These concrete and gold DIY plant pots are a bit modern, but a bit industrial at the same time. And with the gold leaf, there’s some glamour in there, too. Glam-modern-industrial, is that a thing? If not, it is now. And it requires plants.
After my concrete and gold leaf jewelry project, I was eager to experiment more with the leftover supplies. And since I can always use more places for plants, DIY plant pots were the obvious choice. I kind of had the same problem with these that I did with the soap rocks–I was having so much fun experimenting, that I just kept making more. If you’re not looking for excuses to add more plants to your life, you could use these for lots of other stuff, like a pencil cup, or kitchen utensil-holder (just came up with that idea–gotta try it).
One of my faults is that I tend to be a perfectionist. Irregularity is something I try to avoid, so for the polka-dot version of this project, I tried doing it with circle templates that I cut out of tape. The circles didn’t end up perfect, since some of the gilding came off when I took the tape template off. But I also tried it with just dabbing adhesive on with my fingers, and I ended up liking that version better. Plus, it’s easier.
So this project is a good reminder to let go of perfection and predictability. You’ll probably end up with bubbles in your concrete pots, and the gilding might have some gaps in it. Embrace it! If you wanted something that looked like it was mass-produced, you could buy that in stores. Although working with concrete is easier than you might think, if you don’t want to pour your own pots, you can definitely add gilding to pre-made ones.
Concrete and Gold DIY Plant Pots
Electric sander – I used this random orbital sander
Heavy-duty, 60 or 80 grit sanding discs
Piece of wood or something heavy to weigh down the inner containers (optional)
Hole punch (optional)
1. Before you mix the concrete, hold the inner cup inside the outer container with the bottom of the cup about 1/2-inch above the bottom of the container. Mark the side of the plastic cup where it lines up with the top of the outer container. This will help you push the cup down to the right depth in the concrete.
2. Mix up the concrete according to the directions on the package. I always ended up having to add a little bit more water than the instructions said to use. Pour a layer of concrete in the bottom of the larger container about half as tall as you want your pot to be. Press the inner cup down to the depth you marked above. If you want it shorter, scoop out concrete, or add more if you want it taller.
Either tape the cup in place, or put something heavy on top to weigh it down. Gently shake the concrete to help release air bubbles and even out the top.
3. Let the concrete set overnight, then pull out your inner container. I really had to cut up the cups to get them out, but that’s because they have tiny ridges at the bottom, which hold them in place. Other containers that I tried, like a plastic bottle and a tall plastic sour cream container, slid out much more easily.
4. Turn the container over and press on the bottom to release the pot. All of mine slid out very easily.
5. After the containers have completely cured (at least 24 hours), if you want to you can sand the top edges smooth. I tried doing it by hand, but it goes a lot faster with an electric sander. Remember to wear a mask and eye protection!
6. Time to add bling! Start by taping off your designs with painter’s tape. I did a couple of different designs. For the big and small triangles, I just put down pieces of tape in triangle shapes until I got designs I was happy with. I didn’t measure anything, I just freestyled it.
I tried two different ways to make dots. For one I punched circle templates out of painter’s tape, and stuck them on pretty randomly.
For the other method, I marked the pot with an x where I wanted my dots to be.
7. Paint the adhesive on inside the templates. For the pot with the smaller dots, I just dipped my finger in the adhesive, and pressed it down on the pencil marks I’d made. (I bet a Q-tip would work for this step, if you don’t want to use your finger.)
Let the adhesive dry for the recommended amount of time.
8. Place pieces of the gold foil over the adhesive, and smooth it down gently with your fingers.
9. Let the adhesive dry, then gently pull away the excess gold leaf that isn’t stuck to the pots or the tape. You can try to fill in any gaps with another layer of adhesive and foil.
10. Paint the gold leaf with the recommended number of coats of sealer. My instructions said to do at least two.
11. Carefully pull away the tape. With practice, I found that keeping the tape as flat to the surface as possible minimized chipping on the edges of the designs, but it might be impossible to avoid completely. Embrace the imperfection!
Now fill ’em up with plants! Since they don’t have drainage, I just popped in plants in plastic containers.
I still have one without any designs on it. What should I add, or should I leave it plain?