DIY Concrete Planters

Oh man, I am getting SO excited for tomorrow's big event! Local friends, are you coming to the Phoenix Garden Party that The Home Depot is putting on, hosted by yours truly? If you're going to be anywhere near the Glendale Home Depot tomorrow (Saturday) starting at 1 pm, please drop by! The event is going to be amazing and so fun (and it's FREE!). If you have a minute to RSVP, feel free to click on over here, but it's not totally necessary. We would love to see any and all of you! I hope you can make it.

 photo 282971_10152703850900031_854044833_n.jpg

To get myself all geared up for the big party tomorrow, I've been doing some gardening projects around my house. You all know I've been dying to try a DIY concrete planter for a while now. Well, this was the week! I felt the call of the DIY and I answered it with a big ol' bag of concrete.

 photo DIYCONCRETEPLANTERSLGN.jpg

So before I jump in to the tutorial, a little word to the wise - you might as well make five (or ten!) planters if you're going to the trouble (and mess) to make one. It's only a marginal amount of more work to make multiples, and I think these would make really cool hostess or house warming gifts! So why not?

Here's the pretty simple how-to:


Most importantly, you'll need a bag of this inexpensive, great and easy-to-mix concrete (huge thanks to my local Home Depot guy for recommending this particular brand. Dude knew his stuff!):

 photo IMG_2155.jpg

And you'll need a lot of PLASTIC containers (metal will work - I used several - but wow, what a headache!). A little trip to my closest Goodwill store was pretty fruitful for container gathering!

 photo cIMG_3300.jpg

The trick is to find containers that have an interesting shape or pattern on the inside, so that the outside of your planter will have a cool imprint or shape. You'll also want to find more simple containers that fit inside the bigger outer containers, but that leave at least an inch or two gap between the two.

 photo IMG_2160.jpg

Before you start, you'll probably want to wash all the containers and then give the insides a brushing of any type of oil or Pam you have on hand (this helps the concrete pop out easier later).

 photo IMG_2175.jpg

Then it's time to mix the concrete, which might feel mildly terrifying, but I promise it's super easy. You'll want a garden trowel and long mixing utensil (I used an old metal serving spoon) and a 2.5 gallon bucket for mixing the concrete. Don't forget to put everything on a big tarp or heavy drop cloth. This is definitely an outdoor project, and gloves and masks are a must.

 photo IMG_2187.jpg

You add concrete to water (or water to concrete) with the trowel, stirring, stirring, stirring, until you get something close to pudding consistency. This brand of concrete is quick set, so pretty much by the time it's completely mixed (lump-free), it's ready to be poured.

 photo IMG_2197.jpg

You'll need to pour the bottoms of the planters first. If you want a drainage hole, stick in a dowel or cut a piece of cardboard tubing down like we did to the exact depth you want for the bottom of your planter, and pour concrete around that.

 photo IMG_2206.jpg

With this brand of concrete, which dries unbelievably fast, you'll have to work quickly. Once the bottoms are poured, you put the inner container in the outer container, resting on top of your drainage hole form. And then while holding the inner container centered and in place, pour concrete in the space between the inner and outer containers to make the side walls of your planter. You can use a cup to help pour the concrete in, if needed.

 photo IMG_2217.jpg

Sort of shimmying the container after pouring helps the concrete settle and smooth out beautifully. And a couple of soft drops on the table or ground helps air bubbles come to the surface. This specific concrete will be dry in, like, an hour or less (but be careful - it gets crazy HOT while it's curing!). The planters will pretty much just plop right out of the container molds, especially the plastic ones. It's awesome.

 photo IMG_2276.jpg

 photo IMG_2344.jpg

The concrete is a really pale gray right now, but I know it will weather over time.

 photo IMG_2289.jpg

These planters were both made with metal outer containers. The spiral one was a special sort of nightmare to work out of the mold! YIKES. But kind of cool right? The one on the left was made with a colander!

 photo cIMG_2354.jpg

This one was made from the purple plastic container and it could not have been easier to get out! Easy breezy.

 photo IMG_2423.jpg

I started to get experimental after a few of the more simple planters. For one shallow container mold, I hot glued palm fronds to the sides of the outer container.

 photo IMG_3302.jpg

 photo IMG_2171.jpg

I love how organic and textural the pattern is! 

 photo IMG_2418.jpg

 photo IMG_2400.jpg

I found two glass spheres at Goodwill too and thought they would work well for making concrete garden sculptures. We filled one up all the way and a second one up about 3/4 of the way.

 photo IMG_3313.jpg

When they were dry, we put them in a plastic bag and chipped off the glass.

 photo IMG_2229.jpg

I love them and I want to make a giant one!

 photo IMG_2305.jpg

With the left over concrete in the bucket that was starting to dry up, I rolled out little balls and flattened one side before they dried.

 photo IMG_2231.jpg

I put a little construction adhesive on the flat sides and glued the little nubbins on to one of the planters we made from a plastic popcorn container. 

 photo IMG_2235.jpg

It's sort of funky, and I like it. :)

 photo IMG_2466.jpg

Everyone should have a concrete planter with nubbins. YOLO.

 photo IMG_2446.jpg

If you're lucky enough to live in a place that actually gets moisture (slow single tear for myself), you can grow moss on your concrete planters with a little bit of moss from your yard thrown in a blender with buttermilk for a sec. You paint the mixture on the planters and the moss should grow pretty fast. I tried this in Brooklyn and was surprised at how well it worked on some too-new terracotta pots we had on the back porch.

 photo IMG_2256.jpg

Anyway, fun, right? I'm sort of feeling like concrete is my jam now. I want to concrete all the things.

33 comments:

Vixi said...

So beautiful and creative! I'm in love with this DIY idea <3

http://hellovixi.blogspot.com/

Barbie said...

Really fabulous! Another score for Team Jenny. :)

House of Pemberley said...

They look great! And really make me want to go out and make a few! Great job! Good luck at your event tomorrow.

Cathy Wall said...

Oh. my. word. What fun and cleverness! Love these guys and am inspired to create my own!

silly6 said...

How many small planters do you think you could get from one bag of cement? I'm thinking this would be fun for a combined church activity for the women and teenage girls.

Julie, Creative Little House said...

The palm planter is my favorite! I'm wanting to make a fireplace hearth with concrete someday!

liz said...

Love how the effect is cute, industrial and shabby all at the same time. Maybe a thick coating of vaseline would work better for coating the inside of the moulds?

jenny k said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jenny k said...

You are so creative!!!! Wonderful idea. Thank you!

Christa Tubach said...

Such a fun idea! They look fantastic!

xo
Christa
www.gardeniasandmint.wordpress.com

caitlin said...

I wonder if someone has experimented with coloring the concrete recently? Back in the 40's, Surrealist Edward James built an unbelievable concrete "garden" in the interior of Mexico and experimented with coloring (Google Xilitla Mexico images). I visited in the early '90's. Back then, it was difficult to get to and the locals were forever beating back the encroaching jungle but it was still there as was much of the color. It's an inspirational site if you ever get down there (or have a chance to see the pictures).

Emily McCauley said...

"YOLO" and "concrete all the things", love it! Yes I think I will!

Kari de Lavenne said...

Love these Jenny! My fave is the palm print. I have some purchased /glazed concrete planters from Anthro and my plants THRIVE in them (I think because the concrete keeps the roots moist). A hit inside and out.

Kari de Lavenne said...

Love these Jenny! My fave is the palm print. I have some purchased /glazed concrete planters from Anthro and my plants THRIVE in them (I think because the concrete keeps the roots moist). A hit inside and out.

Kari de Lavenne said...

Love these Jenny! My fave is the palm print. I have some purchased /glazed concrete planters from Anthro and my plants THRIVE in them (I think because the concrete keeps the roots moist). A hit inside and out.

Lily L-M said...

Woah, these are awesome, and look like so much fun to make!

xo Lily
http://whilemyboyfriendsaway.blogspot.com/

zben said...

Ooooh! Love. I have been planting up a storm and will have to try this. Paint those nubbins gold! Or gold leaf them!

Nicole said...

LOVE these! I'm going to go container hunting today so I can try it out!

Han @ Brooklyn DIY Designs said...

It's gonna rain this weekend here in nyc, if not, I would probably be working out in the garden and tempted to give this a dry.
Thanks for the inspiration!

A Modern Rustic Home, Paige McEwen said...

You are incredible! How do you find time to do sooo much!! So impressive!!

Jolene Crites said...

I love this every bit as much now as I did when I first saw this idea! Especially the spheres. That is such a great DIY idea. Your concrete nubbins are adorable - kind of like pom-poms! Great idea with the palm fronds - it make a very cool pot. Great job!

{Hi Sugarplum!} said...

I've been itching to make one of these...thanks for the tips! And I'm hosting the Dallas Garden Party...so excited to hear how yours goes!

Melissa said...

concrete all the things haha, loved this diy!

Joanna @ thenestbook said...

These are awesome Jenny! Your blog inspires me to no end. These are on my current to do list. I too have a deep love for all things concrete. ;)

Speaking of concrete, I did our kitchen counters using the Ardex awhile back and they turned out amazing! They work perfectly in a kitchen. Check them out here:

http://www.thenestbook.com/2014/03/25/diy-idea-concrete-kitchen-counters/

Joanna

Jess rey said...

I love how creative you are! This looks like a fun project that can spruce up any garden.
Domicile37.blogspot.com

Gwen, The Makerista said...

I so want to try this. We have a really nice 2 level deck that my husband built, and I wish it was just covered in planters, but they can be so expensive. Great alternative.

Amanda said...

Omg those nubbins... you my dear have created a concrete dalek! Next step, world domination? ;)

Great job on the planters!

Kathleen Mapson said...

These are super awesome! The one with the palm leaves....ahhhh...my absolute favorite. Love, love, love! Thanks so much for sharing!

VivaCindy said...

I did this last summer and I love how they turned out. But I definitely want to do it again with bigger pieces mine were small tabletop planters...I love the spheres!
http://cindyjespinoza.blogspot.com/2013/06/diy-cement-planters.html

Maggie Main said...

You're posts are extraordinary! You inspire me so much! Thank you so much for sharing all you do :) xx

Melissa said...

You blow my mind! This is AWESOME!!! I can't wait to try it and thanks so much for the moss tip!!!

How did you become such a DIY genius!?

Nathan Stone said...

Hi
Awesome ! i really found very informative article here and bookmarked this blog. Thank youSanta Barbara Green building

Danika Herrick said...

Genius, girl.. just genius! Nubs are the best!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails