add herbs

Once everything was dry, we attached the legs to the top using the double wide corner braces. We attached one side of the brace to the inside of the leg, and repeated for all the legs before attaching them to the underside of the top. Flipped it over, and it was wobbly. Obviously, I’m not sure why I expected it to be perfect the first time. So, we slapped some felt pads on the underside of the slightly shorter legs, and it worked great! The stand was plenty stable. We then added mint, cilantro, and basil planted in grey terra-cotta pots. And they are thriving!

~Maddie

Don’t mind our cilantro, he was a little droopy after the rain.

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