Okay, you finally learned how to keep some greenery alive—no small feat! Now it’s time to lift up your potting game with the help of a humble garden tool: the tomato cage. You’re only a quick trip to the hardware store away from an easy, totally expensive-looking (keyword: looking) plant stand—which you can turn out in all different sizes and shades. Grow on and give it a shot!
What you’ll need:
- A galvanized metal tomato cage (we used a three-tier style measuring 33 inches tall)
- Cutting pliers or wire cutters
- Hammer (optional)
- Rust-resistant spray paint in a color of your choice
- Terracotta pot that will rest in the widest part of the cage opening (the one we used is 8 ½ inches in diameter)
- Dropcloth or newspaper
How you’ll get it done:
1. Okay, the hardest part comes right up top (and it’s really not that difficult, promise). Use cutting pliers to snap the stakes off the bottom of your tomato cage. Cut as close to the ring as possible and clamp down firmly. If you’re new to this, a tip: Once you squeeze the pliers tightly, use your other hand to bend the metal prong back and forth—it will come off easily. If the spot where you snipped the wire is a little sharp, you can hammer it gently to dull any rough edges. Be careful not to scratch yourself—because who needs that? Not you.
2. Flip the cage over so the widest ring is on the ground. Take it outside or to a well-ventilated area and place it on the dropcloth or newspaper. Then, follow the directions on your spray paint to give your cage a solid coat—sweeping side-to-side is the best way to avoid drips.
3. Now, flip your standard-issue terracotta pot over, so the bottom is facing up. Give the base a solid coat of paint (again, following the directions on your spray paint), and then carefully work your way up the sides of the pot, but only a few inches. This will create an ombré effect. Note: Don’t rush this step. Taking your time here will help you avoid any blotchiness and get an even paint application. Just concentrate your spray towards the base of the pot, and the gradient will happen naturally. If you just want a solid, ultra-classic terracotta pot, you can skip this step entirely.
4. After the paint dries, add a plant to your pot, place it in its new stand, and watch those fronds flourish. A quick aside on watering: Your pot most likely has a drainage hole at the bottom, so make sure to either take it to a sink when it needs a drink for the excess water to drain or place a small bowl underneath to catch initial drips. Boom: You just earned your crafting and green thumb badges in one go.