Cacti and succulents tableau

This fits right into the "things that should not be THAT expensive, but yet they are" series.

Today's thing is this:

I did not believe that this (a wooden box, filled with moss and a few cacti/succulent plants that looks very colorful and nice) would cost upwards of $50, some reaching as high as $100...

So I set out to beat the man and make my own. Doing it myself means I can afford to use slightly nicer wood, perhaps even cooler plants (I have to go look at the Berkeley Botanical garden).

However, for a first try, I just picked up whatever wood came my way at the local dwelling depository. I needed a 6 foot 1 and a half by 3/4 inch wooden beam, smallest sheet of 1/4 inch plywood for the backing piece and 1/4 inch precut wooden shims, as moulding, to sandwhich the frame and the mesh and keep the moss from flying out.

The tools were already waiting for me at AMT:

- compound miter saw: for those nice angle cuts, to make the box look more like a picture frame.

- router: for the slots, where the backing inserts and the relief for the mesh top that gets sandwhiched between the frame and the finishing moulding.

- clamps, sand paper, small nails and wood glue to complete the set

I chose to use the router first and make all the features on my entire length of stock before doing my cuts:


There's not a whole lot to discuss, except to say that 45 degree angles are your friend and that you should not trust the powertools to tell you the angle. I got a protractor and measured my saw setup, to make sure it will all fit snugly at the end.

Then I cut out the backing piece out of 1/4 inch plywood and test fitted the whole set:

I then decided it fit well enough to glue toghether. I chose to glue three of the sides, leaving the last one only for clamping it down in the correct position. I will have to re-adjust the size of the backing to make it fit well and I want to nail the last piece, in case I will want to dis-assemble it later. My four-corner clamp was a ratcheting tie-down, from my truck's set, with a scrap piece of wood to protect the box from dings and scratches:

And here it is, only the glued parts, followed by a test fitting, where I found out that the backing needs to be trimmed about 1/16 for a nice final fit:

Once the box and the backing fit toghether, I nailed the last piece in place and test-fitted the moulding, that will later sandwhich the top mesh:

However, I am not yet nailing it down for two reasons:

1. I did not find the perfect mesh (I saw some, but they were too rough and the spacing too wide, so I am still looking for a nice, fitting style mesh, possibly green rather than the black easily found everywhere)

2. I did not yet get the moss, which needs to fill the box before I place the mesh and nail or glue it down


Stay tuned, as I search for moss, cacti and succulent plants that would finish this projectin style!

June 5th update:

So I finally got off my butt and made it to a nursery (Oakland, Laskeshore district) where I found a nice variety of small (read: just rooted) succulents. No cacti, as their roots are a little too thick to plant through the wire mesh I used. Here is a picture to give you an idea of what I am about to plant:

succulent plants

Soon I will post pictures of the process for planting and what it all looks like toghether. Stay tuned!

Update: Sep 17

Yes, it took me a while, but the succulent plants have been growing and got the point where they WANTED to get out of those tiny containers, so I decided it was time.



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