Cement Balloon Planters (Easy DIY!)
Learn to make these cement balloon planters the easy way, and that works! Use a balloon as your mold.
Cement, not concrete, is the key.
I started this project out feeling really frustrated.
Originally I tried to make these round cement planters using concrete like other tutorials show, but it was a complete fiasco.
Even though I sifted the concrete to get out the gravel, it just didn’t work. I must have popped 5 or 6 balloons in the process.
I also was working outside and accidentally polluted the environment with 4 runaway balloons I was never able to catch- it was really windy that day.
Aargh. I watched a million videos and read tutorials of people making these with concrete and I’m feeling like they have to be faked a bit, because it just doesn’t work.
Pocket Guide to Concrete & Cement Mixes For Crafts
After all that, not able to let things go, I forged ahead with my research and I found a blog called MadeByBarb. She does lots of fantastic things with concrete.
–Palm slap to the forehead for the “ah ha” moment!– Cement! That was the key.
For more details on why the Rapid Set Cement All works so well, take a look at my post about six different types of concrete and cement mixes that I tested, and how they all compare.
Barb made these large orbs for her garden that were pretty much the same concept as the balloon planters, so I tried her recommendation of Rapid Set Cement All.
You can probably use any brand of rapid set cement, but the trick is, make sure it is cement, not concrete and that it sets quickly.
When planning the size of your round DIY cement planters you’ll have to consider your balloon size.
Make sure the balloon package says “round”. I used round balloons that said 7″.
You can use bigger ones in place of the 7″ and just blow them up with less air to be smaller, but be careful because they may end up being more oval than round.
Make sure to have everything set up and ready to go because once you start mixing the cement, you won’t have much working time.
Use a small mesh strainer that has hooks allowing it to sit over a bowl. This made making these so much easier.
Otherwise a container like a cup or bowl that has a mouth the right size to support your balloon will also work.
If you use a container, fill it with sand or stones to weigh it down so it won’t tip over while you are working on it.
When you have a chance, please check out my post on these other round Mini Balloon Planters! And also these vertical Cinder Block Planters.
As always, please ask me any questions you have about how to make these in the comments at the bottom of the page. Comments welcome.
What Not To Do:
Don’t use concrete (refer to the intro above to see what disaster ensues)
Watch The DIY Cement Balloon Planter Video Tutorial
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DIY Difficulty Level | Easy
Materials For Making Cement Balloon Planters
- 7″ round balloons
- Cement All, Rapid Set
- * If you are in Australia, use this mortar mix. Check out Brenda’s comment at the bottom of the post (in the comments section), she used this mix and it turned out great. You should also check out her photos of the planters- amazing!
- Durable nitrile gloves
- Old wire mesh strainer with hooks
- Disposable plastic mixing bowl
- Plastic grocery bag
- Disposable measuring cup
- 3 Q-Tips
- Large sponge
- Succulent soil
- Succulent plants
The type of cement you use for this project is very important. The reason this works is that this cement is smooth and quick setting.
For more info on the Rapid Set Cement All, please see my post comparing the concrete and cement craft mixes, as well as other good information on cement making. Making Cement & Concrete Crafts Tests.
Note: The measuring cup and mesh strainer will get cement on them, so only use these items for crafts.
In place of the mesh strainer and mixing bowl, you can use a container such as a cup but you will need to weigh it down with stones or sand.
And you may want to use blue painters tape to help hold the balloon in place.
Also, I needed to use the strainer because I did this outside and it was kind of windy out. You may be able to get away with just using the sponge to hold it in place.
Note: In this written tutorial I started applying the cement to the tied end of the balloon.
In the accompanying video, I switched it to applying the cement to the non-tied end of the balloon. It really doesn’t matter which end you start with.
I made these planters outside as seen in these photos and it was a little windy, which is why I needed the sifter to hold the balloon.
For the video, I made these round planters inside, so the mesh strainer wasn’t necessary.
For in-depth, general information on making concrete planters, check out How To Make Concrete Planters- Everything You’ll Need To Know.
And for another cool tutorial for a round ball ornament, check out this easy concrete sphere for the garden.
Cement Balloon Planter Tutorial Steps
**Not all plants do well in concrete and cement planters. While they are loved by most succulents, other plants may not share that love.
There are easy fixes for this. Please see Are Concrete Planters Safe For Plants? to learn more.
Step 1. Inflate The Balloon
Inflate your balloon but keep in mind, the finished piece will end up being larger than the balloon because of the thickness of the cement.
So make the balloon smaller than what you want your finished planter to be.
The round planter size I wanted was about 6″ and I have one of those 5″ round globe light bulb covers, the common ones you see at every big box store for probably 9 bucks.
So I used that for reference and blew the balloon up to be the same size as the globe. The finished planter ended up being the perfect size.
Step 2. Set Up The Balloon
(See pic in Step 4 for how this looks) If you are using a mesh strainer, then take a mixing bowl and cover it in a plastic grocery bag to protect it.
Otherwise, use your weighed down container. Have the cup of water next to you, along with a rag for clean up.
Step 3. Mix The Cement
In the big disposable plastic bowl, pour in about 1/2 a cup of water. Add a little bit of cement and mix with your hands. Make sure you wear gloves!
These newer gloves I found since I originally posted this tutorial are amazing and have yet to tear.
They aren’t the least expensive option, but last longer so you use less of them, making them still cost-effective.
Mix the cement slowly, adding more cement as you go. You will do this a few times until the cement is the consistency of cake frosting.
This doesn’t have to be an exact science, just play with it.
If it feels too thick when applying it to the balloon, take the cement off, put it back in the bowl and add a tiny bit of water. If it’s too thin, add cement.
Step 4. Mold The Balloon With Cement
Start with the tied end of the balloon facing upward. Scoop the cement onto the top balloon, but leave the tied area free of cement, this is where you will leave the opening for the plant.
Leave it large enough to get your hand inside for ease of planting. If you get it too close together just push it apart.
Start molding it and work your way around, shaping and smoothing as you go.
You can keep wetting the cement or your hands as you are sculpting, and also add cement to any areas that it may need to be built up.
Be careful not to let the cement touch the edge of the container or strainer.
Doing so will cause a bump and even more importantly, if the cement pushes against the strainer, it can cause it to crack.
So keep the cement free and clear of everything except the balloon.
The second side will be easier, so don’t worry about trying to get the first side fully covered, a third will be good.
The cement will cure within an hour or two. Be sure to keep this out of the sun while it’s curing because the balloon may expand and pop.
Keep it somewhere where the temperature won’t vary widely over this hour or two period.
Step 5. Mold The Other Balloon End and Create Drainage Holes
Once the first side has cured, you can flip it over and rest it on the sponge to work on the other side. The sponge will alleviate pressure while you are working on it.
Continue adding cement around the 2nd half of the balloon. Pay special care to the edges where the two ends meet in the middle and smooth as best you can to give it continuity.
After you are done, carefully use a Q-tip to press a few small holes for drainage, just sort of spin the tip to create the space. You may need to wet the Q-tip to get the holes free of cement.
Step 6. Pop The Balloon
Let the cement dry, you can just let it rest on the sponge, or in the strainer.
It should take about 1-2 hours depending on climate conditions, then you can pop your balloon.
If you wait too long to pop it, the balloon may be more difficult to pull out and could stick to the cement.
To pop it, just use scissors and snip the spot where it’s tied, then pull the balloon out of the cement planter.
Step 7. Reinforce The DIY Cement Planter
You should reinforce the balloon by adding more cement inside.
Mix up some more cement and pour it into the sphere, make sure to keep your drainage holes clear, use the Q-tips again if you need to.
I made mine about 1/4-1/2″ thick on the bottom, then built up the sides just a bit.
Your planter may be durable enough without this step, but better safe than sorry.
Step 8. Plant Your New Cement Balloon Planter
Add soil and then your plants! What types of plants will you use? Succulents?
If you like round planters, then you may want to see my tutorial on making round magnetic cement planters!
And, have you seen the clay version of this cement balloon planter? Yep, you can also make this with clay. You can see the Clay Cement Balloon Planter here.
Or how about the Textured Cement Balloon Bowl Planter? I named him Barry.😁
And for total inspiration, take a look at these 21 Unique Concrete Planter Tutorials!
Cement Balloon Planters
How to make a cement planter using a balloon as the mold. This unique round DIY planter is super easy and quick to make.
- Rapid Set Cement
- Balloon - 7"
- Safety Glasses
- Please see the FULL materials list above the tutorial.
- Inflate The Balloon To The Size You Want The Planter
- Set And Stabilize The Balloon
- Mix The Cement
- Place Cement Onto The Balloon And Sculpt
- Create The Drainage Holes With A Q-Tip
- Pop The Balloon And Remove It
- Reinforce The Cement Balloon Planter WIth A Skim Coat
- Pot The Cement Balloon Planter WIth Succulents Or Your Favorite Plant
Don’t forget to Pin it for later!
Thank you for sharing . Looks like fun, not that I know how to do it👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
It was fun. It’s probably my favorite project I’ve made so far. It really is easier than it looks. Give it a try!
Just did mine today and it’s out in the hot sun drying….hope for the best it turns out good
Be careful! The hot sun may make the balloon expand and pop, which may cause your cement to sort of explode and crack into pieces. I made this mistake recently. Take it out of the sun, it will dry really fast even in the shade.
Please let me know how it went, or attach a photo. I’d love to see it.
Concrete is just cement with an aggregate, like gravel, added.
Hi Vivien, You are right. It makes it much less likely to pop the balloons.
Does the alkalinity of the cement affect the plants?
Supposedly it can, but I haven’t had issues. It’s probably best to let them soak in water a few days, which will leach the alkalinity.
Here’s a pic of my plants today. These were planted 6-7 months ago. Only one is scraggly, but I don’t think it has anything to do with the alkalinity of the soil.
Hi Ellen, Thank you for this great tutorial! I’m definitely going to try it. I’m wondering though if the planter is unstable due to its round shape or do you do something to flatten the bottom so it doesn’t tip over? Thanks!
They really aren’t very unstable because they aren’t perfectly round. The position you see them in the photos is just where the planters settled on their own. I live in the northeast and had to bring them inside. I have them on a shelf that hangs from rope from the ceiling, like a swing and they don’t even roll around on that. These are very easy to sculpt, so you could just mould out a flattened spot, but I don’t think it’s necessary.
When you do try this, post or send me pics. I’d love to see them!
Going to try this for sure. They are so beautiful and natural. Cannot wait. Thank you so much for sharing. 😊
Thank you! Let me know how they turn out.
Can you paint them?
I’m only now experimenting with painting cement, but they are paintable. I think since they are textured, you may be better off mixing in a latex or acrylic paint to the mixture for color. I guess it depends on what look you are going for. Are you thinking of doing a solid color? Or a design?
i made these and they turned out great. i have read some place about neutralizing the pot with vinegar before planting. are you familiar with that?
Soaking the pot in vinegar sounds familiar, but I think just soaking them in tap water for a few days is good enough. I didn’t have any problems with plants not surviving and most of my pots I didn’t even soak before planting. Maybe it’s because it was mostly succulents that I ended up planting? I’m not well versed enough in soil alkalinity to say for sure.
how can i post pics of my creation
Great! I’m excited to see them. Check now, I enabled the photos upload. I think you may need to start a new comment to do it, but try reply first. The “Upload” option should come up directly above the spot where you comment.
I am interested to try this asap. I always intended to work with hypertufa but haven,t yet. This seems straight forward. Will let you know. Give me a few weeks. Grammy pam
Hi Grammy Pam, Great! Let me know how you liked it, and post a pic when you’re done if you can. I’ve done hypertufa once, this simple cement mix is nice because you don’t have an extra ingredient to mix in.
Do you have to seal these? Will they break apart with too much watering?
I’ve made about 10 of these and have never sealed them. I have a couple that I forgot to add the drainage holes to and keep meaning to drill them in. Those two don’t have plants in them and are outside. They fill up with water all the time and nothing happens. If you add a nice slurry coat of 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch, then you shouldn’t have any problem. I have never had one break.
I tried to make 4 cement planters and all of them cracked. I even sprayed water on them to slow down the drying process. They were not in the sun at any time and it was about 78 degrees outside. I will try to make them again, but thicker, maybe at least 1 inch. I am using 5 inch plastic balls as my molds I found at Dollar Tree so I don’t have to worry about them popping.
That must be frustrating. How thin is your cement mix? The only time I have experienced cracking was when I when experimenting and I made the cement mix too watery. The other time was when I made one that was too big and I tried to do the whole thing at once, rather than one side at a time. With a ball that is only 5”, this shouldn’t be a problem, and you shouldn’t need to make them even close to an inch thick.
The only thing I can think of is that your mix might be to thin. Does your mix look the way mine does in the video when I’m putting it on the balloon?
My cement didn’t seem to watery. It was kind like frosting, stiff and stayed on the ball no problem. It was not dripping water at all. I will try again using less water. I will do a consistancy of clay this time around and let you know if it works.
Yes, please let me know what happens.
Would it be possible to completely fill the pot, so it can be used as a bollard to stop people parking on my grass? I was wondering if it would be durable if hit by a car, and whether it would last through a cold winter?
PS: Love it as a planter, but just wondering.
Ha! That’s sort of funny, but I’m sorry to hear about your lawn troubles.
You would probably be better off using either a $5 globe shaped light cover and just filling it, or take a plastic ball and cut off the top part and fill it, rather than sculpting on top of a balloon. I also wonder if a fast setting concrete, like the kind you use for fence posts, wouldn’t be a better application for this. But probably both types of mixes would be durable enough if run over, and definitely last through the winter.
my cement wouldn’t stay on the balloon, it would either crack and slide off-too dry? or just ooze off as the balloon moved. What did I do wrong? I played with consistency. It seemed to be from the give in the balloon. Suggestions?
I’m sorry you’re running into issues. I would think that would have to be a consistency issue. It’s hard to say though because I have made these when the mix has been a little too thin and also a little too thick and it can slide a bit, but I’ve been able to scoop it back onto the balloon. Is it cracking while still wet? Or is it cracking while curing?
What kind of temperature and humidity are you working in?
It was pretty humid today. When I put mix on the balloon sank down and the mix just fell off or slid. I’ll try it again on a less humid day. They’re too cool to give up
Yes, please try again. I’m not sure why the balloon sank down. Just make sure not to go past the half way point when adding the mix to the balloon, and be sure to use the Cementall brand cement. Let me know how it goes.
Have you had a chance to try again? Any luck?
the cheap balloons from the party store don’t work work as well as the slightly heavier ones you can feel the difference.
Thank you for the detailed instructions. Is there some way to add color while mixing up the cement?
Yep. It’s best to use a cement/concrete colorant like I used in the mini-cement balloon planters. If you go to this tutorial, it’s basically the same as this one, but these are smaller and are colored with a charcoal colorant. You can follow the coloring instructions in that one. Here’s the link. I have recently done some projects, not yet posted on the site, where I used oxide powder that I got from Amazon. They come in all kinds of colors. You can try those as well.
Thanks for checking out my tutorial!
I used portland cement. Is there a better one? I had some trouble with sliding off the balloon bu kept working with different thickness. Doing better now. I want mine to be the color of yours, more white mine are more gray. Please help
Yes! Don’t use Portland cement, instead use Rapidset Cementall. If you live in the states, you can get it from Home Depot. It will be much easier to work with because it will start curing while you are working on it. That should help with the slipping.
The Cementall is fairly white, that’s what I used. Let me know if this works better for you. Should be much better.
Have you tried to fill the balloons whith water instead of air?
I haven’t, because I think water actually makes them softer and too pliable. I could be wrong, but that’s my recollection of how they feel from back in my water balloon fight days. ;0]
Hi I am having a hard time finding the rapid set cement I can get rapid set concrete but that’s no good.
I live in Australia any idea I really want to make this planter
Thanks for your help
Hi Mandy! I found a couple of rapid set cement with sand mixes from Cement Australia. This is the link: https://www.cementaustralia.com.au/products/rapid-set-sand-cement and https://dingocement.com.au. Are these available in stores near you? If not, the Rapid Set concrete might work, but you will have to sift all of the aggregate out.
When I initially tried making these and ran into trouble, part of the failure was that the concrete I used wasn’t rapid setting. I also didn’t have the patience to sift through the concrete until all of the aggregate was gone.
Let me know if you find the cement/sand mix- that should work fine, it just may look a bit grittier. Also, if you try the rapid set concrete sift method, let me know if it works. And please post pics!
I am also in Australia and have unsuccessfully tried to make these balls. The rapid set cement I had also had sand in it. I’m interested if you found the right cement Mandy.
What type of problems did you run into? Were there any small pebbles or rocks in the cement you used, or just fine sand?
I tried general purpose cement first, but it slumped, became very thin and broke easily. Then I had some quick set cement with sand, but that was really crumbly. I’m now trying some ‘rapid patching mortar’. It seems to be ok so far, but set VERY quickly. 🙂
Oh yes, the rapid patching mortar should work. Fingers crossed!
Oh, and please let me know if it does work. I will add a note for people in Australia of what you used. Thanks for hanging in there on this!
I found the Davco Lanko 136 Rapid Patching Mortar worked best, but is a lot more expensive.
I’ve attached photos of a couple of balls I made. I sealed mine with Bondcrete to give it a bit more strength and a shiny coat.
Thank you so much for getting back to me on the cement mix to use! I’ll add it to the post for Aussies.
I can’t work out how to send more than 1 photo at a time.
OMG, your planters are beautiful! How did you get them so smooth? Thanks for posting the pics. Love them!
Updated now in the post- Materials For Making Cement Balloon Planters
7″ round balloons
Cement All, Rapid Set
* If you are in Australia, use this mortar mix. Check out Brenda’s comment at the bottom of the post (in the comments section), she used this mix and it turned out great. You should also check out her photos of the planters- amazing!
Durable nitrile gloves
Old wire mesh strainer with hooks
Disposable plastic mixing bowl
Plastic grocery bag
Disposable measuring cup
… and this is the mortar.
Thank you! I gave one as a house-warming pressy and the other was for my mum’s Mother’s Day pressy. After the ball was halfway dry, I think I mixed a fairly wet batch and gave it a thin coat at the end. Just gently smoothing it with my hands. Was wearing latex gloves so have to keep flicking any granules or hard pieces the get pick up in the process while smoothing. Not sure that made sense. But basically, a fairly wet layer to coat the whole lot at once at the end.
Yeah, I can imagine you’d have to flick granules off your hands to get them that smooth. They really look great!
I live in Australia as well. I tried straight rapid set cement and ran into the same problems as described. Today, I used the same Motor Mix and let it set for an hour, I was super excited. However, after an our it still seems very fragile? I am unsure whether I am making it too thin or whether I just need to persist and reinforce. Thoughts?
Some of the cement balloon planters I made were especially thin, but as long as you reinforce them, you should be fine. I’ve never had one crack after reinforcing.
I use a plastic kids balls from kmart now. I’m too rough with balloons and I find the balls I can blow up to the size I want. They keep the round shape better too. I put one layer of mortar, leave it for a couple of hours, then put another layer of mortar before it gets too dry. I deflate the ball so I can use it again. If it’s a bigger ball I put some fibreglass tape on after the first layer to give it a bit more strength.
Hi could you use plaster of paris to make the pot, I have been looking for a tutorial on how to create Garden Orbs with plaster of paris. I would prepare the finished project so it can be left outside. any advice you could give me would be appreciated.
Is there a reason you prefer to use plaster of paris? Are you trying to keep it lightweight? I haven’t used plaster of paris for anything since I was in grade school, but it seems to me that it wouldn’t be as durable. I know you can make garden orbs the same way I made these balloon planters- just don’t leave an opening and opt for using a plastic inflatable ball instead of balloon. If you use the Rapidset Cement-all it would be easiest.
Are you wanting to make larger orbs? If so, this is the tutorial I would follow- https://www.madebybarb.com/2017/06/18/giant-concrete-garden-orbs/. She leaves holes in hers on purpose, but you can do it without the holes. *Note that Barb is in Canada so the cement brand she uses isn’t available here but we have the same thing, which is called Patch Concrete Vinyl Bond (not made by CTS who makes the Rapidset Cement), or something similar. It is used for repair. I haven’t tried making these, nor used this material so I don’t have any tips, but Barb is quite knowledgeable so her tutorial should get you through.
Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see where it was mentioned that these planters must be leached because of the acidity in the cement or your plants will die.
I have heard that many times, and I do mention it in some of my tutorials for cement planters, but I have never leached these and my plants haven’t died. Maybe it’s the type of cement? I really don’t know but I have planted about 15 plants in cement planters where I used the Cementall and haven’t had a problem. I’m willing to bet that not all cement/concrete products are made the same. Maybe that’s it? What do you think?
If I were to plant herbs in them, I would definitely leach them just to be safe- as far as eating chemicals goes.
It could be the type as you mention , little or no alkaline.
Maybe I should do some research, it would be good to know.
Thank you and please let us know what you find.
Love the look of the new website!
Thanks Jill! It was a much bigger deal to do than I anticipated. I’m glad it’s done now. :0}
I came across your website while searching for info on DIY concrete projects. maybe you can help me. I want to cover existing glazed pottery planters with concrete/cement to create texture. They are rectangle window planters with a smooth black glaze finish, and I want them to look like natural cement with texture. Do you think the cement would adhere to the glaze, and be stable? Should I sand the glaze first?? I plan to paint with chalk paint and seal afterwards. What do you think? Alicia
I’m glad you found my site! I think if you use Cement All, it would stick and be relatively stable. Have you tried faux concrete? I have a planter roundup post with a link to another blogger’s tutorial where she created a planter with faux concrete. Here’s a link to that page. https://artsyprettyplants.com/easy-planter-projects-for-spring/
Scroll down about 1/3 of the way. That may also be a way to get the look you want. I hope that helps.
Thanks so much for your reply. I’m going to try the cement and see how I go!!
Thanks for the tutorial! Can you spray paint cement ?
You are welcome! You can spray paint cement. I haven’t used spray paint to paint cement, but I know there are people who do. You would probably want an outdoor acrylic paint.
so great project to make cement balloon planters. I’m going to try them. Thank you for sharing the interesting idea!
No problem! Let me know if you run into trouble. Good luck!
I made these planters for a centerpiece for our school auction. With covid, they will have to wait until next year, but I wanted to share what they will look like. I made 17 of them, so it was quite the learning experience. The water:cement ratio is important. Too runny cracked easily, but I was able to save them by patching and a slurry inside that added thickness. Mine have a rough surface on some, but that worked well with the paint. I turned them as the dried and let them dry inside, which I think helped. For the centerpiece, each one sits on a lid, which keeps them stable. Thanks for the great tutorial and pictures. I find myself becoming addicted to concrete!
It looks great! Thanks for sharing. Wow, I can’t believe you made 17 of these! You may have made more than me at this point.You could teach a class. :o} I like how the plant looks with it. Nice coloring.
If you wanted, to keep it stable, you could also fill the lid with cement (if it’s plastic), then let it cure and demold.
Careful, a concrete addiction is a slippery slope. 😉
Great idea! Fortunately, I am a teacher, so you can bet these projects are in the classroom. 🙂 We will be making planters for summer camp and then more projects next year.
Very cool! I’m coming to your camp!
These are some very good tips and ideas, thank you for taking the time to share. Look forward to using some myself!
I’ll take that as a big compliment! Thanks.
Sending to my college daughter who is a studio art major. I have no idea how she made some of her ceramics!
That’s so cool your daughter is an art major! Your site is beautiful- by the way.
Thanks for the compliment! Happy Sunday!
I’m going get my things now.I can’t wait to make this planter I’ll send you a picture.and many more..
Can’t wait to try this !