The Self Life took on a Do-It-Yourself Pinterest challenge and landed on DIY Concrete Planters; we couldn’t be more thrilled that they did! The result was easy-enough instructions and some great tips for the rest of us!
We couldn’t get to the hardware store fast enough to mix up some cement of our own and get started.
Please click here to visit The Self Life and see the instructions that we followed!
Reviewer #1 - Amanda
Mission: Attempt a DIY medium I have never even thought of working with – cement – to create an adorable home for some sweet little succulents.
- I wasn’t able to locate the Sakrete brand that Elisa used so I went with the closest thing they had at Home Depot, which was Quikrete Quik Set Cement.
- I scrounged up a few random sized containers and Solo Cups.
- Picked up some little succulent cuties while grabbing the Quikrete.
Tips & Tricks Learned:
Also, I wished I would have let it harden for another few hours. It seemed like it was not completely dry on the bottom. Once I got them out I realized the largest container was a great size but I did not fill it high enough and didn’t push the cup low enough. Sadly that one may need to be a candle holder or a giant paper weight!
Oh, and use a sturdy spoon. My plastic number didn’t hold up well!
The cement is a really cool look. The texture is very industrial and the color is fantastic.
Practice. Practice. Practice. Not so much a con as it is a “to-do” for next time. Definitely make sure you fill your container high enough so you have enough space for your plant.
Tip: use a clear solo cup instead of colored so you can see how deep your hole will be.
I will definitely be making these again. I feel like I have nailed down the “what-went-wrong” and would love to make a larger pot and maybe paint it partially or something. Plus I have about half the container left over so I HAVE to do some kind of cement project.
Reviewer #2 – Sarah
Mission: To try my hand at using cement in a DIY project!
We set up shop in Maren’s kitchen – placing old towels all over her counter top before beginning.
Maren is always prepared and she had tons of plastic containers for use as well as a watering can for water.
- I had brought a gallon ice cream container to use for my pot and borrowed one of Maren’s smaller ones for the inside inset.
I began by filling my container about half-full with cement and then added the necessary amount of water and started stirring. This is when the stress set in. Knowing we had a limited amount of time to mix this before it began to set drained me. It was hard work!
After I had it mixed I placed the plastic container for the inset in and pushed it down about 3” into the cement. I then used the spoon to smooth out the top and let it sit until the next day.
Once it was dry, I pulled the inset container out and popped the cement planter out of the gallon container. I decided to not use sandpaper to smooth out the top as I really like the rough, natural look of it. I then transplanted my orchid into the pot and I really hope it continues to thrive in there!
Tips & Tricks Learned:
Have your water handy in a watering can – this way it is at the ready if you need to thin out your cement mix.
Use mixing utensils that you don’t mind end up in the garbage as they get pretty gunked up during the process.
Very minimal items needed to create these and they turn out darling!
A little intense during the process of mixing – we used quick set cement and it got us a bit fired up to be speedy so we would get them prepped before they started to set!
After I had mine mixed, I wished I would have put more cement mix in to make it a larger pot. I only ended up filling the gallon container about half full and though I like it, I think had I filled it the entire way, it would have been more of a statement piece.
These are very darling, but I am curious to see how my orchid plant does in the long run.
I am not sure I would ever attempt to do these again – it honestly stressed me out too much during the process! But, the idea of a large one outside my front door is pretty intriguing!
Reviewer #3 - Maren
Mission: I could not wait to try this project. I have been dying to get my hands on a concrete planter ever since I first laid eyes on one. Although I have seen several listed on Etsy, as Elisa mentioned, they were a little pricey and I couldn’t help but think that I could probably make one myself. Yipeee! Thank you The Self Life!
- I saved up every dang container that we had from the past couple of weeks to make sure that we had a good selection. I also raided the house for party cups and other small containers. The best choices for me ended up being a 32 oz cottage cheese container, one of Kristy’s $1 store bowls and those little 9 ounce party tumblers (for the inside cavity). I used a Keg Cup for one, and that worked great as well.
- I couldn’t find the Sakrete that Elisa used in her post, but did find Quikrete Quik Set Cement which is basically the same thing – per my husband.
- In my head I swore that I was supposed to sand down the top of the planter when I was done. Apparently not, although I did with my handy little Black & Decker Multi Sander. I love that thing!
- My succulents are babies from my Succulent Tea Cup and my Terrarium! I snipped them off, put them in these cool little things called Rootcups and Wallah! I feel so proud!
Tips & Tricks Learned:
Holy shit. Add extra water and be ready to stir! After nearly giving myself a hernia from trying to open the container of concrete, I was not totally prepared for the rampant stirring activity that was before me. I lived though, and it was much easier going forward.
We (myself, Sarah and Kristy) thought about mixing the concrete in one big container and then adding it to our individual containers. Then we read on the package that we only had 5 minutes and realized how unrealistic that was. This was a wise choice since we had a hard enough time as it was getting a frickin’ cottage cheese container mixed in time.
I did have one planter that didn’t get totally mixed and was a bust. One side was so shiny that it looked like marble, the other was gravely and falling apart. Lesson learned.
Here’s a good tip: Holding the cup that you plan to use for the inside of the planter next to the container filled with cement and mark a line on the inner cup so that you know how deep to push it into the cement without going all the way to the bottom.
Other tip: Be patient. The cement sets really quickly, but isn’t ready to be removed from the container for at least a day or so.
Super easy and très chic!
Opening the concrete container almost killed me.
I love my planter just as much as I thought that I would. I have already received several compliments on it, and am excited to make them for friends as gifts! They are that easy! Once you have the process down, I bet you could crack one out in less than 10 minutes!
Next up though, I want to make a big one! A great reason to finally get a Paint/Mud Mixer attachment for the drill. Also a great reason for picking up a gallon of ice cream. Tee Hee!
Reviewer #4 - Kristy
Mission: Rustic piece of art for your plants! I love cacti; they have such character and don’t die!
- I went to the Dollar Tree and bought take away dishes in more of a square shape.
- Maren had cups for the center that worked perfect
- Picked up some fabulous cacti from Home Depot
Tips & Tricks Learned:
Be sure to have water on hand! Maren was prepared with a cute watering can that worked perfectly!
Stir, stir, stir quickly…the concrete had to be mixed and set within 5 minutes! Doesn’t sound like long but it goes by fast!!
Don’t forget to tap the bottom to let out most of the air bubbles within the concrete.
Be sure to measure the depth on the cup, you need to know how far to push down when you center inside your mold! VERY IMPORTANT! Mine were pretty shallow!
Very rustic and easy to make! Fun group project!!
Just be sure to work quickly and be prepared to know the depth of the interior cup!
My plants roots were exposed as my bowls were too shallow in the center. Cacti are difficult to kill, so I hope they survive!
This would be a great gift! I love mine; perfect for a window ledge!
It has chips and a few holes on the sides from likely air bubbles but it gives such character!! The plants come in so many different colors, that it gives such a fun pop of color!!
Next time I might make them a little taller to give plants more room for their roots in the center of planter!
Reviewer #5 - Katie
Mission: Make your cement planters for those oh so adorable succulent plants you’ve probably seen everywhere.
- I used Quikrete Quik Set Cement
- My Solo Cups worked great, as did the food storage containers that I had at home.
Tips & Tricks Learned:
Be patient, and check the label! I purchased and used cement vs. cement patch and that may have negatively affected my finished product or my lack of patience could have contributed to the less than perfect results as well….
I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy a few succulents and I think the planters will look cute on the windowsill in my office…imperfections and all!
While this wasn’t an especially expensive project, I tend to prefer the instant gratification of purchasing small planters and not having to deal with smoothing out cement, worrying about air pockets and making a mess from start to finish!
All in all, I’m happy with the results and am excited to display them in my home.