Do you have a bay window?  One that lets in lots of natural light, but is impossible to fit a piece of furniture in?  Today I’m showing how I made a slatted plant stand to take advantage of the light without taking up much space.

My Aunt has a green thumb.

It’s kind of irritating really, because I TRY. SO. HARD. to keep indoor plants alive.

I water, I fertilize, I place them near windows – and so far I’ve all-but-killed 3 in the last month (since I brought them indoors).  Yup, a fern, succulents and my fiddle leaf fig has exactly 5 leaves left (which, if I’m being honest, my kids may have glued on just to keep me from feeling like such a failure.)

But my Aunt can not only keep indoor plants alive, but she has a hibiscus that flowers all winter long (spectacular for Canada!)

Show off!

Only problem was that she was running out of space on the small side table she had set in front of her kitchen bay window.

She asked if I could come up with something that:

  1. would fit in the space, at the same height as the window sill and within the angled walls of her bay window
  2. that had slats in it so that water could drain if it spilled
  3. was only 12″ deep so that it didn’t jut too far into her living space

I looked all over Pinterest for ideas (I’m not one to reinvent the wheel if there is a perfect solution out there already), but I could only find single plant stands and/or large layered ones that would have been too much.

BUT, Mrs. Ana White has building plans for a “Modern slat top outdoor bench” that I thought I could alter to make something both pretty and functional.

I’m linking to “Ana White slatted bench building plans” so you can see her project and get the build details directly from the genius behind them.  Her bench is made from 2″ x 4″s and 1″ x 4″s (I made one a few years ago here) so I shrunk down her dimensions to fit my Aunt’s space of 38″ wide, 19 ½” tall and 12″ deep.

Slatted plant stand

Cut list

  • (12)  ¾” x ¾” x 38″
  • (12)  ¾” x ¾” x 18 ½”
  • (11)  ¼” x ¾” x 19 ½”

I know you’re probably sick of hearing this, but I made my slatted plant stand entirely from scrap wood.  It’s true!  I had to dismantle the ginormous shoe rack I’d built for Jen Woodhouse a couple of years ago because we no longer needed it, so I had several 1″ x 12″x 60″ rough pine boards sitting off to the side waiting to be repurposed.

100T2D using table saw

I ripped down the rough pine boards to ¾” strips – enough so that I had 12 at 38″ long and another 12 at 18 ½” long.

Then, and based on Ana’s plans for her slatted bench, I knew the alternating boards had to be half-width to get the look I was going for.  I ripped down ¼” strips of the rough pine until I had 11 at 19 ½” long.

From here (per Ana’s directions) it was a matter of alternating the boards and leaving the ¼” spaces on the top of the plant shelf.

assembling the slats for the plant shelf

Because I have made the actual bench in the past, I know that the boards don’t stay straight over time – if you are even lucky enough to find completely straight boards to begin with – they bow this way and that, and isn’t as pretty after a season or two in the weather.

To keep my boards straight, and to add a bit more strength to my DIY plant shelf build, I added ¼” x 2 ¼” spacers in each row.

adding spacers to DIY plant shelve

I didn’t want straight rows of spacers – although that might have looked nice too – so I alternated spacing on each row.

These were just inserted into each slat with a bit of wood glue on either side.

I added unglued spacers between the glued ones in the centre of the plant stand, so that I had a place to clamp the boards to get a nice, tight fit while the glue cured.  These are easily pulled out after.

clamping the boards

(Yeah, I need to re-hang that picture – facepalm)

From the side the boards look like they are tongue and groove don’t they?

My Aunt thought so until I corrected her that I’m not nearly that talented. lol

After the glue has set, and you’ve pulled out the extra “fake” spacers, you’ll be left with this:

glue up before sanding

This is where my love of sanding comes from….

This shit show slatted plant shelf, after a thorough sanding with 120 grit then 220 grit sandpaper, looks like this:

Slatted plant stand, DIY plant stand, DIY plant shelf

What?!

I KNOW!!

My spacer placement had no rhyme or reason, but I LOVE how they turned out!

Wait!  I’m too honest…. each spacer was carefully placed to get this perfect aesthetic.  

Slatted plant stand, DIY plant stand, DIY plant shelf

I didn’t know how my Aunt wanted her slatted plant stand finished, so I delivered it as raw wood.

I won’t lie, this will be a monster to paint or stain – so if you are building a DIY plant shelf for yourself, paint or stain before the glue up if possible, but then you’ll also have to be WAY more meticulous with your glue so you don’t get the drools everywhere.

Slatted plant stand, DIY plant stand, DIY plant shelf

Ana’s building plans for the DIY slat bench included glue and wood screws.  This guy is so much smaller (and not meant to hold human weight) that all I used was wood glue and 1 ¼” finish nails.

Slatted plant stand, DIY plant stand, DIY plant shelf

Beautiful and a perfect fit!

Slatted plant stand, DIY plant stand, DIY plant shelf

High enough to sit flush with the window sill and leave plenty of room for the heating vent.

Slatted plant stand, DIY plant stand, DIY plant shelf

A DIY plant shelf/bench that only takes up the unusable space in front of the bay window (12″),

Slatted plant stand, DIY plant stand, DIY plant shelf

and fits between the angled sections of the window (although I may try to figure out how to extend it and add angled sides).

Slatted plant stand, DIY plant stand, DIY plant shelf

I do kind of wish this slatted plant stand had a lower shelf, but at 19 ½” overall height, adding something would have had it about 6″ off of the ground and that would have impeded the air flow from the vent somewhat.

Let me think on it, there might be a solution.

Slatted plant stand, DIY plant stand, DIY plant shelf

For now, this DIY plant shelf is ticking all of the boxes of my Aunt’s wishlist, and she already has it loaded up (with far more plants than you see here).

Slatted plant stand, DIY plant stand, DIY plant shelf

Slatted plant stand, DIY plant stand, DIY plant shelf

Did I mention that this is a “one-and-done” project?

Even with all of the ripping down of the larger boards to narrower pieces, I still managed to completely assemble this beautiful (and simple) slatted plant stand in about 2 hours.  (done in less than a day!)

Not a bad Christmas gift if you know anyone with a green thumb?

In case you don’t feel like building (WHAT?!?) here are affiliate links to similar items (for full Amazon affiliate disclosure, please see sidebar or bottom of the page)

Have a great one!