Concrete has a charm all of its own and is becoming more and more commonplace in both home and garden design. DIY projects with concrete are very suitable for beginners, as they are so simple to master and the materials are wonderfully cost-effective, so before you splurge on a designer planter or pot, why not have a go at making s a few yourself? Your interior designer will be blown away by your creativity, as will everybody else!
Today, we are going to walk you through a step-by-step guide for making concrete plant pots. In just six easy steps, you can create unique planting buckets of any shape and size, that will finish your home and garden to absolute perfection, and if you don't like the look of just gray concrete, why not think about adding decorative shells or broken glass to your mix? Just be sure to account for sharp edges if you do!
Whether you want to make small pots for your growing cacti collection or large tubs for the garden, with our DIY guide, you'll be enjoying stunning results after an afternoon of fun crafting, so without further ado, what do you need for a do it yourself concrete planter project?
Before you start, you need:
- Concrete screed (ready-mixed or ready-to-mix, from your local hardware store)
- Kitchen or working gloves
- Paraffin oil or other lubricant
- Molds or cartons and scissors for making molds
- A large bucket or wheelbarrow for mixing
- Glass flakes, glass beads, shells or pebbles, if wanted
- Plastic film or plastic bag
Got everything you need? Then let's get crafting!
To make any DIY concrete planter or pot, you need an outer and an inner mold. Both should have the same shape, but be different in size. The smaller mold should fit directly into the larger, leaving around 5cm of space between the two forms. This gap is what will be filled with concrete, so the width is important! You need to make sure you will like the end result! If you want to make a particularly large concrete planter, with dimensions of more than 60cm in height and width, make sure that the thickness of the concrete is at least 7.5cm, for stability.
If you don't have special molds ready to use, you can actually make your own, from cardboard. Glass, plastic, cardboard, stainless steel or styrofoam are all suitable materials to make a concrete mold from, so experiment with what you like best!
The inside of the molds that will come into contact with the concrete need to be well lubricated, so this is where your paraffin oil or other chosen lubricant comes into play. This will make it easier for you later to release the concrete pot from the mold. If you use a glass mold, this should help you to avoid the glass breaking when you remove the planter. Anything greasy should work well and some people have even been known to use kitchen oils, such as olive and sunflower, as mold lubricants.
Always protect your hands when working with concrete, as it can actually cause serious burns, if left on the skin too long. This is why we insist that you use gloves!
Mix your concrete, according to the manufacturer's instructions, in a bucket or in a wheelbarrow. We recommend using a high-strength compound. Pour your concrete base into the bucket or wheelbarrow, gradually adding the water, while stirring constantly. You might need a helper for this! It is at this point that you can add any decorative elements that you want to, so they set inside your do it yourself concrete planter.
Now let's get to the casting! That's when you can really start to see that you will end up with a pot made from concrete, after all!
Pour the concrete mixture slowly and evenly into larger mold. Don't worry if you want holes in the bottom, for drainage, as you can drill them later, once the planter is totally dry. Smooth the concrete with a spatula or a masonry trowel and then, push your smaller mold into already poured concrete mix. Press until you reach the thickness you want (while bearing in mind that the bottom and walls of the pot should have approximately the same thickness). The base can be slightly thicker than the walls, but your plant pot needs to be stable.
Now, the remaining concrete is poured into the gap between the two molds. Pour to the top and then gently tap the molds onto a hard surface, to level the mixture and release any air bubbles.
This is the easiest step, as all you need is some patience! Check the curing times on your concrete mix packaging, but generally, you should expect to cover your planter with plastic and then leave to cure for around 36 hours. Quickset concrete will take significantly less time, but always be sure!
When you think it's time to remove your pot from the mold, use a sharp knife and see if you can gently insert the tip into your pot. If you can, it needs to dry a little more, but f not, you should be good to go.
When the concrete is completely dry, you can slowly release your plant pot from the mold. Having lubricated your molds, they should peel away easily and then, you can use a fine grit sandpaper to just smooth your pot perfectly.
The planter should then be left to dry thoroughly for a whole week. Once a day, you should rub the plant pot with a wet sponge or cloth until the color is darkened. If you need to add drainage hole, you can do so after a further two days, just to be sure that the material is solid enough to take the impact.
Done! Now you can be the envy of the neighborhood!
For more cool DIY ideas, take a look at this article: 21 upcycling projects you'll want to try your hand at.