How to make cheap gardening bookends

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Do you have your gardening reference books just collecting dust on a shelf in your garden shed? Want a way to easily find them?

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How to make cheap gardening bookends

Things you’ll need:

  • Graph paper and pencil
  • Wood scraps of 2×10 pine or fir lumber.
  • Two 6” x 6” x 3/8” steel plates, cut from scrap or have cut at Home Store where they can be purchased.
  • Six 3” long,  #10, flat head, galvanized screws for connecting book ends
  • Six 1” long, # 8, flat head, galvanized screws for fastening steel plate
  • Power drill with wood an metal drill bits and screwdriver bits
  • Hammer and wood chisel to cut out recess in bottom of wood bookends to receive steel pieces (for weight)
  • Saw for cutting  pieces to size
  • Sandpaper block for rounding edges
  • Strong glue for gluing wood, steel, and ceramic pots
  • Paint and brushes
  • Two colored ceramic pots, 6-8” diameter x 6” high, with or without drainage hole in bottom

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Sketch wood bookends to fit size of ceramic pots used. Use graph paper, sketch to scale.  Follow Author’s sketch for example.  Layout items on your workbench or garden shed table.  Make sure you have plenty of room.  Study your sketch and the Author’s before you start.  Start by cutting the 2×10 scrap to size needed.  Round edges with sanding block.  Pre-drill holes in bottom pieces for securing wood together.  Pre-drill holes in edge of upright pieces of bookends.  Drill slightly larger hole than diameter of 3” wood screw to counter sink screws.  See Author’s article on countersinking screws. Use sanding block to insure wood surfaces are flat and will fit well.  Check drilled holes and sand slightly if necessary to remove wood splinters.

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Cut steel scrap pieces or purchase from Home Store. There are several Home Stores within a reasonable driving distance in Fort Worth.  You can buy the steel pieces there and they will cut to size. Drill holes for screws and countersink holes for screw heads so screws fit just under flush with edge of steel plates.  If you have difficulty with this,  take steel to any Fort Worth  machine repair shop and they will cut and drill holes for you.   Use steel pieces as template and mark location of each on bottom of 2×10 bookends.  Mark pre-drilled holes also if you have not already drilled them.  Use hammer and wood chisel to cut out 3/8” portion of wood bottoms to receive steel pieces. Sand for fit, but don’t try to be and expert (Bottom will not be seen!).  Just make sure steel piece and screws do not protrude beyond bottom of wood or you will not have level bookends.  When recess is cut and sanded, fit steel pieces, glue and screw countersunk screws through steel piece into wood bottom.  Tighten securely.  Let glue dry completely.

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Connect vertical 2×10 pieces of bookends by gluing and screwing bottom wood to verticals. Be sure 3” screws are countersunk and not protruding beyond bottom wood of bookends.  Paint color as desired.  Let vertical and horizontal wood pieces dry thoroughly.  Decide on placement of ceramic pots on wood bookends, place glue on bottom of pot (or drainage catcher) and set in place.  Let dry completely before filling ceramic colored pots with your favorite plant for this type use.  Set the cheap gardening bookends on a shelf in your garden shed or greenhouse and display your Fort Worth gardening reference books!  Make a matching pair to display other gardening books as well!

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Tips and Warnings:

  • Do make layout on graph paper of cheap gardening bookendsand check location and fitting of all pieces before you cut and assemble.
  • The steel for weighting the bookends can be most anything.  You could even glue and screw a piece to the bottom wood that is the same size and not need to recess steel plate.
  • Take care when drilling holes.  Beware of splitting wood.
  • Be sure and let glued parts dry thoroughly before moving to next step and using the gardening cart.

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