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.
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.
Before we get into the tutorial, don’t forget to get your craft mojo on at Birdz of a Feather and subscribe to our newsletter:
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).
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:
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.
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.
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:
* [If you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered (disclosure): Clicking on the affiliate links below means we may receive a commission. But don’t worry, you don’t pay a cent more and it helps us make more unique crafts to share with you! Thanks for helping to support our blog!]
- Screw extracting pliers
- Needle nose pliers
- Zero Friction Penetrating Oil
- Alien Tape
- Plastic fillable ornament balls
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.
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.
The oil I’m using is Zero Friction.
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!
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.
To hold the wire air plant holders onto the globe, I’m using Alien Tape.
This stuff has adhesive both sides and is strong! Just cut squares to fit the rubber grommet. Once Alien Tape is applied, peel the backing.
Press onto the globe; I’m applying these around the equator and one on top.
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.
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.
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!
Ceramic Air Plant Holder #2
In this next version, I’m using a thrifted wooden piece originally from New Zealand.
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!
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!
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!
The cap is made of a soft metal.
And the nice thing about this is that there are sections which you can pull 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.
Finally; the 3rd time’s a charm. Here’s my favourite version of the ceramic air plant holder!
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.
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!
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!
Pin Ceramic Air Plant Holder
Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!
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!
- Birdz of a Feather: Ceramic Air Plant Holder
- Unique Creations By Anita: Outdoor Spa Towel Rack
- The Fifth Sparrow No More: Quick and Easy Garden Border with Vintage China
- A Crafty Mix: Wine Glass Stem Candle Holder