When May/June rolls around as a kid I thought about Summer and all the things I wanted to do to stay out of trouble (ok, ok you caught me; I did my fair share of stupid things that got me in trouble). The last thing I was thinking about was my teacher and reflecting on the things she taught me and the inspirations she pushed on me. I never understood why my mom was so concerned with getting her a gift. I didn't even understand it when I became an adult and when my mom became a Kindergarten teacher. But, when I became a father and my son started school it quickly became apparent why my mom was always concerned with getting my teacher a little gift at the end of the school year. The teacher spent an entire year out of her life prepping to make a difference in my life and believing in me (well my mom probably bought them presents as a bribe to let me move on to the next grade level, I promise I was a good kid), so it is just a small gesture to say "Thank You!".
You maybe asking your self, "what does this have to do with woodworking?" Well when my son started school I immediately understood how my mom felt. I wanted to say "Thank You" to those teachers that made a difference in his life as well. A store bought item didn't feel personal enough. So I made the conscious effort when he started Kindergarten to make his teachers something special.
The end of this school year crept up on me so fast that I was looking ahead and realized school was ending in 3 days. I hadn't started on anything and I needed something that was quick. I have been wanting to make a succulent planter for a long time and I had tons of scraps from the dining table that I could easily make one.
You can see how I made it below ⬇️
I took a couple 1 ½" thick poplar scraps from the table top and some ½" plywood scraps and glued them together. I made sure I used plenty of glue since this would hold a plant that would need to be watered. I didn't want the water to seep between the layers and make the planter delaminate.
The spiderweb is a must for proper glue adhesion. Who else makes patterns and shapes with their glue up?
Making sure you get good solid clamping pressure is must. Check for good glue squeeze out once you are done and clean up what you can so it doesn't drip and dry on everything.
With the awesome cutting depth of my Ryobi Sliding Compound Miter Saw I was able to square up the blank. If you don't have a miter saw with a deep cutting depth then you could use a bandsaw or a table saw to square up the blank.
After the blank was squared up I didn't like the look of the planter. I felt like it was a little plain and boring. So what better to do than improvise. I took the planter to the bandsaw and tilted the table to roughly 5-10°. I cut curves in all four sides to give it a geometrical shape.
Once that is done then you need to drill a 2" - 2 ½" hole about 3" deep (make the hole just slightly larger than the succulent planter that your plant came in and just as deep).
This step isn't necessary at all but I felt like a chamfer would add a unique detail. So I took my router and my CMT 45° chamfer bit and routed a small chamfer.
Now you need to seal the wood inside the hole to keep water from penetrating the fibers. Epoxy is a good alternative for this because it creates a thick barrier. I had ArtResin on hand and it worked great. Plus it has Zero VOC so I wasn't worried about it off gasing when I was done with it. I poured it in the bottom and used a small silicone brush to brush it up the sides. About every 15 mins of an hour or two I went back out to the shop and brushed it up the sides again. (Follow the instructions on the epoxy you are using)
Here is a quick video from David Piccuito on how it is done.
Apply a finish of choice. Spray Lacquer, Shellac, or a Water-based Poly is a good choice because it dries fast.
Finally, after it is dry take your plant out of the container it came in and put it in the hole on your new planter. Apply a little water to the succulent to help it acclimate to it's new home. (If you don't have a green thumb then use a fake plant)