How to Make Your Own Easy Concrete Planters
Easy Concrete Garden Projects
Elegant, customized garden decor doesn't have to cost a fortune. You can create your own instead with concrete, which is durable, inexpensive, and easy to work with. One of the simplest projects to DIY is a pretty planter. Once finished, the foliage and bright blooms of your plants create vivid contrast with the textured gray container. Start your own by following these step-by-step instructions, excerpted from Concrete Garden Projects by Malin Nilsson and Camilla Arvidsson.
Oil the Larger Container First
To make a concrete planter, choose two containers to use as molds, such as cups and baking pans. Use a paintbrush to thoroughly coat the inside of the larger mold with cooking oil.
Oil the Outside of the Small Interior Container
Use a paintbrush to thoroughly coat the outside of the smaller mold with cooking oil.
Fill with Concrete
Fill the larger mold with concrete to about one inch from the top. Shake to eliminate air bubbles; level the surface.
Press the Small Mold Into the Large Mold
Push the smaller mold into the center of the concrete, leaving an adequate thickness for the bottom of the planter. How far you push in the interior container will affect the thickness of the walls of your finished concrete planter.
Weight the Mold
Place a weight in the smaller mold and let the concrete set for 24 to 48 hours.
Remove the Molds and Smooth the Concrete
Gently remove the molds. Smooth rough and sharp edges with a stone or file.
Make a Variety of Shapes with Concrete
Choose container shapes that complement your garden's style, and make sure plants will have a suitable container in which to thrive. Drill drainage holes into your planters after the concrete has set, or place a cork or piece of foam in the bottom when forming the pots. When you water concrete planters, they will darken, then lighten as they dry.
Put Concrete to Use in Multiple Ways
Because candleholders are usually small, they're good practice projects for working with concrete. Try using empty yogurt containers or margarine tubs as molds. Before the concrete for a candleholder sets, oil a candle and insert it in the concrete to get the right fit. (Clean the oil off the candle before lighting.)
Use Concrete to Accent Garden Style
DIY concrete planters are extremely adaptable in terms of style: Use fluted forms to fit with cottage-inspired garden furniture, or choose straight lines and geometric shapes for a more modernistic look. Plant with a few bulbs for early blooms in springtime; transition to colorful annuals in summer and autumn. Be sure to push your interior mold down far enough so the inside gives plants room to root. If you don't want to see the soil in the planter, use small rocks as a mulch to complement the concrete material.
Craft Large-Scale Pieces with Concrete
Once you've mastered smaller projects, try moving on to larger pieces, like a concrete bench. For a simple design, use plywood and framing pieces to make a mold. The finished bench will be heavy so it'll probably need a permanent site. Toss on a few cushions to use it for seating, or make it a spot to display potted plants.