I spent a lot of time in my garden last week. Earth day was on my mind, and there's just something about a sunny day after a string o' gloomy ones that really makes me want to dig around in the garden and plant stuff. After I put a few tomatoe and pepper plants in the ground, I was ready to do a bit of container gardening- and not just using any ol' containers, I wanted to make my own concrete planters.
I'd been thinking about making concrete planters for a long time. If my husband asked me why we were stock-piling empty fruit juice, yogurt, take-out, and really, just about any plastic vessel meant for single-use, I'd tell him it was for "a project". Last week, I finally made good on that promise.
To make your own concrete planters, you will need:
A bag of concrete (I used a 10lb bag)
Perlite (to make the concrete a bit less heavy when dry)
Assorted plastic containers with relatively straight walls, to shape the pots
A box cutter or X-Acto Blade
A sturdy stick or large twig for mixing
I started by collecting all of my reserved plastic containers, cutting any tapered tops off and then nesting smaller plastic containers inside larger ones (ideally, leaving about a half an inch of space between the two.)
Next, I made the concrete (in my bucket) per the directions on the bag- this used a bit of sand, water and perlite, and my trusty all-purpose stick for mixin'!
I worked quickly, thinking about how cement trucks rotate to keep the gray sludge from hardening. I poured the wet concrete into my orange juice container and filled it about half way. The amount you pour in, will depend on how large your inner container is. My inner plastic container was so large, that it left only about 1/3 inch between the outer plastic and the inner plastic walls. And note that when you push that smaller plastic container into the wet concrete, you want to keep about 1/2 inch of concrete UNDER the inner plastic pot. A flimsy foundation will contribute to your concrete planter falling apart!
When the first container was filled, I used the rest of the wet concrete to fill my other three containers. I ended up using (clockwise from the top right: A Crystal Geyser 1 gallon water bottle with a large yogurt container inside it, a 1- gallon Tropicana OJ container with a 64oz Ocean Spray cranberry juice inside, a 1-quart Tropicana OJ bottle with another large yogurt container inside, and finally a Greek yogurt container with a small frosting container inside of it.
I let the concrete harden overnight and the next morning I bent, pulled, tugged and cut out the center plastic containers to expose the interiors of my concrete pots
When all of the plastic containers had been removed from the centers of my planters, I noticed that A.) one of my containers (the Ocean Spray 64-ouncer) had a shape in it that caused a large hump in the base of my pot. Not only did I NOT want that, I also HATE pots that do not have drainage holes. Planters NEED drainage holes. Luckily, my concrete had not fully set, so I took a screw driver, and scraped away the hump shape.
Then, using that same screwdriver, I hand-drilled a single hole in the base of each (not-quite dry) concrete pot.I was so excited about my concrete pots! I couldn't wait to see them! In fact, I was a bit too anxious. I pulled off the outer plastic container a bit too soon...
...and the entire thing cracked and crumbled in my hands. Lame. I went inside, made a cup of tea, and should have decided to let my remaining 3 pots cure in the sun for another day before I removed the outer plastic containers.But after my tea, I came back outside and SO CAREFULLY, removed the plastic from the last three pots.
I'm actually glad I did, because my favorite pot (the 1-quart OJ) had a teeny trace of the logo still imprinted on the side of it, and since the concrete wasn't quite dry, I was able to scrape it away with the backside of my thumb nail.
I let all three of my concrete pots cure completely (three days in the sun on the driveway to be SURE they were fully dry) and then...
My 1-quart OJ container had transformed into a modern succulent planter!
My gallon-sized OJ was now a long and low carnivorous plant container!
And my 1-gallon Crystal Geyser water bottle was now a textured pot for some bright (& edible) nasturtium flowers.
I placed my concrete planters around the garden. I think I'm going to have to invest in a MUCH larger bag of concrete soon because I cannot WAIT to do this craft again! I loved the results and hope you do too! Will you be making these concrete planters for your balcony, porch or garden?