How to make a DIY concrete planter

how to make a DIY concrete planter

I love concrete planters and I’ve been meaning to make some for a while now. So with Mother’s Day just around the corner, I thought what a great time to show you how to make a DIY concrete planter¬†for a gift. I went with¬†the simple double-cup design to keep it easy. They have to be one of the cheapest, and most elegant, homemade gifts around!

There are lots of great designs out there and the new trend seems to be the marbled concrete design which I have to admit looks great. I will have to give that a go sometime soon. I’m also loving the gold pot inserts on these planters.

marbled concrete plant pots

I also plan to try out these cute concrete candle holders. I think they would make the perfect birthday gift or outdoor table settings. The pattern inserts on these are just so elegant.

concrete candle holders

So, is working with concrete hard? No, not really. Concrete is actually a pretty easy medium to use. Getting the right consistency mix does take practice, and some of the more refined finishes use specialist concrete mix. But you can get a great result from common hardware store brands, and concreted can be sanded and polished for a finer finish. That said, you don’t want to be too concerned about organic pock marks in the finished product as it just adds to the uniqueness of your gift.

We purchased our concrete¬†from Bunnings. If you’re on a deadline you can go for a¬†quick dry cement. But you’ll get a better finish with a longer setting concrete. We chose one that took 7 days to set completely, and had a finer grade of stone and sand in it.

Remember that concrete dust is harmful. So make sure that you use gloves, a mask and eye protection when mixing, pouring or sanding the concrete.

How to make a DIY concrete planter

What you need

1 large plastic cup
1 small plastic cup
Cement
Spray oil
A bucket for mixing the cement in

To decorate we used

Resene test pots in Dark Knight, Heartbreaker and Gelato.
A paint brust
Washi tape

What to do

Mix up the concrete according to the instructions on the bag. You can make up a slightly wetter mix than if you were going to pour a slab (don’t overdo the water though!). Make sure that you combine the water with the mix very slowly (unless you’re using quick dry cement!), so that you don’t incorporate too much air in the mix. Try and fold the mix, as if you were folding in cream.

Spray the inside of your biggest cup with oil and the outside of your smallest cup. This will help with removing the pot once the cement is set.

Pour some of the concrete into the biggest cup. You will only need to fill it about 3/4 fill. Try and scoop the gravel and sand from the bottom of your mix into each cup first. This prevents you from just pouring the liquid from the top of the bucket. Once your cups have a good amount of mix in them, you can scoop/pour the more liquidy part in. Gently stir the mix in each cup.

Place the small¬†cup inside the big cup and put some weights in to weigh it down. I used my husband’s fishing sinkers.

how to make a concrete pot cups

Let the cement set outside according to the instructions on the bag. Your planters should take a few days to cure completely. You can now remove the cups.

To decorate 

To decorate your DIY concrete planters, first decide on your design. I always find Pinterest to be a big help here for inspiration.

Use washi, or painters, tape to tape off your pattern. Make sure the edges are pressed down firmly to stop any paint from leaking under the tape.

How to tape off a concrete planter

Once you have your design taped off, apply at least 2 coats of paint. I think 3 coats will bring out the best colour result though as concrete is very porous.

Now all that’s left for you to do is find the perfect little plant for your planter. The concrete is quite porous, so a lot of water will evaporate away from your plant. Choose plants that will cope with this environment. Think succulents, cactus and some herbs work very well.

We decided to take a walk to the beach and grab a cutting from the masses of horokaka, or ice plant, succulents we have growing there. We raided our friends garden for a cutting of the money tree succulent!

how to make a concrete plant pot

Check out our Mother’s Day article for more great homemade gift ideas for Mum. You might also want to make your own gift card to go along with your DIY concrete planter.

Alayna Flighty

Alayna lives in Pukerua Bay with her husband and two beautiful children. She's a qualified primary school teacher with a passion for the arts. Alayna believes the arts are a fundamental building block for children. When children engage with the arts they develop their language, fine motor and problem-solving skills, and improve their overall confidence.

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