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Tillandsia Wall Fountain - Simple DIY Air Plant Display

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Tillandsia Wall Fountain - Simple DIY Air Plant Display
DIY Air Plant Display

The astonishing array of tillandsia forms and colors, together with their unusual care needs, make air plant display a wide open set of options, limited only by your creativity and sense of adventure. Although my crafting skills are quite limited, I always want to play with new ideas and ways to display my air plants. This was a fun and simple project with a modern vibe and a soft core industrial look.

You will need:

  • 3 PVC elbows, 1/2 or 3/4 inch (I used 1/2 inch, but for plants this large, 3/4 would have been better)
  • 1 piece of wood or MDF cut to size and sanded (used here, 3.5" x 19")
  • wood dowel rod sized to fit inside the elbows
  • sand paper
  • paint for the board
  • paint for the PVC
  • hot glue gun

 PVC elbows for diy tillandsia display

PVC is the type of pipe your sprinklers are made from. I used PVC elbows, though you could use copper for this project so long as you spray it with a clear sealant like Quick Seal. The sealant prevents the copper from degrading, which can be toxic for air plants. The sealant also keeps the copper clean and bright. I used 1/2 inch PVC elbows, but for plants the size of those in the photos, 3/4 inch elbows would have been better.

If you are using PVC, sand the entire surface - including inside both ends - with a rough sand paper, so the spray paint will adhere well. I selected a champagne gold spray.

MDF board and spray paint for air plant display DIY project

I had a scrap piece of MDF board, which was nice, because it was already super smooth and primed.  I selected this cream colored faux stone spray for the base of my display. Cut the board or wood to suit your project and space - mine was made at 19" x 3.5".  The texture is very cool, but this was my first time working with this type of spray. Take the time for several light coats rather than trying for a lot of coverage in one or two coats. Evenly apply the spray paint to all surfaces of your board and let dry well between coats.

measuring for diy air plant display

Carefully measure the spacing of the elbows from the bottom edge and from the side edged and the other elbows.  Judge the spacing by eye, and set the elbows in place, adjusting them until you have an arrangement you like.  Then measure to ensure the final look will be symmetrical and level.

Decide which end will be toward the bottom, and which will point up. Copper pipe fittings don't seem to have this, but the PVC elbows are shaped a bit different at each end. So be certain your elbows are all facing the same direction.

Fit the piece of wooden dowel rod inside the bottom opening in the elbow. It should fit flush with the end of the pipe.  Using your hot glue gun, glue the dowel piece into place. This ensures you have a broad, flat space to glue the elbow to the board so it will attach well.

DIY air plant display

Glue the elbows in place, and tuck your air plants into the openings at the top! No need to glue them into place - this way, they can be easily removed for watering, and put back into place!

I wish now I had used colors with greater contrast, though in person, this is a pretty cream and champagne gold. But imagine it with a glossy black foundation, and a metallic copper - or genuine copper elbows (use sealant). Wouldn't that be striking? Or maybe a jade green board and a bright, brass trio of fixtures - wouldn't that be cool? I will definitely make more of these and try the different color combinations.

DIY air plant display completed and mounted on the wall

I really like the way this turned out - and trying a few more color combinations and/or different pipe fixture lay out is a must for me. But then, I didn't know what to call it... "pipe and board tillandsia wall display something...? A co-worker said he thought the elbows looked like upside down spigots, and the air plants sort of like a spray of water, so here it is  - Tillandsia Wall Fountain!  :)  What do you think? I would love to hear about your favorite ways to display your air plants. Please take a moment to leave a comment and let me know!

Happy gardening!

tillandsia air plant display diy

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  • Kathleen McCarthy