How to Build It Yourself - Metal Outdoor Plant Holder

Written by jane smith
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How to Build It Yourself - Metal Outdoor Plant Holder
Old brake drums can become beautiful hanging plant holders. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Stick to simple designs and use available materials and the fewest possible pieces when making metal plant stands, especially if you are new to metalworking. Less labour equals a shorter time between creating your plant stands and being able to use or market them. Once you find a basic design, it takes just a few extra moments to make and add embellishments such as flower blossoms, ivy leaves, animals or fantasy creatures.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Penetrating oil
  • Scrap steel brake drum cover
  • Stiff wire brush
  • Clean cotton rags
  • Coarse steel wool
  • Wrap-around eye protection
  • Heavy leather work gloves
  • 10-foot-long, 3/4-inch-diameter rebar
  • Propane torch
  • 2 pairs locking pliers
  • Power drill, 1/4-inch-diameter, titanium-nitride bit
  • 3 "S"hooks
  • 3 pieces medium-duty chain, 2 feet long
  • 2-inch steel "O" ring
  • 1.81kg. to 10-lb. sledge hammer
  • Measuring tape
  • 1/8-inch-thick plate steel
  • 1-inch-diameter steel rod stock
  • 4-inch right-angled grinder
  • Cut-off wheel
  • 24-grit grinding wheel
  • 110-volt gasless MIG welder
  • Welding helmet, gloves and full leathers
  • Wire wheel
  • Optional: Sheet steel
  • Black permanent marker
  • Tin snips

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    Hanging-Plant Holder

  1. 1

    Spray the brake drum cover with penetrating oil until it is dripping wet and allow it to sit overnight to loosen any rust or scale. Wire-brush the entire brake drum inside and out and wipe it clean with penetrating oil on a clean cotton rag. Wire-wheel the entire brake drum inside and out with a coarse wire wheel on a right-angled grinder to remove any remaining rust and create a brushed finish.

  2. 2

    Don wraparound eye protection and heavy leather work gloves. Heat a 1-foot section of rebar between 8 feet and 9 feet from one end to cherry red, which is between 704 and 760 degrees Celsius, with the propane torch. Use locking pliers to bend the heated section in a gentle curve to the right until the end of the rebar runs horizontal instead of vertical. Allow the rebar to air-cool to room temperature.

  3. 3

    Heat the last six inches of the bent rebar to cherry red and twist it back on itself with a pair of locking pliers, to create a curlicue hook. Allow the rebar to air-cool to room temperature.

  4. 4

    Remove your gloves. Drill three 1/4-inch-diameter holes through the lip of the brake drum cover, evenly spaced around its circumference.

  5. 5

    Slip an "S" hook into each hole and pinch the bottom closed with a pair of locking pliers. Slip the other end of each hook through one of the 2-foot sections of medium-duty chain. Pinch each hook closed.

  6. 6

    Bend the "O" ring open and slip it through the end of each piece of chain. Bend the ring closed again. Slip the "O" ring over the curlicue hook on the rebar.

  7. 7

    Drive the 3/4-inch rebar 2 feet into the ground, using a 1.81kg. to 4.54kg. sledge hammer. Place your plant container in the drum.

    Container Stand

  1. 1

    Measure the diameter of your round container or the length and width of your square or oblong container. Don wraparound eye protection and ear protection and cut a square or rectangle of plate steel to those dimensions, using a cut-off wheel on your right-angled grinder. Cut a 24-inch square of plate steel to hold a 24-inch-wide square or 24-inch-diameter container, for example, or cut a 24-inch by 10-inch piece of plate steel for a 24-inch by 10-inch oblong container.

  2. 2

    Multiply the desired height for your container by two and add the diameter for a round container. Multiply the desired height for your container by two and add the width for a square or oblong container. Cut two pieces of 1-inch rod stock to 48 inches, for example, if you want a 12-inch tall stand that is 24 inches wide, using a cut-off wheel on a 4-inch right-angled grinder.

  3. 3

    Deburr and smooth all edges of the plate steel and the rod stock using a 24-grit wheel on a right-angled grinder.

  4. 4

    Mark the desired height of your stand at each end of the rod stock. Don heavy leather gloves. Heat the rod at each of those points until it is cherry red and bend it 15.6 degrees Cor angled legs or 32.2 degrees Cor straight legs. Allow rods to cool to room temperature.

  5. 5

    Don your welding helmet, welding gloves and full leathers. Weld the rods to the plate steel with the legs pointing toward the sky. Turn the stand over and place your plant stand where you need it. Place your plant container on the stand.

Tips and warnings

  • Sketch leaf shapes, birds, butterflies, flowers or fantasy creatures onto sheet steel with a black permanent marker. Cut them out with tin snips to create embellishments for your plant stands. Bend and score the shapes to create texture and give them a more natural appearance. Deburr and wire-wheel the shapes before you weld them to your stand where you wish.
  • Always wear heavy leather gloves and wraparound eye protection when working hot steel. Switch to welding gloves when welding, as the longer cuffs provide better protection. Never wear gloves when grinding, drilling or using other spinning tools.

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