Have you ever “played” with concrete?
You know, tried out all of those gorgeous inspiration photos from Pinterest?
Perhaps you remember my glove planter?
Well, I decided to give concrete/cement another go with a DIY cement planter- so let me show you what I did and then tell you what I learned (there are a few mistakes in these photographs).
First up, mix your concrete per the package instructions. Concrete isn’t expensive – I used Quickcrete which came in at $3.97 Cdn per 30kg bag – that’s 66lbs for you Americans – so it’s cheap, but it’s HEAVY. I mixed it up in a mop pail – and as long as you rinse it out immediately afterwards, you don’t have to worry about sacrificing a bucket.
I should tell you, if you’re going to play with concrete/cement, you should have a few projects in mind – it’s a large bag and while it’s not a lot of work, you’ll find a small amount goes a long way.
Ignore the saran wrap in the next photo – DON’T — USE SARAN WRAP (or any cellophane) – the concrete will release from the bowl without it. Using saran just means that you end up with scruffy plastic pieces sticking out of everywhere because they set inside the cement. UGH!
Line the bottom of your container with a layer of concrete. If I were to repeat this project, I would insert a few cut pieces of drinking straws at this point. Create small holes in the bottom of your DIY cement planter for drainage.
Next up, you’ll want to insert a container that is smaller than your first, and put something heavy inside it so that it won’t move.
Back-fill the larger bowl/container with your concrete mixture until it is full.
This step is important so don’t short cut – take the sanding pads off of your sander and hold the pad against the side of your container and turn on. All we’re looking for here is the vibration to settle the concrete mixture and remove any air bubbles. Move your sander – or whatever you decide to use as a vibrator (not to be confused with a vibrator – although that would work as well) around your bowl until you no longer see air bubbles surfacing.
Set your DIY cement planter outside – but not in direct sun – to dry. I’d give it a week to be safe, you don’t want to pop them out too soon or they will break. (Direct sun dries them too quickly, before the adhesive element in the cement/concrete has had time to fully cure)
Once they’ve had sufficient drying time, you can just tap your containers with a rubber mallet and the bowls/containers should pop right off. (The mixing bowls washed out easily and save for a few scratches, are still perfectly fine to use.)
Give them a couple/few more days to cure and you’re set to plant! I used a concrete drill bit and carefully drilled small holes in the bottom of my planters for drainage. Lining the bottom with pebbles will also help keep your roots from rotting in moisture, so it’s up to you.
This is the DIY cement planter that was in the saran wrapped dish – I’ve turned it to hide the worst parts, but you can see, off to the left, bits of plastic hanging from the sides.
This is the “good version” that I gave to my friend Sherri:
These will work for succulents, as long as you keep water out.
The other DIY cement planter I added a bit of detailing to with some outdoor paint.
If you don’t leave them out to freeze in the winter – as with any planter – these will last for years.
So remember; don’t use cellophane on your vibrator.
Oops, that should be don’t use cellophane OR your vibrator – although, as a general rule, both apply.
Supplies (and check out these adorable concrete molds!):
Have a great one!