DIY CEMENT PLANTERS

Crop_DIY Cement Planter Tutorial | Molly & The Wolf

It’s hard to imagine how much enjoyment you can get out of a 25 kilogram bag of cement.

Firstly, at £6.50 a bag I had no idea how cheap it was!  Secondly, at 25 kilos a bag I had no idea how heavy it was … It’s a wonder I ever managed to get this whopper out of the shop and into the car, and the look of horror on Jason’s face when I asked if he’d lug it to the flat was priceless.  Hadn’t I seen the 5 kilo bag?  No!  All I can say is that I’d seen some fun looking cement tutorials online and got a little over excited.  I’ve really loved this month’s project, I’ve whipped up these snazzy cement planters AND a cement stool. If you want to find out how to make your own, read on …

 

DIY CEMENT PLANTER TUTORIAL

INGREDIENTS:

Water  |  Portland Cement in Grey or White  |  Vermiculite   |   Peat Moss / Spaghnum Moss

YOU’LL ALSO NEED:

1 x Bucket or large mixing jug  |  1 x Stick or spoon for stirring  |  An array of disposable food containers for the moulds*  |  Sand

* You’ll need two containers for each planter that you’re going to make: One larger container to pour the cement into and a second smaller container that will make the hole in the middle of your planter.

FOR DECORATING:

Masking Tape | Sandpaper | Rust-Oleum Furniture Paint | Rust-Oleum Finishing Wax | Paintbrushes

DIY Cement Planter Tutorial | Planter Comparison | Molly & The Wolf

Before starting my planters I looked at a number of online tutorials, but the problem was that each suggested a different ratio of water / cement / vermiculite / moss.

The vermiculite and moss make for a lighter weight planter and more interesting finish.  It’s really a case of experimenting to get the finish you’re looking for … in fact it’s quite good if some don’t turn out quite right as when it comes to decorating you’ll then have something to try paint effects and ideas on before you commit to the real thing!

To give you an idea, I used the following ratios for the planters above…

Left: 1 part cement / 1 part vermiculite / 1 part water
Middle: 1 part cement / 2 parts vermiculite / 1 part water
Right: 1 part cement / 1 part vermiculite / 1 part spaghnum moss / 1 part water

  

STEP 1:  CHOOSING THE MOULD.

For each planter you will need two disposable containers:  One larger container to pour the cement into, and a second smaller container that will make the hole in the middle of your planter.

Work out how many planters you’re going to make, and which containers you’re going to use to make each one.  If you’re using a cardboard container, be sure to tape over any holes or gaps with gaffer tape so that the wet cement can’t escape.

 

STEP 2:  COMBINING THE DRY INGREDIENTS

Decide on your cement / vermiculite / spaghnum moss ratio.

Measure them out into individual containers – I’d suggest starting with 1 part cement, 1 part vermiculite, 1 part spaghnum moss.

Roughly chop up the spaghnum moss into smaller pieces with a pair of scissors otherwise it doesn’t mix properly.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bucket or plastic jug.

 

STEP 3: ADDING WATER

Measure out 1 part water (equal to whatever measurement you’re using for the cement)

Add the water bit by bit to the dry ingredients stirring it as you go – you’re aiming for a crunchy peanut butter consistency, mine looked like this:

DIY Cement Planter Tutorial | Cement Consistency | Molly & The Wolf

If you add too much water, don’t worry, you can always add a bit more cement to toughen it up a bit and vice versa.

 

STEP 4:  FILLING YOUR MOULDS WITH CONCRETE

Spoon your mixture into one of your larger containers (about half way up) and then push the smaller container inside it.

DIY Cement Planter Tutorial | Planter Mould | Molly & The Wolf

If you’ve not put in enough cement, whip out the smaller container and add more.  Now fill the inner mould with sand or something heavy to keep it in place.

At this point you’ve got a couple of decisions to make:

Do you want your planter to have little holes on the surface?  If yes, leave it as it is, if not, give the container a really good tap/beating all round to get rid of the air bubbles.

Do you want a level top to your planter?  If yes, level off the top and put the excess cement mixture back in your bucket.  If not, leave it as it is.

Repeat until all your containers are filled / you run out of your mixture.

 

STEP 5:  CURING STAGE 1  (TWO DAYS)

Put each of your plastic containers in a plastic bag and tie them up.  Now leave them to dry for two days.

 

STEP 6:  CURING STAGE 2 (TEN DAYS)

Extreme patience is now required!

Remove the planters from their moulds – some will need easing out by cutting the packaging, others will just slip out.

Sit the planters on a some newspaper and leave them to cure for a further ten days.

This is worth it I promise!  When i first took my planters out of their moulds I was a bit miffed to see how dark a grey they were – not at all what i was expecting or hoping for, however, over the ten days they completely changed in colour as they slowly dried out.  Phew!

STEP 7: DECORATING YOUR PLANTER

There are all sorts of ways your can decorate your planter, you might also love the natural way it looks and not want to touch it.

After much deliberation I decided to partially paint mine…

DIY Cement Planter Tutorial | Partially Painted Planter | Molly & The Wolf

I used Rust-Oleum paints as I love the chalky finish, they’re also specifically made to grip onto all sorts of things from wood right through to ceramics, and it dries really quickly.  You can buy them in a pot or a spray can – I went for the pots as they were cheaper.

To get the neat edge I used masking tape.  I then lightly sanded the areas I wanted to paint.  To create the distressed look I added one coat of dark paint, followed by one coat of lighter colour paint and then a good rub down with sandpaper once it was dry.

To seal the paint use Rust-Oleum’s finishing wax.

STEP 9:  CHOOSING YOUR PLANTS
I love an excuse to go plant shopping.  My favourite places for a spot of plant shopping are Conservatory Archives in Hackney, Geo Fleur in Stratford or Columbia Road Flower Market, but you can obviously go anywhere!
A visit to Columbia Road Flower Market | Molly & The Wolf
I hope you love making these as much as I have and I’d LOVE to know how you get on.
Share images of your cement success using the hashtag #MadeWithMolly and tag us @mollyandthewolf so that I can see!

Oh yes…and if you find yourself with a wee bit too much cement left over, here’s another cool thing you can make:

Does it work?  Yes!

I used a mixture of cement, vermiculite and water instead of concrete mix, and bought a long piece of 2.5cm diameter dowel from my local builders merchant for the legs…

Here’s the grand unveiling:

  • Laura
    April 28, 2017

    Love it Moll, these are brilliant. Can you get all the equipment quite easily, like in a regular hardware store or big b&q?

    • Molly
      Laura
      April 28, 2017

      Thanks Fyfy! Yes – I got everything in B&Q / my local hardware store except for the spaghnum moss … although B&Q sometimes have ‘peat moss’ in stock which can be used instead. Also, if you can’t find it, the moss isn’t 100% essential. Excited to see what you make! xx

  • Tilly
    May 15, 2017

    Looking forward to making some of these lovely pots today, will let you know how I get on. Have you got any tips on making them with holes in the bottom so water can pass through?

    • Molly Wemyss
      Tilly
      May 15, 2017

      That’s so exciting! I can’t wait to see them. I haven’t made drainage holes myself as I’ve only been using them for succulents and cacti (I take them out to water them every two weeks and then pop them back in again), but some tutorials have shown drilling a hole in the bottom of the planter using a masonry drill bit… would love to know how you get on with this. Good luck Tills xx

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