top of page

Easy DIY Concrete Planter

Level: Easy-honestly it is!

Time: Active: 30 minutes Total Time: 8.5 Hours

Cost: $10-20

Once again, I was standing in a store (Home Depot) and thought to myself, "I could make something really similar. Why would I spend this much money on something I'm sure I can make?" So I called my dad (who worked with concrete for years) and asked him which of these several different types of sacrete I would use if I wanted to make a planter. We talked through my plan of using old nursery pots as my form for this planter (I had yet to throw these pots in the recycle from when my twin had made my new raised garden beds into an actual garden, rather than just dirt. You'll come to realize we don't throw much away if we even have an inkling of an idea it can be reused) and my dad said I would probably be best served by Quikrete's fast setting concrete mix (I have been known to lack patience, so the fast setting part was appealing to me). So I purchased the rest of my need materials and returned home for a DIY day!

Here's what you'll need (all of which can be found at The Home Depot if necessary):

~ 1- 50lb bag of Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix

~ 1- 13" nursery pot (this will be your outside pot)

~ 1- 10" nursery pot (this will be your inside pot)

~ Bucket for mixing the concrete

~ 2' piece of 3/8" Rebar (Or something sturdy enough to stir the concrete)

~ Packing Tape (used to tape the drain holes in the nursery pots)

~ Strip of 1"x6" cardboard (To make a drain hole)

~ Solo Cup or similar to transfer concrete mix into form

~ Plastic Sheeting or Garbage Bag to cover your work area

~ 1 Quart Water (directions called for 1/2 gallon per bag of mix and we are only using half a bag)

~ Optional: Respirator Mask, because concrete powder is bad for your lungs!

First things first, make sure you have everything you need before you even think about mixing the concrete. You will have about 15 minutes between when you've mixed in the water and when you should be finishing up with your pour. So like the tests you used to get in school, read the instructions all the way through before starting (though this doesn't have an ending where you can just skip steps, it's just helpful for you to know what you're doing before you begin).

To start, grab your packing tape and mask off the holes in your pots to help reduce the amount of concrete seeping through the holes.

Place the tape on the outside of your "inside pot" and the inside of your "outside pot". I made the mistake of taping the outside on both pots, and you will see the extra step I had to take because of my error, so trust me on this!

Next, roll the cardboard strip into a circle and tape all the way around to ensure it not only stays together, but also it repels the concrete. Fold the top edge of the tape over the sides of the cardboard circle and cut slits in the bottom of the tape and fold out like propellers. This is how you will attach the cardboard to the pot. This doesn't have to be perfect or pretty, it just needs to be a functioning drainage hole for the planter, chances are you will be the only one to ever see it.

Now it's time to lay down your protective plastic sheeting on your work area and mix the concrete needed for this project! I had an empty Gatorade bottle (I'm a blue Powerade fan through and through, but the store didn't have any Powerade when I wanted something other than water) which was exactly a quart, so I filled it with water so I didn't have to worry about using my Pyrex measureing cup. Measure out half of the bag of Quikrete into the mixing bucket.

and then slowly pour in your quart of water so you don't cause too much dust to go flying.

Then stir (I used both hands) to make sure there were no dry pockets left, especially around the bottom edge.

At this point I thought for sure I had grabbed the wrong concrete mix because the size of the rocks looked like this was never going to work for the planter project but trust me, it will turn out just fine.

After the concrete has been all mixed, use your trusty solo cup to tranfer the quikcrete into the base of the "outside pot", filling the concrete to about level with the cardboard drain piece and knock on the outside of the pot to get rid of air bubbles or pockets and settle the mix.

Now center your "inside pot" inside your "outside pot" so it's resting on the cardboard piece. When you start to fill in the concrete around the edges, your inside pot will want to raise up, so you will either need to hold it down, or weight it with something heavy.

Keep adding concrete by the cup full around the edges and continue knocking on the outside pot to make sure you're getting rid of air pockets. You can also give it a few fast short turns back and forth to help settle the concrete around the edges and level out the mix since it is hard to pour rocky mud evenly into a tight space.

Do this until you either fill the outside bucket or run out of mix (I ran out of mix first but just before the top). Take this last opportunity to really do some knocking up and down and all around the outside bucket, you will probably see air bubbles still escaping from the mix as well as the top leveling out.

Now you can just leave your creation to dry and focus on needed clean up! As soon as possible, rinse your mixing bucket and tools if you plan on ever reusing them, even for the same concrete mixing. Spraying or rubbing with water immediately after finishing will allow for quick clean up! Note the time and wait at least 8 hours before checking your planter's drying progress (this is the amount of time I was able to wait before becoming too curious if the planter project had worked).

You can tell the top is dry because of the lighter color, as well as the gaps which should be showing between the concrete and the nursery pots. At this point come to terms with the fact you might break your inside pot in order to get it out, and start pulling slowly on the edges to release it from the concrete.

The top part should pull away pretty easily, the bottom will be more tricky, just keep pulling the edges of the inside pot towards the middle, working your way around and around, tugging a little harder with each pass until finally you'll hear a loud noise and feel a quick release of the inside pot!

Now there may be a few areas which need cleaning up before trying to extract your planter from it's outside pot (this is only if you're trying to save the outside pot, which I reccomend because you still have half a bag of quikrete, enough for another planter if you like this one!). Remember when I said taping the outside of the outside pot will make for an extra step, well here it is, the fact you'll need to chisel (or flat head screwdriver) a bit of concrete if it seeped through your tape mask.

You'll also want to pry at the edges to make sure the pot isn't stuck to the concrete. Now I was overzealous with my flat head screwdriver and pried more than I should have, though it can be fixed with a little glue or tape if you happen to do the same thing.

Once you have all the obstructions cleared, you'll want to make sure your NON-FRAGILE surface is covered in plastic and tip the planter upside down (remember it's half of a 50lb bag, so you're lifting 25 lbs here, use your legs). Once upside down, lift the pot slightly above the work surface and drop it. Just that little bit of force should drop the planter right out of the pot (if the planter doesn't release, try it again).

Hurray! Now if your planter is like my planter, you'll have to hunt for the drain hole and pry that out as well.

It should come out very easily once you find the cardboard.

Turn your planter right side up and pat yourself on the back for doing such an amazing job!

I love the look of the orgnaic rim of the planter (if you don't you can always sand it down).

And there you have it! Your DIY concrete planter in all it's glory! At this point you can paint it, etch it, ect, I couldn't stand it and put a fern in it right away (even though the fern needs a much bigger pot).

Let us know in the comments what you did with your concrete planter! We'd love to see how your project turned out!

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • Facebook Classic
  • Twitter Classic
  • Google Classic
bottom of page