Looking for a great handmade Christmas or housewarming gift idea for the plant lovers in your life? Check out this video where I show how to make two DIY plant Propagation Stations that you can make without having a big workshop or fancy woodworking tools. This will also answer your question about how to propagate a pothos!
Or if you prefer reading and seeing pictures, I’ve added the entire episode transcript below (with some modifications for clarity) along with some images to highlight the main steps.
Today I’m going to show you how to turn a test tube into two different plant propagation stations that will make the perfect Christmas gifts for plant lovers.
For both propagation stations, you’ll want to get test tubes that have a flat bottom and that are at least 25 millimeters in diameter. I started off by cutting 1”x 2” wood scraps that I had on hand. The side pieces are 3 ¼”thick and 3” long. The top and bottom pieces are 3 ¼” long and ⅜” thick. Of course, using a miter saw to cut them would have given me cleaner 90 degree cuts. However, I still find that with a little practice, a handsaw can do a pretty good job too.
Now the first thing to do is to mark the center of the thin pieces, which will be the top and the bottom. Another thing I like to do is to mark the center where I want to drill with a nail, and I’ll show you in a little bit why that’s important.
Next, you want to clamp one of the thin pieces to your work surface. I prefer to use C clamps for this, but you could use whatever clamps you have on hand. Next, to make our holes for the test tube, I’m using this Forstner drill bit, it has a slightly bigger diameter than the test tubes, which is what you want. Remember that divot that I did with the nail, it’s going to allow me to line up the tip of the drill exactly where I want it because now it has a little place to catch on to. Then you’re ready to drill your hole out. Before you do that, definitely want to put your safety glasses on whenever you’re drilling, especially with wood like this that can get into your eyes, you want to wear some safety glasses.
You want to make sure you go all the way through and this is why you want to protect your work surface with a scrap piece of wood. Otherwise, you’re going to be making a hole in your table.
Then the moment of truth. You have a nice circle and it’s perfect for the test tube. Love it. This is the most fun part of the project.
Now next, we need to drill this other piece, but we’re not going to drill all the way through. It’s the same process as the other one except that this time, I’m only going to drill partway. Drill just a little bit just enough for the test tube to catch.
For the next part, I thought it would be fun to experiment with using iron on wood edging to secure all the pieces together. I’m going to show you how I did that. I measured and cut two strips of edging to be 3 ¾” long. Because this is iron on wood edging it has glue on the backside of it. Essentially, you take the piece of wood edging that you just cut and you line it up to one edge of your thicker wood pieces. You line it up so that there’s enough room for your centerpieces on either side. So once you know that you’ve got it lined up properly, you just take your iron and you heat up the edging. I have my iron on the cotton setting, I believe. You just want to make sure it’s not too hot, because you don’t want to burn the wood.
Typically, wood edging is ¾” wide, but this roll is actually two inches wide. What’s really nice about this material is that it’s super easy to reposition if you need to, you just need to heat up the glue again and then you can move it around. It’s a bit hot. You want to use a piece of wood to make sure that the glue adheres really well to the piece of wood. Then I can just take the iron and heat up the glue on the sides again. It’s almost as fun as watching paint dry.
Then you take pieces and put them in place. Just like that these two are attached together, you repeat the same process with the other piece of wood.
When you don’t have woodworking tools, sometimes you have to think of a different way of doing things. So definitely not a traditional woodworkers way of building a little box like this. I think it’s kind of fun that you get to be able to do something like this, even though you’re using just basic tools like a drill and an iron.
You want to make sure that everything is glued really well together. Obviously, when you’re building something by hand, it’s not going to be perfect, but I think that it adds character and at the end of the day, it’s all the love that goes into making it that’s important.
So once you have all the edges cleaned off, I like to then take some sandpaper to smooth everything out. This is another tip for you that I think works really well, it’s to staple a piece of sandpaper to a piece of wood like this. That way it holds it in place and you can easily smooth everything out. Now it is essentially done and I could have stopped here but I did want to reinforce the top bit more so I thought it would be fun to use some wood dowels. Now typically, when you’re dealing with dowels, it’s much easier if you have a drill press that allows you to drill perfectly at 90 degrees. But when you’re working with a hand drill, it’s not so easy to do. So this is where this jig comes in really handy. It allows you to position your holes exactly and have your drill be angled perfectly at 90 degrees. So that’s what I’m going to use. You’ll see it’s kind of a neat trick.
You want to position it so that the center here is with the center of the board. You want to clamp this because this is going to have a tendency to want to move around. I’m using a jig for dowels that are ⅜” in diameter because that’s what I had on hand, but with a bigger hole, there’s more chances that the wood might split so I would actually recommend using ¼” dowels instead.
Before putting in the dowels, I do like to add a little bit of glue and then spread it around to the sides with a toothpick. You don’t want to put too much glue because it’s going to spill out and make a mess. Before putting in the dowels, I did sand down one end so that they would sit flush with the top. Then you sand the top. It’s ready for the test tube. Just like this. So cute. Now this is just for one, but I made one earlier with three, which I think is really cute as well. Now you can put a little picture frame hanger here to hang it or you can just have it sit like this on the desk.
The next propagation station is actually pretty easy to make and doesn’t require any power tools. Plus, I scavenged all the materials to make it from things I already had. The process for making this one is fairly simple. So I’m just going to let the video speak for itself. This was really a fun craft project that I hope you also enjoy watching and hopefully making yourself.
* you can see the step by step instructions in this post.
I love how this one turned out too. It’s so cute. I think these would make great Christmas gifts for plant lovers. And I also think it’s great to be able to give something that you made yourself and put a lot of love into.