Photos by Jeff Olson
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I discovered the Lyfe levitating planter ($229) last year and thought I could make my own for less. I bought a cheap electromagnet on Amazon and posted my first creation on Reddit.

Everyone thought it was pretty cool, but I wasn’t satisfied with the levitation distance and stability of that version, so I set out to find the manufacturer of the same magnet used in the Lyfe planter.

It’s simply a larger magnet that levitates higher and is more stable in the air.

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Here’s how to build your own:

1. Create Opening for Power Supply

Drill a ½” hole in the back of the cigar box for the power cord to feed through.

2. Place Base and Plug

Connect the power cord to the electromagnet base, and close the box. If the cigar box is too deep, you should raise the electromagnet up higher so it is as close as possible to the lid. I cut out a piece of MDF and glued it to the bottom of the cigar box to close the distance.

3. Remove Can Top

Cut the top off of the old steel beer can using a kitchen can opener.

4. Attach Magnet Disc

Stick the levitation disc magnet to the bottom of the can. With a steel can, there’s no need for glue since the magnet will hold tight. If you use another container, you’ll need to glue the levitation magnet to the bottom.

CAUTION: Do not levitate the disc without placing some sort of padding over the electromagnet base (like your cigar box lid). The exposed magnets can be damaged if they slam directly into each other.

5. Add Your Greenery

Place your air plant inside your planter.

Use It

It can be a little tricky to find the levitation sweet spot, but with practice it becomes easy. Make sure the base is plugged in, and keep metal objects away so as not to interfere with the magnet. Hold the magnetic disc about 15cm (6″) above the base. Lower the disc with both hands directly over the center of the base, keeping it level until you feel the upward magnetic force supporting the weight of the disc. Gently let go, keeping it centered and level.

If it falls, simply lift the disc up and try again. Expect that it will take several attempts and may require some practice to master.

Your hover planter will gently spin for hours, allowing the air plant to receive 360° of sunlight.

The magnet I used is completely silent; there’s absolutely no hum or electronic noise. More importantly, it just looks cool!