Introduction: Concrete Planter - 3D Printing Build

About: Designer and maker using 3D printing and CNC to blend the digital and physical into something beautiful and functional.

I wanted to update the planter I had in my office-- its basic and white and not of my own creation and that was going to change this month. I am really into concrete these days and it looks great on a white desk so I designed the planter to be either 3D printed or made out of concrete using a 3D printed mold. I will cover instructions for both methods below. The planter is specifically for a fake plant, and not intended to keep any real plants alive.

Step 1: What You Will Need

Step 2: 3D Printed Parts (Choose 1)

Concrete Mold (~9 hours @ 60 mm/s) - follow option 1 instructions

  • Filament choice not important
  • 0.2mm or greater layer height
  • 10% infill (I chose fast honeycomb pattern)
  • Support not required

3D Printed Planter Only (~11 hours @ 60 mm/s) - follow option 2 instructions

  • Filament choice not really important
  • 0.2mm layer height
  • 20% infill
  • Support optional

Step 3: ​Option 1: Finishing 3D Printed Planter

  1. Remove any support material if it was used.
  2. Start by sanding down each outer portion of the printed parts – starting with 120 and slowly progressing up to 320 (or higher if desired).
  3. Using a lightly damp cloth, wipe down sanded parts to remove any dust
  4. Apply 1-2 coats of primer.
  5. Lightly sand down dry primed parts with 600+ grit sandpaper.
  6. Using a lightly damp cloth, wipe down sanded parts to remove any dust.
  7. Apply 2-3 coats of paint to the planter.
  8. Apply 1-2 coats of clear coat.

Step 4: Option 2: Creating the Concrete Planter

Option 2: Creating the Concrete Planter

  1. Gather some cups of water for the concrete mix, I used slightly less than 2 solo cups of water.
  2. Start by mixing the water and concrete together in a bucket or container of your choice. I like to mix a full cup of concrete with a quarter cup of water and slowly add more to the mixture. 4 cups or so of concrete should be sufficient. You want the consistency to be a little more liquidy than cake batter so add the water slowly if its starting out too liquid.
  3. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Spray inside of mold with cooking spray.
  5. Pour concrete into mold. Be sure to fill to the top edge.
  6. Shake the planter gently or use an orbital sander to vibrate the sides of the mold to release any bubbles in the mold.
  7. I sprayed a small piece of scrap wood with cooking spray and set it on top of the hole so the base would be flat.
  8. Let the concrete harden over the next 48 hours.
  9. At this point you should break apart the plastic mold to retrieve the concrete. This can be a little tricky - I used a box cutter blade, and a few other hand tools to break apart the plastic. Try not to put too much force on the concrete as it might chip or break.
  10. Once your concrete planter is out you can paint or use as-is.
  11. Add your fake greenery of choice and enjoy!