July 21, 2020

How to Build A Plant Shelf For Functionality & Decor

DIY, Organization

Sadly, most of us already know that like 99% of my plants don’t survive in the house (crying face) BUT they do survive out in the lanai as it get’s the perfect amount of indirect sunlight and sometimes even a little bit of direct sunlight in the early morning. I was always trying to revive my plants back to life by bringing them out to the back so the common sense thing to do was just make a plant shelf to hold the surviving plants – possibly grow some actual herbs because we all know we need more of that in our lives! Well, I tried, but it could work for you! My current herbs are actually dead by now heh….heh…..Apparently, it’s too hot for them outside no matter where I place them. And they didn’t like the shade but I tried! Florida has it’s own special seasons when it comes to gardening and planting herbs and veggies and summer is not one of them. Anyway, I still like my plant shelf – I need to find some cool plants! It’s a nice touch to a bare wall in a huge lanai. 


Music: Sunny by Ikson

  • cedar + some thick wood scrap pieces
  • miter saw
  • 2 in. screws
  • drill
  • nail gun
  • orbital sander/sandpaper
  • handheld planner (optional)
  • space guide (optional)
  • small corner clamps/medium clamps
  • tapcon screws if attaching shelf to masonry, masonry drillbit for drill
  • pencil, router & jigsaw to create curve (optional)
  • choice of paint (painting is optional)
  • paintbrush/roller
  • herbs/plants
  • pottery
  • planting essentials
  • plant markers (optional)
  • stool (optional)

1. Cut Cedar

  • cut cedar to size you would like 
  • lay it out it for an idea for how to put it together, spacing the boards or not (spacing is optional)
  • cut brackets how you’d like them to be – we used a radius cedar piece that we mitered to make two pieces come together; shown above 
  • cut your cedar for the sides of the shelf if extra length is needed 

2. Screw Shelf Together

  • start out with a layout of how the shelf will be
  • attach the 4 mitered pieces (2 for each bracket) with a drill and 3 in. screws to use as brackets (clamping the corners of brackets will help)
  • place brackets onto 2×4 using drill and 3 in. screws again – have the bracket stick out halfway on top if you will be adding more cedar to the sides for extra length; shown above (that way the brackets still supports the side pieces)
  • attach the next two pieces of cedar 2×4 by flipping the shelf sideways – use a space guide, if needed
  • attach the side pieces likewise
  • because the sides of the shelf can get rather flimsy from heavy weight overtime, attach scrap wood underneath the shelf; shown above (needed for an extra long shelf)
  • use another piece of cedar to place underneath the middle of the shelf to keep shelf dipping inwards overtime – attach with screws also

3. Curve & Router (optional)

  • I wanted curved sides for a less “boxy” look so we hand drew the curve we wanted with a pencil
  • cut that with a jig saw (tip: cut right outside the pencil mark)
  • used the cut offs to replicate it on the other side, tracing then cutting
  • after cutting, smooth the rough cuts down with an orbital sander
  • clamp the shelf or have someone hold it as you router the shelf
  • choose routing bit and begin routing, from one side to the other (optional)
  • if you hit a few snags and mess up, router over them again, going the opposite way this time

4. Paint (optional)

  • because we have so much leftover paint, I just played around with the colors until I came up with a color I wanted (it was so hard so choose a color hah)
  • you can do the same or purchase a specific paint color
  • before painting, lightly sand the entire shelf down with 150 grit (or so) sandpaper
  • wipe down shelf with a lint free cloth to get rid of sand/saw dust
  • begin painting shelf by rolling or brushing – no primer need (we went for an imperfect look)
  • let dry for at least 24 hrs

5. Hang Plant Shelf

  • put in place, on the wall (you will probably need help) where you want it and use level to make sure you will be hanging it up nice and straight
  • use drill to pre-drill holes for screws
  • use 2.5 masonary tapcons screws to attach shelf to wall (if screwing into masonry)
  • if placing the shelf onto an interior wall, you may need to place drywall anchors first, then use regular 3 in. screws to secure shelf to wall by using a drill
  • add that little mitered trim piece for an extra touch on the brackets with a pin nail or wood glue, if needed

6. Add Your Favorite Plants & Pottery

  • add plants and your favorite pottery pieces
  • add anything else that you would like to style on the herb/plant shelf – doesn’t have to be plant related! For example, I have two pieces of art on ours that make me smile every time because I love it
  • try not to kill your plants hehe (make sure you hang your shelf up where your plants have at least some direct or indirect natural light, depending on plant type of course)

*Check out how we updated the rest of the lanai by pulling out carpet, painting, adding beams, etc!

styling the plant shelf
styling an herb shelf
plant shelf display
florida lanai with shelf for plants

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