How to Upcycle a Staircase Spindle Into Macrame Plant Hangers

See how you can turn a baluster into several small planters, for very little money. 

I have been wanting to add some small hanging plants to my kitchen to brighten up the space. I’ve also been coveting all the air plants that I keep seeing on Pinterest and the rest of the internet. I wanted something unusual and unique, so I went to our local salvage shop, Knox Heritage, to see what I could find to make into a planter or two.  

The salvage shop had a ton of mismatched staircase parts. They didn’t have enough spindles of one kind to make any type of railing, so if I took just one, I didn’t need to feel guilty about breaking up a potential set. I love the dark color and shape of this spindle. The wood is heart pine, so it’s probably fairly old and super sturdy.

We (my hubby helped me) cut the spindle along a few of the grooves using a chop saw. 

To drill out the holes for the plants, we placed each piece in a clamp and used a 1” paddle bit. The holes are about 1-1/2” deep. A drill press is another option for cutting the holes. 

A small 3/16” drill bit was used to make the holes in the side of each spindle for the rope.

I then used copper paint on the tops and bottom of each spindle to cover the raw wood. I thought about using stain, but it would be difficult to match and besides, I really like the current copper trend.   

I tried a few different methods of macramé to hang the spindles. On some I started from the bottom, placing a knot inside the planter and working my way up to the top. And on the others, I started from the top ring and worked my way down. I also alternated between flat knots and twisty knots.

The twine that I used came from an estate sale. I think I paid $1 for the spool. You may not get so lucky, but you can probably find a variety of twine or rope at any craft store. Check the jewelry section too. I added a few beads to each planter for an extra dose of personality.

I love air plants. They require minimal care, just submerge them in water for a 1/2 hour every 10 days to 2 weeks. You can also mist them every few days to keep them moist.  

11 Hard-to-Kill Houseplants

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Small Spaces

Use a chopstick to coax the pebbles into hard to reach places to avoid unnecessary encounters with thorns.

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Caughey


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