Introduction: Cement Decor Planters

Hi there! I'm Santiago, I am currently a 10th grader at the American School Foundation of Monterrey. I've always enjoyed hands on activities and am always glad when teachers assign projects that get my mind up and running in a creative way. Keeping this in mind, when I started this project, I absolutely loved the idea of creating something new and trying out new things.

Once I started thinking about what to do, I wanted to challenge myself and explore areas I was not comfortable with nor had any prior experience with. When I saw the "Concrete, Cement, Stone" challenge, I knew it was the perfect opportunity.

With all this being said, Today we will learn how to make a rustic decor planter. These are amazing to: place around the house, sell and make profit in a creative and different way or even to take some time off (specially needed nowadays, being so close to our screens for so long) while focusing on ourselves and our well being. An additional advantage to this planter is it's uniqueness; no matter how much you try, each and every planter is completely one of a kind due to the way the cement flows and the way you arrange your plants (if you do decide add plants, you could always give it other purposes), which shows another reason why these planters are so personal!


For base:

Cement (ready to mix with water)





Something to stir with (I used a wooden tongue depressor)


Plastic / foam cup

For plants:

Pebbles (1 cm in diameter)

Pebbles (4 cm in diameter)

Activated Charcoal



Plants (whichever ones you like for the size of your planter, I like succulents and went with medium ones)

Colored pebbles for decoration

Step 1: Blow Up a Balloon and Place It in a Cup

Blow up a balloon. Once you have a blown and tied the knot on the balloon, place on a cup (over a plate *optional* to avoid mess) with the knot facing towards the bottom of the cup

Step 2: Make Your Cement Mixture

Mix your cement (if you bought the cement by itself you might need to mix with some sand, try to buy the cement that’s ready to mix). There is no exact ratio of water to cement, however add little by little until you get the consistency you see here in the video, I added about ⅓ : 1 cup ratio of water to cement however try to start with less than what you need and work your way up; in case you do add too much water, you can always go back and add more cement.

Step 3: Cover the Balloon in the Cement Mixture

Grab whatever you used to mix the cement(I used a wooden tongue depressor, and start covering the balloon with cement all around until is completely covered(be very generous). If it is not perfect don’t worry, it will add to the rustic look which is what we are going for...

Step 4: Wait 24 Hours for the Cement to Dry and Repeat With More Cement

Wait until the dried cement does not feel moist anymore to prepare more cement mixture; quickly and extremely carefully start applying another layer of cement on top of the older one, this one will make the whole planter much more resistant and strong. You don’t have to follow the past design, in fact, the imperfections of it all are what makes it look so fun and different! If you look closely, you can see that I actually went below my previous design to add more texture to the whole planter.

Step 5: Wait Another 24 Hours and Carefully Pop the Balloon

Once the cement is completely dry, you can pop the balloon being extremely careful to release the air slowly to prevent the planter from collapsing due to the the sudden pop in the balloon. Here are some photos/videos of how I deflated the balloon with a needle, taking precautions.

Step 6: Remove Plants From Their Pot and the Dirt From Their Roots

carefully, take the plants out of the container you bought them in and place them in your working station like in the photo. Once you do this, press with your finger lightly on the roots (Making sure not to damage them), in order to remove excess soil and prepare them for a smooth translation into the cement planter.

Step 7: Pour in the Materials in Order

  1. Sand
    • Pour in sand so that it is covering the bottom portion of the planter.
  2. Big pebbles
    • Pour in pebbles so that they are just one layer but cover as much as the sand as possible.
  3. Small pebbles
    • Pour in the small pebbles so that they barely cover the bigger pebbles.
  4. Activated Charcoal
    • Pour in the activated charcoal, again like with the small pebbles, you need a little bit, just make sure it is evenly spread around and covering the pebbles like you see in the photo. Don't add more than you need!!
  5. Moss
    • Before you add in the moss make sure to leave it soaking in water for about 2 minutes and then proceed to drain it. Once you have completed that, add it to your planter and be generous with this one so that it creates a whole new layer.
  6. Soil
    • The soil is the most important part, your plants will get all their nutrients from here! Make sure to fill up like in the photo so you still have some space where you can add as many plants as you’d like, keeping this in mind, do try to add as much soil as possible, without being excessive and going over the top.

Step 8: Dig Small Holes on the Soil’s Surface for Plants

This part is definitely one of the easiest. Here you have to decide where you want to put your plants and dig a hole for the first plant you will place in its new home. Keep in mind that you only dig in the soil, try not dig up to the other layers!

Step 9: Place Your Plants and Support Them With the Surrounding Soil

As you can see in the photo, once you have placed the plant in the hole you dug up for them you need to support them with the surrounding soil to help them stand by themselves. With your finger just pour soil from the surrounding soil into the hole you created earlier, and press in order to help them stand on their own. This last step is especially crucial for tall plants like the cactus you can see in the photo.

Step 10: (Optional) Cover Soil Surface With Black, Caramel, or Any Colored Pebbles

Once you are done, you are free to decorate! I went with these caramel colored pebbles to make my terrarium more appealing, however you are free to be creative and decorate however you want! That's the fun thing about this project, you get to be CREATIVE !!!

Stone, Concrete, Cement Challenge

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Stone, Concrete, Cement Challenge