Hanging Shelf Plant Holder (and some tips on staining wood!)

July 8, 2015Laura Mason

Transform a plain hanging shelf into a cute and colorful potted plant holder! // Lovely Wren for Dream A Little BiggerTransform a plain hanging shelf into a cute and colorful potted plant holder! // Lovely Wren for Dream A Little BiggerTransform an old hanging shelf into the perfect home for a unique plant. // Lovely Wren for Dream A Little BiggerTransform a plain hanging shelf into a cute and colorful potted plant holder! // Lovely Wren for Dream A Little Bigger

I snagged this little beauty at a garage sale with my mom for only a dollar! (side note: is there a specific name for what this is? If you know you should tell me. Until then I’m going to call it a shelf thingy)

As you can see, it was kind of ugly and beat up looking. And I really didn’t like the color of the wood. So, I decided to jazz it up a little.

This project is so easy! Seriously. Go to Lowe’s (or Home Depot or wherever you like to go) and pick out a stain color. I used Rust-oleum in Driftwood. Stain your shelf thingy. Wait for it to dry (it takes like 20 minutes, not even) and then paint part of it a nice bright color to make it pop. You’re going to want to tape off the area you are painting to keep your edges neat. I actually used wall paint from a sample I had lying around. Acrylic paint would work as well, or even spray paint I bet.

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You may want to seal it if you’re hanging it outside. I didn’t seal mine, because it’s under an overhang on my patio where it won’t get wet.

When it’s all finished, hang it up, pop a fun plant on there (definitely use a plate underneath if you didn’t seal the wood!) and perhaps add a fun colorblock dinosaur to keep things interesting. I’m thinking I’ll bring this shelf inside over the winter, and maybe add it to my gallery wall (which is just a dream for now). What do you think? Good idea or nah?

Paint and stain turn this hanging shelf into a totally fresh and fun plant holder // Lovely Wren for Dream A Little Bigger

I wanted a little bit of a rustic/imperfect look, but I didn’t want to go as far as sanding the paint down when I was finished. So I just used a large brush (actually a wall painting brush) and dragged it pretty heavily as I was painting to leave some brushstroke texture behind.

It doesn't take long at all to create this cute little shelf for your home or porch! // Lovely Wren for Dream A Little Bigger

And now the bit you’ve been waiting for (I think) – tips on staining! This was my very first time staining wood, and I just dove right in and did basically whatever I wanted. Here are some things I learned:

  1. The jar says to apply stain with a brush or lint free cloth. I used a paper towel, and a q-tip for getting into those little crevice-y areas. The world did not explode. The piece was not ruined. Paper towel for the win :P
  2. If you use paper towel, stain will get all over your hands. It is sticky, and no matter how many times you wash your hands, it will not come off. However, the rough, scrubby side of your kitchen sponge will take it off like a charm.
  3. There are these complicated instructions on the jar for sanding before you stain. I ignored them. Unless you need to sand off paint or sealant of something, I don’t think heavy duty sanding it necessary. I ran over the piece a couple time with some random sand paper.
  4. The jar also says not to sand your piece in between coats. If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m not too found of doing what the jar says. And I was curious. So I totally sanded between coats. I think it added to the variation (which I love) in the final color.
  5. did wipe off the excess stain in between coats (I did two coats, by the way). That was about the only instruction I followed. I think you’d end up with really gummy, sticky patches if you left excess stain on the wood. But I don’t actually know, because I didn’t do it ;)

Just a bit of paint and stain transformed this old shelf into an awesome plant holder! // Lovely Wren for Dream A Little Bigger

By the way, things don’t always turn out perfectly. Sometimes you get paint splotches on stuff. And sometimes the stain color you picked isn’t dark enough to cover those weird, rusty(?) nail marks. OH WELL. Your project still rocks, and so do you!

Paint and stain turn this hanging shelf into a totally fresh and fun plant holder // Lovely Wren for Dream A Little Bigger  Paint and stain turn this hanging shelf into a totally fresh and fun plant holder // Lovely Wren for Dream A Little Bigger

Thanks for sticking with me all the way to the end. I hope you had a lovely 4th of July! Have you ever stained something before? Do you have any tips? I’d love to hear them, because I’m going to be embarking on a rather large furniture staining project in the next couple months. Have a great week! xo

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