Make a DIY burlap bag concrete planter to give as a Christmas gift.
Here is the next addition to my Christmas gift series- A Burlap Bag DIY Concrete Planter.
Tap into your rustic side with this very easy DIY concrete project to make- more on this in the Materials Note below.
With just a simple material, you can turn any bag into a concrete planter. And best of all, this DIY planter can be used year-round and be used indoors or outdoors.
Though I don’t plan on making a full YouTube video for this, check out the video for some of the concrete planter making techniques.
Pocket Guide to Concrete & Cement Mixes For Crafts
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DIY Difficulty Level | Easy
Materials For A DIY Burlap Bag Concrete Planter
- Cement, rapid set
- Disposable bowl
- Disposable cup
- Durable nitrile gloves– I like these because they are so durable, you can rinse and reuse and end up costing less in the long run
- Safety glasses
- Safety mask– rated for silica dust
- Burlap bag
- Narrow bottle- for inner mold- approx. 6″-7″ (this can be a rigid plastic or even glass since the planter will not be curing with this inserted)
- Drinking straw
- Needle-nose pliers
- Utility knife
- Mesh Christmas ribbon
I made two of these planters. One is straighter and the other is a little saggy. The first one I made used a container to hold the bag of cement while molding and curing.
For the other one, I didn’t use an outer container in order. If you want the one that stands up more straight, then use an outer container.
Though I used a straight sided ice cream container for this, I recommend using something like a 1lb sour cream container.
The sides are tapered and to demold it, you’ll be able to pull it right out.
With my non-tapered container, I had to cut through it to be able to get the bag of cement out.
Tutorial Steps For A DIY Burlap Bag Concrete Planter
Things to know before you start this tutorial.
This is one of the easiest planters to make and is such a bonus at how unique it turns out. But here’s the caveat- demolding this is a bear!
Even lubricant doesn’t help. Additionally, I don’t recommend using it for this, as it easily pools up on the pocketed areas of the cement planter and leaves dark oily spots.
The bag will come off, but you will need to work at it. It will probably take you 20-30 minutes to remove.
STEP 1 | PrepAre The Tools You Need For The Concrete Mold
The inside of the bag has a mesh fabric attached to it and since it’s the burlap texture we want to have, turn the bag inside out.
Next, prepare to mold the planter by placing a drinking straw (or pencil or similar) and the bottle you are using for the inner mold, next to the bag.
This inner mold is only going to be used temporarily while you are sculpting the concrete.
STEP 2 | Mix The Cement
Mix the cement to a mud pie consistency. Pour it into the bag and then check that you have the correct amount.
Check this by using your hands to push aside the concrete in the center and then inserting the inner mold/bottle. Remember that you will leave ¼- ½” for the planter bottom.
STEP 3 | SculpT & Mold The Burlap Bag Concrete Planter
Once you have the correct amount of mix, you can start shaping the concrete into the burlap bag shape (video at 0:11).
Part One of Step 3
There are two ways to make the shape. For the planter on the left, I used an ice cream container to contain the bag and keep it standing straight.
I recommended in the Materials Notes above to use a tapered container like a sour cream container instead.
The planter on the right was more free-form -without being in a container.
Option 1: Straight DIY Burlap Planter
Pick the bag up and shake it a few times to get the concrete to settle. Then place it into the outer mold container.
Note: Most of the video shows the technique for Option 2, but they are the same, this Option 1 just doesn’t require much hand molding until you get toward the top/collar.
Use your hands to clear a space in the middle and then place the inner mold container into the center.
Be sure to leave ¼-½” of cement at the bottom of the bag for the planter bottom.
Pull out the inner mold (it may have created suction, so just tug it out) and then clear a hole in the bottom using a straw or something long like a pencil (video at 0:49).
Place the inner container back inside and now work on molding the area above the cinch string (video at 0:38).
First, pull the string- but not so much that it’s tight around the inner bottle, and then add some more concrete around the collar from where the string is- to about halfway up before the top.
Smooth the cement so you have a nice flat top, but be sure to also allow for some gathers. After you have this shaped properly, pull the bottle back out. You can continue smoothing if necessary.
Check to make sure the hole is still cleared, if not, just clear it again. Now set this aside to cure. Skip past Option 2 and move to Part Two of this step, click here.
Option 2: Baggy Concrete Burlap Planter
To do this, lightly squeeze the cement to form it both around the bottle, as well as to press the burlap material against it to create the burlap textured imprints (video at 0:20).
With the thicker mix, you can push it around and shape the outside and inside. If you haven’t done this before, you’ll see it’s quite easy to do.
Note: If you have seen or made my DIY Magnetic Cement Planters or my DIY Concrete Christmas Candles, you’ll see this is similar in that you use your hands to press the cement to the sides of the mold.
Once the basic shape looks good to you go ahead and remove the inner bottle. It may have some suction action going on, so you may have to tug at it.
I needed to insert the bottle off and on a few times to get the planter shaped.
As soon as I had it mostly shaped, insert a straw into the bottom (or a pencil or anything long enough to reach).
The straw end is open so you may need to insert it in the hole a couple of times or you can use a q-tip to clear the hole.
The top/opening of the burlap bag planter is where you’ll want to pay special attention.
It’s nice to have the planter to show the gathers from the string, and for this second one I made, I decided to have the top flair out a bit more.
You’ll notice in the (video at 0:55-1:20), I spent several minutes tightening the string and laying the ruffled end out and positioning the cement on top.
If the top is a little too thin, you can build it up by just adding some of the extra mix to the ruffle and smoothing and shaping it.
Once everything is how you want it, set it aside to cure.
Part Two of Step 3
My recommendation for when to demold is to start removing the bag while the planter is still a little bit warm.
This will make removing the bag a little easier, but don’t do this while the cement is still hot.
Tip: This rapid setting and curing cement really heats up a lot during the curing process. It can get quite hot, especially with thicker pieces.
So be sure it isn’t hot, but still comfortably warm to touch- kind of lukewarm.
You should check on this at around 20 minutes. The timing will vary because while you were molding it, it was starting to go through the curing process.
And how long you played with it to sculpt the cement into shape, will factor into the timing.
My burlap bag planter was ready to demold closer to about 30-45 minutes after I finished molding it. Again, the cement should feel hard, but lukewarm.
STEP 4 | DeMold The Concrete Planter From The Burlap Bag
It helps with demolding if the burlap is damp, but you also need to take care that you don’t get the cement too wet because it can darken the cement permanently in some areas.
Here’s another photo where you can see the discoloration a little more clearly from the early demold/ and too much water when removing the bag.
This one was only slightly easier to demold, so I would refrain from wetting the concrete too much if you don’t want the darkening/discoloration.
The reason this discoloration/darkening is happening is because the cement hasn’t cured enough and the water and friction of your hands are changing the texture.
So first start by very lightly/quickly dipping the area of the burlap planter that you will start demolding, into a bowl of water.
Now start cutting the bag open with a utility knife, taking care to cut away from your body (video at 1:21-2:42).
I ended up alternating between scissors and the utility knife because the utility knife was most helpful for starting the cut, and then the scissors for cutting the burlap further.
Then the needle nose pliers will be a must here, to help grab onto the fabric and pull it off.
The collar of the planter is going to be somewhat vulnerable to breaking while you are demolding, so take good care to not put pressure on this area.
I used a towel underneath to help cushion the collar. Neither of the two times that I made these, did I suffer any breakage.
FINAL STEP | Dress The Burlap Concrete Planter For Giving As A Christmas Gift (or any gift)
To add the holiday planter topping, just cut up some Christmas mesh into strips about ½ wide and vary these between 2”- 4” long.
Other ideas for these would be to paint them. You can paint them using acrylic paint. You could also leave them with the natural concrete but just add paint to the inside ruffle.
Or you could compromise between natural and painted by using semi transparent paint, like I did for the Ribbed Concrete Christmas Planter.