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Ladder Plant Stand 01, three views  One Sided Ladder Plant Stand 01, three views

Ladder Plant Stands

The Woodware Designs Ladder Plant Stand is designed to hold a display of pot plants or collectibles. It is designed after an antique wooden ladder and comes in two versions, one with steps on two sides and one with steps on two sides. In both cases there is a wide top.

The original request was for a pair that could be used separately or handled together with carrying handles so that the pair can be moved outside together. Pots plants can be quite heavy. The parts sketches and the materials list are for one unit but can be easily doubled for two. A pair of carrying handle dowels allow the two to be carried as one unit.

Warning: This stand is not intended for people to climb on it is only for display of objects like potted plants. The double step design is not as stable as the single sided ladder design but makes a much nicer display. Both designs feature carriage bolts and wing nuts to lock the legs which make it much more stable.

We also have plans for hanging plant stands: Hanging Plant Stand.

If you need adjustments to suit your specific needs,please drop us an e-mail.

Double Ladder Plant Stand 02, three views

 Double one Sided Ladder Plant Stand 02, three views

  1. Ordering the sketches

    This design includes four detailed sketches that are critical to your successfully building it. The plans are free and can be obtained with this Freebie ordering form.

  2. Stand Construction

    You can make this stand by:

    1. Downloading and printing this text.
    2. Ordering the sketches.
    3. Studying this information and locating materials.
    4. Purchasing materials.
    5. Cutting wooden pieces.
    6. Assembling the entire stand.
    7. Finishing all pieces.
    8. Installing the plants.

  3. Discussion of sketches

    After you order the sketches, these notes will help you understand them.

    1. Ladder Plant Stand

      A single stand is shown in full front, top, and side views. It consists of a flat top with two short ladder runs.

    2. Ladder Plant Stand, Double Set, Sketch #2

      This sketch shows a double set of the stands with the two carrying dowels holding them together. This sketch also shows all the dimensions that would have been hidden by the plants in the previous sketch.

    3. Ladder Plant Stand, Parts for 1 Stand, Sketch #3

      The sketch shows the wooden parts for one ladder plant stand. The top can either be edge-glued boards or plywood with a wooden strip around the edge.

    4. Ladder Plant Stand, Extra Parts for 2 Stands, Sketch #4

      The sketch shows the wooden dowel handles needed to handle the two stands as one unit and an alternative top made from plywood.

    Rockler order link to first page
  4. Materials

    This materials list is for a two sided Ladder Plant Stand which is made largely from 1x lumber.

    1. Wood for 1 stand:
      • 1x4- softwood boards, better grade -- 15 linear feet ---- $20.00
      • 1x6 - softwood boards, better grade -- 12 linear feet ---- $26.00
      • 1.5" diameter fir dowels -- 3 linear feet ---------------- $ 5.00

      ------- Wood Subtotal: $51.00

    2. Hardware for 1 stand:
      • Screw, flat-head, #8 x 1.25" - 100 ------- $ 4.00
      • Hinge, 4" strap - 3 ---------------------- $ 4.00
      • Screw, flat-head, #8 x 0.75" - 18 -------- $ 3.00
      • Tan Glue -------------- 1 pint ----------- $ 6.00
      • Carriage bolts, 1/4 inch x 2 inches - 4 -- $ 1.50
      • Wing Nuts, 1/4 Inch -- 4 ----------------- $ 1.00

      ------- Hardware Subtotal: $13.50

    3. Finish good for 2 stands:
      • Primer -------------------- 1 quart ----- $8.00
      • Paint --------------------- 1 quart ----- $8.00

      ----- Finish Subtotal: $16.00

    4. Wood for 2 stand carrying handles:
      • 1.5" diameter fir dowels -- 7 linear feet ------ $ 9.00

      Omissions and Contingencies (~10%) ( Tax, sand paper, etc.) $9.50

      Estimate Total Cost $90.00

      Estimate for two stands with carrying handles -- $174.00

    The single sided plant stand requires only a little less wood and is only about $20.00 cheaper to build.

    This is only an estimate (made in the Fall of 2010). The price may vary in your area. Getting a good price on the lumber is critical to keeping the price down. You can also save if you make some the wood and plywood pieces from scrap wood.

  5. Tools

    This stand was designed so that it could be built by an amateur woodworker using tools commonly used for home fix up. However, the job will be easier if you can get access to a table or radial arm saw.

    Rockler order link to first page
  6. Fabrication Notes

    These notes are is not intended to be a detailed step-by-step construction guide, but rather a number of points to consider. It is your stand and you can build it to suit your needs and likes. These notes assume you have a copy of the drawings right in front of you.

    1. Options

      Look over the stand drawing and decide what you are going to do before you buy the materials:

      1. Single Sided versus Two Sided

        The single sided plant stand is more stable and tales up less floor space but has two less steps to display plants.

      2. Number of Stands

        Consider your floor space and determine the number of stands you need. The two stands with carrying handles feature is probably not needed by very many people.

      3. Size

        Consider your floor space,and the size of the things you wish to display. The dimensions of the top can be adjusted without much difficulty.

      4. Plastic Sheet

        You may wish to cover the shelves with plastic sheet, say from a shower curtain liner, help control water.

      5. Color Scheme

        This stand needs a protective finish if it is to be outside. It can be subdued so that it does not attach attention, or it can be brightly colored. Some people even antique the wood and hardware.

    2. Making the Top

      The top can be made from edge-glued boards or from plywood with wooden edge strips.

      A biscuit jointer works best for the edge-glued boards, but they can be tong and grooved, or even splined. The boards should be about 4 inches wide and alternated with one grain center up and the next grain center down.

      If a plywood top is to be used, the dimensions of the top are set so that to tops can be made from one 48 inch piece of plywood. You need to glue and nail strips of solid wood about 0.5" x 0.75" all around the edge of the plywood to protect the raw edge. If the stand is to spend time out-doors, the plywood will have to be exterior grade.

      Do not attach the under frame parts to the top until after the ladder assemblies are complete. The exact finished width of the step assemblies may vary.

    3. Making the Runners and Steps

      The runners support two steps and have a hole at the top for the hinge dowel. The bottom is cut off at 30 degrees and the pointed end rounded. The top trimmed off at 30 degrees and then rounded around the dowel center.

      The dadoes for the steps are also cut at 30 degrees. These are 0.75 inches wide and 0.375 inches deep.

      The top 1.5 inch diameter hole for the hinge dowel is center on the runner and an equal distance from the end. The other two holes show may be used for the handle but are mostly just decorative.

      The step pieces are notched so that they match the width of the runner dadoes.

      The single-sided design has one set of sloped stairs and one straight back. The straight back has a single 3.5 inch wide shelf as a stiffener and as a place to attach the hinge.

      Assemble the runners and the steps using glue and four screw blocks. The blocks increase the step strength and allow all the screws to come up form the bottom where they will not be seen and will not collect water.

    4. Assembling the Stand

      Cut out the two top frame members and scrap strips for the brace. Cut the hinge dowels to length. Glue and screw four screw blocks to the inside of the top frame pieces.

      Temporarily assemble the top frame parts, the two ladder assemblies, and the hinge pins. Clamp a strip of wood between the bottom tow steps. Check the fit of the top.

      Attach the top to the frame with glue and screws. Trim the scrap wood braces to fit between the frame parts. Glue and screw in place. Leave some clamps on the legs for now.

      On the single-side version the straight back is attached firmly with glue and screws. It does not need a hinge rod.

    5. Install the hinged cross-piece

      Cut two wood strips a little wider than your hinges long enough for the two to run between the two bottom steps and meet exactly in the center. Fit one hinge in the center of these two pieces.

      Temporarily install the two hinges to the top of the cross piece and the center of the bottom step. Carefully make scribe marks around these hinges. Remove the hinges and remove enough wood with a chisel so that the hinge will be let into both the step and the cross-piece. Reinstall the hinges.

    6. Install the locking bolts

      The cross-piece will now hinge up and the legs fold in for storage. However, the stand is not as stable as we would like.

      Check that the top of the stand is parallel with the floor. You may still need some clamps in place to keep it in position.

      Drill 1/4 inch holes through the runners and the top frame piece for a carriage bolt. Install the four bolts with a washer and a wing nut. You can now remove the clamps.

      The single-sided version has only the two bolts in the hinged step.

    Rockler order link to first page
  7. Finish

    I see this plant stand done in bright, fun colors. You may finish your stand any way you like. Some people want to antique the stand.

    1. Removing Hardware

      You may want to remove the metal hardware to make painting easier. If you wish to paint the hardware, you will need to spray it with metal primer, either gray or white, before applying the same paint as used on wood.

    2. Sand

      Sand all the wooden parts of the stand.

    3. Painting

      I recommend primer and oil based enamel. If the stand is to be used outdoors you may want to use primer and house paint.

    4. Antiquing

      Some people may want to give the Plant Stand an antique finish by distressing the wood and staining it dark. The hardware can be antiqued by treating it in a fire.

      The wooden parts can be distressed by beating on them with rocks, broken pieces of concrete, and old chains. This process is a lot of fun. You then wipe a dark stain into the roughen wood with a rag.

      Steel hardware can be given an attractive rustic appearance by simple heat treating. This needs to be done with all the bolts, eye bolts, nuts, and washers. You can pass on the screws.

      You need a normal wood or charcoal fire. This work can be done in a fire place, in a barbecue, or in a camp fire. You also need an old tin can or two (not aluminum).

      Build a nice bed of coals. Place the hardware in the tin can and dig them into the coals. You will want the hardware to get to a nice red heat and to stay red for at least 10 minutes with air getting to it. You can stir the parts a little with a scrap metal rod to make the effect more even.

      If the hardware is plated (zinc, cadmium, or brass color) it will take several minutes longer to burn this off. Do not cook food on the fire while this is going on, and don't breathe the smoke unnecessarily.

      Remove the cans from the fire and let the hardware cool slowly. Do not quench it. The hardware will be covered with scale. Remove this with a small wire brush or course steel wool. Wax the finished pieces with paste furniture wax to prevent further rusting. Black wax works particularly well.

  8. Completion

    All that is left is to reinstall the hardware and move the stand to its location. You may want to cover the shelves with plastic sheet, perhaps an old shower curtain. The plastic sheeting will need to be replaced about once a year.

    Then enjoy display of pot plants or collectibles.

    Rockler order link to first page
  9. Conclusion

    Thanks again for using a Woodware Designs furniture plans. We very much want to know how you are getting along with your project and would be happy to answer any questions by e-mail.

    If you send us a picture of your finished stand, we would be happy to put it on our web page.

    Don't forget to order the sketches.

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