Ceramic Air Plant Holder

Turn a funky broken vintage serving dish into a ceramic air plant holder.

We’ve been clearing out my mom’s house for what seems like an eternity. What with Covid and then my youngest sister buying the house, there was no panic to clear things out.

china cabinet filled with vintage china

IBC – Broken Dreams Challenge

It’s time for another International Bloggers Club (IBC) challenge and this month our theme is Broken Dreams.

The IBC is a group from all over the world who challenge each other every month to make something using a common theme. You’ll find our friends’ broken dreams ideas at the very bottom of the post. So don’t forget to check them out before you go. And if you don’t have time to browse today, pop back in later in the week to pick up where you left off. For last month’s Get Organized challenge, we did this wooden paint brush holder.

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The Serving Dish

Things took an abrupt turn when my sister couldn’t afford to keep our mom’s house. So we’ve been busy helping her re-home all the furniture and move stuff out for the closing at the end of the month.

While emptying the hutch, I found this awesome serving dish hiding underneath. It was my grandmother’s; she likely used it to serve an afternoon tea of finger sandwiches and sweet treats. She wasn’t one to bake cake, but I do remember her rugelach (mini crescent roll pastries with a sweet filling, such as jam and walnuts).

Vintage serving dish with ceramic hand grabbing the base

Unfortunately I didn’t pack this very well and it broke during the car ride home. I was pretty bummed to see it like this:

Broken serving dish: plate, ceramic hand and broken pieces of ceramic

Although I’m not sure, I think the metal rod extending up the middle allowed the plate to rotate so you turn it to pick your treat.

Ceramic serving dish upside down on table before it was broken

If it didn’t break, it would make a lovely jewelry catch-all or candle holder but it wasn’t meat to be. So I’m going to upcycle it into something useful again. I adore the kitschy look of the ceramic hand so that’s the part I’m working with. But first, I have to remove the metal rod and connector that’s still there.

Bottom of ceramic hand with pieces of broken ceramic on table

Watch This Video!

Crafting is a process that doesn’t always result in projects we love. It took three tries to end up with something we were happy with :). See it unfold in this video – and subscribe to our channel for ‘breaking’ upcycles (I couldn’t resist that pun)!

You will need:

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For wire air plant holders:

  • Galvanized wire (dollar store wire is fine – & cheaper)
  • 1/2″ Rubber grommets (these are similar, but make sure there’s adequate surface for the tape to stick)

Add Penetrating Oil

The metal washer wouldn’t budge so I used some penetrating oil. A tiny drop is all it needs.

Ceramic hand, penetrating oil and pliers lined up on table

While the oil was doing its thing, I took off outdoors to enjoy the gorgeous early summer weather (and beat Hubs at another game of scrabble). Leave it upside down in a cup so gravity works its magic and helps the oil soak in.

Upside down ceramic air plant holder in a cup showing metal rod in the middle

The oil I’m using is Zero Friction.

Bottle of zero friction penetrating oil in left and with upside down ceramic air plant holder in measuring cup

Luckily, that did the trick – along with slip joint screw extractor pliers that’s especially good at gripping because of the serrations on the jaws. Ironically these gripping pliers are also made in Japan; just like the ceramic serving dish I broke!

Base of ceramic air plant holder in left hand and metal rod in right hand with pliers beside on table

Three Time’s a Charm

Now, I have to admit that this project suffered from Goldilocks syndrome. The first two ideas were so-so. But then the third one was just right! At least for me; you can be the judge.

The first is a mini air planter holder version of the large globe you’ll see in this unique air plant holder post. Check it out for instructions on how to make the wire air plant holders you see below.

Globe, ceramic dish and base, broken pieces of ceramic, and wire air plant holders on table

To hold the wire air plant holders onto the globe, I’m using Alien Tape.

Fingers pointing to box of alien tape with globe beside it

This stuff has adhesive both sides and is strong! Just cut squares to fit the rubber grommet. Applying alien tape to back of rubber grommet on wire air plant holder with globe in the background Once Alien Tape is applied, peel the backing.

globe, alien tape, ceramic air plant holder and wire air plant holders on table

Press onto the globe; I’m applying these around the equator and one on top.

Sticking the wire air plant holders onto the globe

The trick to getting the air plants to stay in the wire air plant holders is to twist them into the wire. The lower leaves will catch in the wire, holding them in place.

Putting the air plants into the wire air plant holders on the globe

In this version, I’m covering the gaping hole resulting from the break with a spare sewing machine part, courtesy of Hubs. It reminds me of a peanut butter cup! It too gets Alien Tape.

Applying alien tape onto the new base of the ceramic air plant holder

Balance the globe on the tape. I like seeing that it’s a globe, so didn’t add too many air plants onto this version of the ceramic air plant holder.

But it looks too top heavy. I’ll take what I learned from this one and perfect it later!

Version 1 of the ceramic air plant holder with black globe and air plants

Ceramic Air Plant Holder #2

In this next version, I’m using a thrifted wooden piece originally from New Zealand.

Wood dish with 3 eggs

Apparently, the wood is carbon dated to 2120 years. I can’t read the name of the swamp and would love to know more. If anyone is familiar with New Zealand and knows this area, do tell!

Bottom of wooden dish showing carbon dating to 2120 years

This version of the ceramic air plant holder is actually a nice display for Fall. And I can use our air plant pups by nestling them amongst the wooden eggs. I think orange tones work well with the pink tones on the hand!

2nd version of ceramic air plant holder with wooden dish on top of the base and air plants nestled between the eggs

However, it’s Spring here. Or rather, we’re having a brief summer interlude right now (it’s back to snow mid-week again). So I’m longing for something light and airy. So onto the next one!

Ceramic Air Plant Holder #3

Instead of hiding the broken part, I’m celebrating it in this last project using a clear plastic ornament!

Clear plastic ornament with tag

The cap is made of a soft metal.

Silver metal cap of plastic ornament

And the nice thing about this is that there are sections which you can pull apart.
Finger pointing to section of silver cap where it's pulled apart

That means you can splay them outward. So, when you insert the ornament into the ceramic air plant holder, it stays put thanks to a friction fit! I don’t know why they’re made that way. But for this project, it’s genius!

I like the mix of gold and silver tones. Of course, the silver cap coordinates nicely with the wire that holds the air plants.

Close up of base of ceramic air plant holder showing broken area and plastic ornament on top

Finally; the 3rd time’s a charm. Here’s my favourite version of the ceramic air plant holder!

Finished ceramic air plant holder showing air plants attached to plastic ornament on top

I wasn’t going to show you how this looks with the rest of our plants because our bay window is in dire need of replacing. The seal on the double pane glass is long gone. It’s a wonder our plants get any light at all.

ceramic air plant holder with air plants on plastic ornament

But the good new is that we’ve been ‘window shopping’ and are getting our windows replaced soon. It’s been a long time since we’ve written about home improvement so perhaps we’ll post about the windows this summer. I know we’ll enjoy being able to see our outdoor garden through new windows. Here’s hoping the plants are not too shocked when the light streams in again!

I love how the plastic ornament practically disappears and the air plants look like they’re floating. It reminds me of our DIY Indoor Water Fountain with the magical floating tap!

Plants and planters on a two shelf display table including ceramic air plant holder If you are as obsessed with air plants as we are, check out these air plant decor ideas! You’re sure to find something that inspires you to upcycle.

If you prefer to buy instead of DIY, check out Amazon for a variety of air plant holders!

Want more planter ideas? Check out these amazing upcycled planters!

Pin Ceramic Air Plant Holder

Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!

Pinnable image for ceramic air plant holder

Broken Dreams Challenge

As upcyclers, we don’t let anything go to waste – even if it’s broken! So be sure to check out these creative projects from the rest of the IBC team!

  1. Birdz of a Feather: Ceramic Air Plant Holder
  2. Unique Creations By Anita: Outdoor Spa Towel Rack
  3. The Fifth Sparrow No More: Quick and Easy Garden Border with Vintage China
  4. A Crafty Mix: Wine Glass Stem Candle Holder

26 thoughts on “Ceramic Air Plant Holder

  1. I bet your heart broke a little when you pulled that one out of the packaging. Ouch, but you managed to make the best of a bad break and I love how they all look and if I had to choose it would be the last one. It looks like air plants are floating on top of the hand.

    • I’m anything if not persistent! For a project I didn’t really have much time for, it sure turned into a pursuit I just couldn’t leave alone until I was happy with it lol!

  2. What a great repurpose Sara. I love all three versions but #3 is my favorite. I have never heard of alien tape, sound like a great product.

    • It is a great product because it’s strong, but you can still remove it if you want to! I’ll likely restore this serving dish one day when I have more time to fuss with it, so having something that works but isn’t permanent is ideal.

  3. Sara, I’m sorry to read that staying in the house didn’t work out for your sister. I hope she’s been able to find something else more suitable to her needs and budget. I love you last airplane holder and I agree that it looks like it’s floating in air. The wooden version also looks nice, but as a stand-alone piece. You are good at making lemons into lemonade!

    • My sister did find a lovely condo. However, the closing is up in the air because the property is still in probate so unfortunately she’ll have to move twice. Her house closes in a few weeks and there’s still stuff to clear so it’s been a very busy time. There hasn’t been much time for crafting but it does help calm the nerves when I can :). I’m looking forward to when all of this is behind us and we can get back to a new normal.

      • Moving, no matter the circumstance, is stressful and exhausting. I moved my sister last year from her condo to assisted living (a sad, but necessary step with her MS decline. There are so many details involved, physical labor, and of course the emotional life. Three cheers for the new normal.

  4. Oh wow, what a great idea of repurposing and especially to add the air plants. I just love them and finally got some air plants. Still want to get some more in future. Visited you via The Really Crafty Link Party #361!.
    If interested, please hop over and come and share your posts with us at Senior Salon Pit Stop. See my entries: 20+21, and navigate to the bottom of my page for SSPS linkup, we hope to virtually meet you there.

    • Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting Esme! You will love having air plants! Some of them will have pups and multiply, so you will have more without having to get more, but from personal experience, it is hard to resist :).

  5. BRILLIANT upcycle, Sara! We will be featuring you starting Wednesday at the Creative Crafts Linky Party! Pinned and shared!
    Creatively, Beth

  6. You are persistant my friend! Great job on this unqiue project Sara! I’m excited to tell you that this post will be featured in Tuesday Turn About Link Party this week! Thanks so much for linking up and we hope to see you this week! Pinned 😊

    • I’m like a dog with a bone 😂. Thanks for dropping by to pass along that news Cindy. So excited to be featured!

    • Thanks so much for the feature Rhondda; so exciting!

  7. I have never seen a plate with hand before Sara, I was bummed when it broke too! You sure did find several different uses for it though. I know what cleaning out a home is like and it is so overwhelming. My thoughts are with you. It is hard to let go of so many sentimental items.

    • Thank you Cara! It is overwhelming but almost behind us :).

  8. My mother swears by alien tape, but I have never used it. I can see the benefit of it for crafting now, thank you for sharing Sara.

    • You see them hanging bricks with it in one of the infomercials. I wouldn’t trust it with anything that heavy but there’s definitely a place for it in crafting 🙂

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