There are many ways to make a planter, and many materials to choose from. We got to try out a new concrete mix called ShapeCrete, which has a clay-like consistency that makes it easy to mold while still keeping the look and strength of concrete. The great thing about it was how easy it was to make something like a planter with our own decorative touch to it. The whole process took about an hour to do, and was so easy to apply that we didn’t have much of a mess to clean up afterward!
1. Plan Your Project
ShapeCrete is workable for about 30 to 60 minutes once you add water, so it’s important to have everything ready to go before you mix. To make an easy planter, we used an old plastic container that is typically used for storing food. We wanted a small planter for indoor use, but you can make it as large as you want.
To add a personal touch, we gathered some plastic leaves and flowers that the ShapeCrete would get an impression from. You can either apply the ShapeCrete to the inside or outside of the container, either way will work fine. We wanted to get the leaves and flowers really pressed in there so we decided to build our planter on the inside of the plastic container. We used double-sided tape to secure the items to the inside of the plastic container and make a nice design.
2. Mix It Up!
Put on your eye protection, face mask, and gloves. ShapeCrete is a powder that needs to be mixed with water. Just like concrete, you don’t want to breathe in any or get it in your eyes as you pour the powder. Depending on the consistency you want, the ratio of powder to water is different. We wanted a moldable clay-like consistency so we mixed 4 parts Shapecrete to 1 part water. If you want to pour it into a mold, use 3 parts ShapeCrete to 1 part water.
It’s important to slowly mix it together to get it smooth. Add half of your water to the bucket and slowly add in the Shapecrete powder, mixing it well with your stirring stick as you go. When it starts getting clumpy, add in more water as needed. The end result should be easily rolled into a ball with your hands, but will collapse if you agitate it.
3. Create Your Masterpiece
Take small portions of the ShapeCrete mixture and start lining the bottom of the plastic container. Smooth it out gently and maintain an even depth. The thinnest you should aim for is ¼”, otherwise you’ll need to reinforce it.
After the bottom looks good, building up the sides. We found it was easiest to roughly flatten it in our hands first and smoosh it into the sides, blending the bottom with the rest. Work your sides over the edge of the container and maintain an even thickness throughout. After everything is covered, used the trough or another flat tool to smooth out the top, creating nice edges.
A planter needs drainage holes, so now would be a good time to use a finger or object to poke a hole in the bottom of the mixture. If you want something that looks cleaner, you can drill a hole after its cured and removed from the container.
4. Let It Cure
Your planter will need to sit for at least 24 hours to cure and strengthen. Cover it loosely with a plastic cover to keep in some moisture. We used kitchen plastic wrap and tucked it underneath. This is a good time to clean everything you used. Water and agitation are all that’s needed to get it off your bucket and tools.
5. Remove from Mold
After 24 hours are up, you can bend the plastic container to pop it out or gently tap it with a hammer. Our decorative items mostly came off easily. We had a few tiny bits that were stuck, but a good brushing released them. If you didn’t put a drainage hole in earlier, you’ll need to use a drill to put one or more in now. The planter is now ready use and will continue to reach its full strength in 28 days.