I love everything about our kitchen! All of the faux-stone tile, countertops, and backsplashes are so much more modern than the traditional one-color laminate that plagues most apartment kitchens/bathrooms. My one complaint, however, was the giant awkward space behind the sink.
Since we can’t damage the backsplash, there was no way to hang a frame or anything from the wall. There is a tiny sliver of drywall between the top of the backsplash and the bottom of the upper cabinets, but I never figured out a way to use it. I had put of doing most of my DIY projects because I thought I might be moving. However, after touring MANY available apartments/houses in my dream neighborhood, I realized that I am getting a great bang-for-my-buck where I am currently located. Everything closer to the river is old, creaky, and extremely expensive with utilities. Everyone I’ve shown my apartment to has loved it and my friends thought I was crazy for ever wanting to leave. So now that I am coming to terms with potentially staying another year (and the landlord has confirmed she won’t raise rent – yay!), I have decided to start adding a few improvements. First on the list – the awkward backsplash.
My first idea was to buy one of the hanging terrariums from Whole Foods and use a command hook to dangle it from the bottom of the top cabinet. Command hooks don’t stick to tile, but they do stick to wooden cabinetry. My only deterrent was the price. A single terrarium was around $30 and they are pretty tiny! I didn’t think this would add much to the giant blank space. Plus, I can only imagine myself accidentally hitting it while doing dishes and having it shatter against the backsplash!
I soon gave up on this idea when I came across a DIY tutorial on Make Life Lovely for a Wood Vase & Candle Holder using baby food jars. I knew I wanted to use live plants and add a pop of green color to my otherwise beige and white kitchen. My local grocery store was having a sale on tiny cacti for $1.50 a pop so I started thinking about ways I could use this inspiration and make something unique!
I started out by going to Home Depot and searching for the “reject wood” dumpster. I planned to find a beam about 1.5 feed long and 5 inches wide. Even though the photo above has two rows of plants, I only wanted one. Luckily I found a “You Saw It” station complete with already-white wood! I sawed it to my desired length and it was only $1.50. I had an employee help me find the pipe clamps (the things that go around the jars and affix them to the wood) and then I randomly chose a few white hooks and screws that I thought looked like they would work.
The next step was finding the jars. I had scoured Craigslist for free baby food jars, as people are frequently using them for crafts. Unfortunately no one responded to me so I was forced to go to the grocery store to buy my own. The only selection of baby food was in TINY jars, too small for the cacti, so I had to buy 4 jars of pimentos for $1 each. Lame!
The photo below from the blog that inspired me shows a pretty good breakdown of the process. I constructed the planter by first carving a little hole in between two slats of the pipe clamp, just wide enough to fit the small screw through. Then I used a screw driver to screw the pipe clamp onto the wood. It was a bit of a process and my hands are still a bit sore. Now I see why people use drills! After this, it was fairly easy to twist in the top hooks, hammer the small picture hangers into the dry wall, and then knot some jute twine to a desirable length. Transplanting the cacti was messy, but hopefully they like their new home! Now I just have to resist overwatering them!
The final result? Pretty perfect! Of course the left side of the wood isn’t quite cut straight as I had to saw it by hand, but oh well! I love how it keeps with the white theme. As the cacti grow bigger, I can simply loosen the pipe clamps and switch out the small jars to larger jars! I can even do fresh cut flowers for the spring as the tutorial photo shows. I love how versatile it can be. Even if I do move, I can totally use this in any room.
I believe I spent around $10 on materials, $5 on cacti, $4 on jars, so it only cost me around $20 to make this! Way better than the $30 I could have spent on a tiny hanging terrarium.
My next project is going to be to sand down my bar cart and repaint it. Currently it is a bright red color with a lot of rust on the silver legs. I found another tutorial on how to take apart the cart and clean/repaint each piece individually. I’ll definitely post an update when I am finished!