Do you enjoy making planters that serve a dual purpose? We sure do. I’ve been nurturing a rather large air plant for a while and wanted to make something that would put her center stage and add a little boho magic to our decor. And I think I may have done just that with this leather Tillandsia planter.
This is not the first planter I’ve made for our Tillies, but this big baby really did deserve a unique home.
Those curly leaves needed a backdrop that celebrated how incredible tillies are. This is a Tillandsia Xerographica, otherwise known as the queen of air plants, which typically grows to around 90cm in diameter, so this one is still a baby. She’s only about 20cm wide. I draped Spanish moss on either side of the planter for fun.
We hung her on one of our large concrete button hooks, and I love the combo.
Our seed head man is keeping watch over all this feathery loveliness.
Who wouldn’t love a face like that? Someone extremely talented took the time to see a story in the seedpod and carve it out. He’s a bitch to dust though.
The planter, on the other hand just needs a quick shake and she’s good to go. I wish my old bones were like that 😀 The leather Tillie planter took less than a day to make, and she’s perfect for this month’s “Pleatherable Leather” Int’l Blogger’s Club challenge. You’ll be able to see what my blogging friends did with their challenge at the end of this tutorial. So make sure to stick around. I promise it’s worth it.
But, before I show you how to make your own boho-styled leather Tillandsia planter, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!
What you need
- Leather or pleather
- A collection of beads and feathers
- Leather cord
- Scrap piece of wood
- Broken broomstick to hang
- Upholstery nail strip
How to make the boho-styled leather Tillandsia planter
First things first. We need to make a wood and leather pocket to carry or hold the air plant. I used a leftover piece of a grimy breadboard and cut a half-moon shape using my jigsaw. Clean and sand the wooden shape.
And give it a coat of spray paint to protect and seal it.
Use the cut board as a template to cut a piece of leather that’s at least 2cm (1”) wider on either side at the top of the board.
Drill two small holes in the top corners of the cut board. They need to be about 1cm (1/2”) from the edge and top of the board. We’ll thread the cord through these holes to hang the Tillandsia planter later.
Attaching the leather to the board
Line up the bottom of the cut leather with the bottom of the board and hammer in a thumbtack to attach the leather pocket to the board.
Line the side up with the sides of the cut board and hammer in a thumbtack. Repeat on the other side. Add a few more equally-spaced thumbtacks around the outer edge of the pocket. Trim away any excess leather.
You should end up with a generous pocket to slip the air plant inside.
Cut a leather strip and glue it around the edge of the planter.
Cut long pieces of leather cord and thread it through the top holes you made earlier. Repeat on the other side.
Screw a wood screw into the board inside the pocket. The screw will help secure the air plant inside the pocket once we’re done.
RightyO, that’s the holder pocket portion of the leather planter done.
Time to dolly this Tillandsia planter up with some beads and feathers. I have a collection of feathers, including a few from a guinea fowl. The spots were not quite the right tone for this planter. But that’s easy enough to solve with a little coffee.
How to color feathers with coffee
To color feathers using coffee, you’ll need:
- 3 – 4 tablespoons of coffee in a cup of boiling water
- Two tablespoons of vinegar
- Baking pan or suitable dish
Add the coffee and vinegar to a cup of boiled water. Wait for the mixture to cool down completely.
Place the feathers in a baking pan and pour in the coffee mix. Stir gently so the feathers get a good dose of coffee.
Let the feathers sit in the coffee mixture for about 10 minutes before removing them. Place the coffee-dyed feathers on a flat surface and leave them to dry. If you’re impatient like me, you can use a hairdryer.
If your feathers are a little warped, steam them over a bowl of boiling water and gently tease them back into shape. You can see the color difference in the piccy below between the coffee-dyed feathers and the original color in the middle. Add more coffee if you want a deeper color.
Handy Hint: For different colors, follow the same steps as above but replace the coffee with either food coloring or kool-aid.
Adding beads and feathers – the easy way
There are two ways to add beads and feathers. You can screw in little eye hooks all around the bottom of the leather pocket like I did when I made the half-moon dream catcher or you can do it the easy way and use this amazing invention here.
Upholstery nail strips not only make your life easier when it comes to upholstered furniture, it’s a game-changer when it comes to spacing beads and feathers around a curved surface, like this leather Tillandsia planter.
Straighten the nail strip out and use a small metal drill bit to drill holes in the nail strip where there are none.
Clamp the nail strip onto a board and add the leather cord by threading it through the hole and making a knot.
You can add as many cords as you like. I put one in every second hole.
Now all you need to do is string the beads and feathers on and line them up as you go.
How to add feathers and beads to the leather cord
I find it much easier to add beads to a leather cord. There’s no need for spacers. You simply thread the cord through the hole in the bead, slide it up to where you want it, and knot the cord.
To add feathers, insert the feather shaft inside the bead and knot the cord around the feather.
If you need to adjust the beads or feathers on the cord, loosen the knot, shift the bead, and knot again. Carry on adding beads and feathers to the leather Tillandsia planter until you’re happy with the look.
To secure the last bead and feather combo, put a dab of glue on the knot before trimming away any excess leather cord.
Adding the beads and feather to the leather planter pocket
To add the beads and feathers to the Tillandsia planter pocket, bend the upholstery nail strip around the back, bottom edge of the leather pocket and hammer thumb tacks in to secure.
The curve of the beads and feathers will mimic the curve or the pocket without you having to worry about trying to position beads on the cord.
So much easier than trying to position beads on a curve 😀
Displaying the Boho Tillandsia Planter
Hang the leather pocket with all the beads and feathers on a broken broomstick or whatever you have available. Loosely weave a piece of wire through the bottom leaves of your air plant and wrap it once around the base.
Please don’t use copper wire. It’s toxic to air plants and can kill them. Hook the wire around the nail inside the pocket to secure your air plant and you’re done. You can also use clear elastic to attach the air plant as we did in this 3D landscape art.
Tillies are such easy-care plants.
They can be hung anywhere ……
Or put anywhere….
As long as their roots aren’t bound by soil or restricted, they’ll thrive. This little one is going to flower soon.
Can we just pause for a moment and admire that seed head again 😀 Many, many moons ago, I bought him on the side of the road from one of our many talented local artists.
And I’m happy to report the coffee-stained feathers fit rights in.
I’d love to know what you think of this leather planter idea. Would you make it for your tillies and add to your decor?
BTW, if you don’t want to go through all that trouble of adding beads and feathers to the Tillandsia planter, then have a look at this easy tin can handbag planter that will do the job just as well.
If you like the idea of making a boho-styled leather Tillandsia planter, don’t forget to pin it for later.
Sharing is caring.
Wanna see what my fellow bloggers did with their “Pleatherable Leather” challenge?
- Our remotes are always getting lost around here so this idea from Birdz of a Feather is definitely on my to-do list.
- Boho Tillandsia planter by yours truly
- My succulent-loving heart skipped a little beat when I saw this shoe planter made by Kippi at Home. Isn’t it lovely?
- Another unique creation by Anita. Wouldn’t this geometric wall art look stunning in a pub or safari lodge?
- These classy embossed coasters are surprisingly easy to make, and Interior Frugalista will show you how.
Oh, and if you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered. Disclosure: Clicking on the links below means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry, it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us make more amazing crafts to share with you 😉
And if you prefer to buy rather than DIY, then maybe these beauties will appeal.
And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you for popping in for a visit.