Introduction: (UPCYCLED) PLANTER-abra

This is an Instructable for Upcycled Planter-abras AKA candelabras that have been upcycled to hold plants. Hence "Planter" instead of "candle"! haha... Get it?

This project has 5 elements that I enjoy.

1) transformation: old candelabra is transformed into a sleek looking candelabra

2) "old stuff" aka the tea cups, being used to help the "new stuff" aka plants (grow)

3) updating while keeping character/charm: making the old tea cups "cool" by having them be used to hold cacti and succulents. The tea cups still have their charm though.

4) Juxtaposition: I find projects most interesting when there is some sort of juxtaposition with the elements within the project. The "old" floral patters on the tea cups verses the "new"ness of the plants

5) Functionality: this piece still holds things. but now it holds something that grows (plants) instead of things that shrink (candles).

side note: check your tea cup manufacturers/brands before you use them. I didnt do this and apparently one tea cup/saucer I used was realllllllllly nice...... ugh (lol).

Hope you enjoy this instructable and please vote for it if you do!



Step 1: Gather Materials!

This instructable is for a structure that will have succulents or cacti in tea cups. You can use other kinds of plants but you would have to make proper drainage for these plants. For this Instructable we are also leaving the succulents and cacti in the pots they came in because they contain everything the plant needs to live soil/ proper drainage wise. You can take them out of the pot you will just have to recreate the proper environment for the plant you chose. That entails possibly needing more soil and pebbles/sand. You can google how to make terrariums or how to plant the other kind of plant you chose to make sure you do this accurately.

For this instructable you will need the following:

1) Candelabra - the actual pieces that hold the candles need to be sawed off. This instructable assumes you have removed the parts that hold the camera in place before starting this instructable. I got my candelabra for $1.50 at a yard sale. The person who sold it to me sawed these off these for me.

2) sandpaper - for stripping the shiny paint off your candelabra. I started using coarse sandpaper but less coarse sandpaper would probably be better.

3) Spray paint in the color of your choosing - will be used to paint the candelabra

4) Acrylic Coating Spray. I used Krylon Crystal Clear.

5) Tea cups and tea cup saucers - one for every candle space on your candelabra.

I got a bunch of tea cups and saucers from the same yard sale where I got the candelabra... Pretty sweet. I wanted to use mismatched tea cups/ saucers. Out of the tea cups pictured, I chose 4 to use (since i have four candle spaces on my candelabra) and mismatched their saucers. It helps if you have the candelabra with you when you are picking out the tea cups and saucers because then you can make sure the tea cups and saucers will fit on the candelabra. My candelabra's candle spaces are kind of close together. So I cant use the bigger saucers in this project because they dont fit on the candelabra. I have to use a smaller saucer with the big tea cups. This isnt an issue since I am mismatching tea cups/saucers

6) Succulents/cacti - one cactus or succulent for every candle space. I have one large tea cup and got a pot of 3 small succulents for this tea cup.

If you want different kinds of plants, you'll need one of these per candle space and make sure the plants will get proper drainage.

7) adhesive - I will be using E6000 but you can use any glue that will work with ceramics and metal.

8) functioning sink or water than can be used to wash the candelabra and teacups/saucers
(Not pictured)

9) paper towel to dry off candelabra and teacups/saucers
(Not pictured)

10) newspaper - to protect work space for both using the spray paint/acrylic and for keeping the workspace from getting dirty
(Not pictured)

You may need the following:

- paint brush and paint to paint any pots that go over the rim of the tea cup. My pot that has 3 succulents in it goes over the rim and i don't want it to look like a pot sitting in a tea cup even though that is what it is.

- extra pebbles to fill in gaps between pot and teacup. These can be decorative glass pieces or small pebbles from outside. You choose! (Not pictured, yet)

- masking tape and a tile floor. These would be useful when transplanting your plants into the tea cups on candelabra. Don't want to knock the candelabra over while transplanting the plants, so you can use the tape to tape the legs of the candelabra onto the floor for added security. (Not pictured)

- scissors if you would rather cut the pots down instead of painting them (if they are plastic pots. Can't cut them if they are clay pots). (Not pictured)

Step 2: Wash Candelabra, Tea Cups and Saucers

Wash and dry the candelabra, tea cups and saucers. We want them to be clean (especially the candelabra for painting purposes).

Step 3: Sand Candelabra

Sand the candelabra to remove shiny surfaces (glossy paint). Look at your spray paint bottle directions to see if you need to sand yours. Do this if your candelabra doesn't contain lead paint.

I used coarse sand paper but it was taking more paint off than was necessary. So you can probably just use less coarse sandpaper or be more gentle with coarse sand paper than I was. The idea is to prepare the candelabra for painting. Your spray paint can will tell you in what conditions you need to sand your candelabra.

To be honest, I hated the sound of scraping the paint off the candelabra so I only did a portion of the candelabra. My Platerabra will be inside so I'm not worried about moisture or anything messing up the paint job.

Step 4: Paint Candelabra

In a well ventilated space (outside is best!) follow instructions on your spray paint can to paint the whole candelabra. It is best to keep can about 10" away from it and do a few light coats of paint instead of holding the can very close to the candelabra and doing 1 coat of paint. This will probably be written on the label of your can also for your reference.

Let dry completely. See spray paint bottle for approximate drying time.

Step 5: Apply Acrylic Coating

Follow instructions on your acrylic coating spray to spray the candelabra with acrylic coating.

This spray will help protect the paint.

Let dry completely. See spray acrylic bottle for approximate drying times.

Step 6: Decide on Tea Cup and Saucer Placement

Decide on where you want to put each saucer and tea cup. This will depend on what size saucers and tea cups you have as well as the design of the tea cups and saucers (if you want to mismatch them or have a pattern. etc).

If you do this by placing them on top of your candelabra, be careful to not knock your candelabra... We don't want your tea cups and saucers to break! So if you want to use this method you might want to have someone help you hold the cups and saucers in place.

Step 7: Decide Which Plant to Put in Which Tea Cup

Step 8: Adhere Saucers and Tea Cups

Use your glue to glue your saucers to the candelabra.

If the bottom rim of your saucer is smaller than the top candle parts of the candelabra, best way how to apply the glue would be to apply the glue to the bottom rim of the saucer and placing the saucer centered onto the candle platform.

If the bottom rim of your saucer is larger than the candle holder platforms, place the glue on the outer rim of the candle platform and then press the saucer centered onto the platforms.

Be sure to watch for glue drips and remove them if any occure.

Let dry completely (see glue container for approximate drying time).

Use the same logic to glue the tea cups centered onto the saucers.

Let dry completely again.

Step 9: Paint Pots If Needed

If you have any pots that go above the top rim of the tea cup it's going to go in, paint it now.

Be careful to not dump the plant out of the pot! Haha

Let dry completely.

Step 10: Transfer Plants to Tea Cups

Place the potted plants into their respective tea cups. Fill in the space between pot and tea cup with the pebbles/decorative pieces you have.

Step 11: Finishing Touches

Fill in the gaps (if applicable) between the tea cups and pots with your pebbles or decorative pieces.

I do not have pictures for this step because I need to find ones that I like but I am too eager to publish this instructable!

Will update this when I get the pebbles !

Step 12: PLANTER-abra Time!!!


Be sure to water your plants according to the type of plant and their size.

Hope you enjoyed this instructable! Please vote for it!

Best, Elana

Reuse Contest

Participated in the
Reuse Contest