My girlfriend wanted to hang some plants in front of our picture windows, so we went to a local nursery. For about $10 they sold a pot holder that would trap a pot in a web of ropes. There was a large knot at the top and bottom, and a series of knots in the middle to hold the ropes in place, so that the pot would not fall out. It looked simple enough, so we just bought some rope and went home to try to duplicate the design. One reason to do this was to be able to customize the hangers for pots of differing diameters and to hang the pots at differing heights.
It turned out that tying all of those knots in exactly the right places was a frustrating process, so I tried to think of other ways to keep the ropes in place. While perusing the web, I encountered some designs that used beads rather than knots. Having no beads of that size, we decided to try using washers, instead. The result is a plant hanger that can be made in under 10 minutes.
To start out, cut four pieces of rope 100 inches each. Fold them in the middle, to get 8 strands of rope about 50 inches long. Tie an overhand knot about 3 inches from the top, where the ropes loop back on themselves. We did not need to, but you could trap a steel ring in the top loop if you wish. This is what the top should look like:
You might think that a simple knot like this could shift, but once you pull each strand tight, it should be solid.
Insert washers from the bottom, trapping pairs of ropes. The trick is to use two layers of washers, one of which traps pairs of adjacent ropes, with the next layer trapping pairs from adjacent pairs. It is easier to show you than to explain it:
Note that one of the final washers has to trap one rope from the top and one from the bottom, to turn the whole thing into a cylinder. This is what it should look like just before you tie a second overhand knot at the bottom:
The next part is tricky. Put a bowl on the table, place the bottom knot in the bowl, and then place the pot on top of the bowl. The bowl provided space for the bottom knot so that the pot does not fall over while you are working on getting the ropes arranged around the pot.
Gently lift the top knot to put a little tension on the ropes. You need to start out with all of the washers at the top, and only lower the first layer of washers down until they rest on the top of the rim of the pot. Make sure that the washers are spread out evenly around the pot. Then lower the top layer of washers. These put some side tension on the ropes, pulling them so that the ropes that are holding the pot cannot slide sideways and drop the pot. It takes some fiddling, but after a few minutes, you should end up with something like this:
This design uses ropes in dynamic tension: once you have configured the ropes properly, you cannot let go of the ropes, or you will have to arrange them again. Be prepared to hang the pot from some temporary hanger if necessary.
Here are some shots of two of the pots after we finished hanging them:
We like the flexibility of being able to chose the rope color and the hanger dimensions, as well as knowing that we’re only 10 minutes away from making another one, should we need one. Note that you can try it with 6 or 10 ropes instead of 8, if you wish.