Introduction: Disco Ball Hanging Planter
Do you love the plant life? Got to boogie? (🎶 on the garden grounds, oh yeah🎶) If you're looking for a New Year's Eve decoration you can keep up all year long, this tutorial shows you how to take a simple hanging ceramic planter and transform it into a disco ball hanging planter that reflects light in your garden or home in fun and mesmerizing ways.
In researching for this project, I found out that the disco ball was patented in 1916!! Long before it's hay day in the 1970s, you could see a 'myriad reflector' hanging in in jazz night clubs during the 1910s and 1920s. (Source)
Lastly, If you know me, you know I'm...kind of a raver. I've been listening to electronic music since I was a teenager and have traveled around the world in pursuit of dance parties. With this uncertain time, I'm not sure I'll be able to dance with my friends any time soon, but that won't stop me from dancing in the garden with the help of this jolly planter. Are you kind of a raver too? 🕺💃 You can subscribe to my curated monthly playlists here. It's a genre-hopping mix of electronica, rock, folk, R&B, and of course, disco.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
Here are all the tools and materials I used for this build. Consumables
- Hanging ceramic pot - I used a ceramic hanging planter that had a great sphere shape, but there are so many shapes to choose from. My local nursery also had a selection of used pots that had some pretty wacky shapes at a discount.
- 1000 1cm mirror tiles
- stainless steel chain
- swivel hook
- glue syringe
- glue to fill it with
- For the inside of the pot I'm using a trimmed plastic pot and drainage dish.
- gemsetter tool
- It's nice to have a couple different kinds of pliers on hand for being wire and splitting chain, some strong cutters also are helpful.
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Step 2: Testing Glue
For what it's worth, I tried a lot of different glues for this project, and found that the 527 adhesive from Beacon had the quickest tack time and dried with the fewest air-bubbles and most flexible hold - perfect for days in the sun.
Step 3: Loading a Glue Syringe
You should never use glue straight from the tube or bottle, you should always use some kind of applicator like a syringe, brush or stick.
When loading the syringe, it's important to wear gloves to prevent getting any glue drips on your skin. I've seen crafters even use paint tube squeezers on their glue tubes to help be one step removed from the tubes.
Step 4: Prepping Glazed Ceramic
Gluing anything to glazed ceramic isn't going to go well unless you sand it first.
To prep this planter, I used 120 grit and 220 grit sand paper to rough up the glaze to create more nooks and crannies for the adhesive to bond to the planter and mirror tile.
It's a good idea to wipe the planter off with rubbing alcohol and a lint free cloth to remove any grit or residue before you begin gluing.
Step 5: Setting the Mirror Tiles
Depending on the surface area of the tiles you're working with, I would either apply glue the back of the gem or the surface of the planter - but not both.
If you take on this project, just get a feel for the glue - other industrial glues may have a slightly different consistency and flow, just another reason for testing adhesives before applying. (I have heard some unfortunate stories of things being glued together that CANNOT be undone :( Worst.).
Waiting for the glue to set before moving on to the next area to work on is important. The tiles start holding their place after about a minute, but you don't want to do any inversions or move it around too much.
Remember, WORK WITH GRAVITY - science is your friend.
The glue takes 10 minutes to really set - if it is too cold or damp where you are trying to use glues, you can use a hair dryer on low to speed up the setting process.
After the glue has set for a full 24 hours, you can pull off any remaining masking tape or pesky glue strings quite easily with a pair of tweezers.
Want even more tips for how to work with this kind of glue? Check out this page.
Step 6: Keep Going
Strap in, it took a super long time to set all these tiles.
May I suggest this disco playlist?
Step 7: Keep Setting Tiles in the Round
I found it looked best when I staggered the seams of the glass tiles, starting at a new point on each row that was glued on to the form.
Not to sound like the Bob Ross of adhesives, but it's your disco ball planter, play with it - there are no mistakes.
Step 8: Almost Done
Working in the round for many rows can be very meditative, but don't zen out so much that you cover up the holes where the hardware is supposed to go with mirror tiles.
You may have to play with the spacing around the holes so wait for the row below it to be completely dried first.
Step 9: Adding Hanging Hardware
In the future I hope to figure out a more refined hanging hardware solution, but in the interim, I looked around my studio and had a boatload of copper magnet wire whcih is both very easy to shape and cut while being very strong.
Using a wire cutter, I cut 4x 10" lengths of magnet wire and 4x 2' long sections of stainless steel chain. I later shortened the chain a few inches before hanging the planter.
Step 10: Create Hanging Points
Working one mounting point at a time, I inserted the the magnet wire into through the hole in the top of the ceramic pot and looped it back on itself using a pair of jewelry pliers to create a few securing loops, then trimmed the excess.
Step 11: Hang in the Garden or in Your Home.
I connected the chain by opening the bottom link of each chain length with pliers and securing it around the magnet wire. The top of each chain length meets at the clip on swivel hardware listed in the tools and materials step.
Since making this project about a year ago, I've found a faster way to make this project with more power tools - I hope to share that version soon, but it's available in my DIY product shop now. :)