I seem to always be in need for more planters. I love succulents and can’t help getting more when I’m at a nursery, so you’ll be finding lots of planter tutorials on this website as time goes on, because my plants need homes! Besides, I am obsessed with planters. Since I love modern design, I really wanted to make planters that have simple, clean lines.
This is my first attempt at making something with concrete. There are many different types of concrete, in terms of shade of greys, smoothness, and time to cure. I wanted these planters to be as white as possible so I bought a special type of concrete that is very white and smooth. It’s expensive in comparison to something like Quikcrete that you can pick up at a big box store, but the results are worth it as its properties lend itself to a great modern look. For another great succulent planter tutorial, check out my wine cork succulent planters post, and if you missed my round cement balloon planters tutorial, it’s here.
For this project, you can use any type of concrete you want. Just keep in mind that the proportions I used are based on this Artisan Concrete mix, so adjust according to the instructions that come with your concrete.
What Not To Do:
Don’t use too much water -I ended up getting a couple small cracks. I believe that’s because the walls of my planter may have been too thin on one side and I may have used a little too much water. I have adjusted the directions below to account for my mistakes.
Difficulty level- Easy
- Concrete -I used Buddy Rhodes Artisan Concrete – 10lbs. because I wanted whiter and finer looking planters than I would get with Quickcrete. But you can use any kind. I ended up making 2 planters, which required 3 1/2 cups of concrete.
- Cooking Oil
- 2 paint sticks for mixing the cement
- duct tape or masking tape
- sanding blocks- #120 and #220
- Mold- plastic containers, milk cartons, or soft Tupperware. You want something that is a little flexible so you can release your concrete easily.
Orbital sander- not necessary, but helpful for vibrating the wet concrete, which will reduce air bubbles.
Modern DIY Concrete Planter Tutorial Steps
Step 1 | Choose Your Modern Planter Mould:
Choose your mold materials. Keep in mind that every line and indent will transfer to your planter, so the smoother, the better, so make sure whatever you choose is pliable. In other words, if you can bend it now, you should be able to remove it without much effort from the concrete when finished.
Also be sure that when you put your inner mold into the outer one, that it gives your planter walls that are at least ½” thick because it will help avoid cracking.
Step 2 | Prep Your Mixing Tool:
To make mixing the concrete easier, tape two paint sticks together. Just wrap the tape around each end.
Step 3 | Mix Your Concrete:
Pour cement into bucket. I used:
3 ½ cups of concrete to 1 cup of water
Add the water and mix it in, if you need to add more, do it slowly. It should be the consistency of peanut butter.
Step 4 | Pour The Concrete:
Pour the concrete into your mold. Shake and tap to get the concrete to settle. If you want to eliminate air bubbles, use an orbital sander- without the sandpaper to vibrate from the sides which will release the bubbles.
Step 5 | Prep The Concrete Mould:
To help lubricate, rub the cooking oil around your plastic for your inner mold and then insert it into the outer mold.
Note: The concrete may bevel upward when you insert your inner mold, so keep tapping the bottom of the mold on your work surface until it flattens out again.
Step 6 | Neaten Up And Prepare For Curing:
Clean up your edges with a sponge so you will have less sanding to do after it cures. Also be sure to making sure everything is level.
The concrete will likely resist the inner mold piece and push back up on it. You will need to add something on top that has some weight to it to avoid this. In the pic I used a glass vase with a small black vase that was pretty heavy and fit inside.
Step 7 | Let The Concrete Cure:
Let the concrete cure for 24-48 hours, keeping the weight on top. If you can wait 48 hours it will be safer and help avoid cracking.
After curing and you have removed the weight, this is what it will look like.
Step 8 | De-mould The Concrete Planter:
When cured, very gently pull out your inner piece.
Then, put a soft cloth on your work surface and carefully turn the main mold upside down. A regular towel would be better than the paper towel I used here. The reason for this is that the concrete may slip out immediately and you don’t want it to chip or crack.
Step 9 | Sand Any Rough Edges:
If you have any lines or rough edges on your planter, sand them with the #120 sanding block. Repeat with the #220 finer grit sand paper after.
Step 10 | Prep The Modern Concrete Planter For Planting:
Rinse out the planter and plant it with your favorite succulents or other plants! You may want to drill a hole in the bottom first to help with drainage, otherwise use small pebbles and well draining soil for your plants.
The taller, rounder one is one I made with cardboard candle containers that I had.