Deconstructed Planter





This is my first instructable. With my GF out of town I took on a few projects and decided that I would use some of the scraps from those projects to create this one. The idea was to create the illusion that a succulent plant was planted in dirt that retained form from being inside of a planter. I've seen succulents resting on a pile of dirt but for my design I wanted to dirt to maintain a prominent shape, one that is mischievously tucked inside of a broken planter.

To do this I combined modge podge with the soil and packed it against the smaller of the two planters. The soil planter looked cool on its own but I had a lot of spare materials laying around from other projects and I decided to incorporate them.

Step 1: Design

There is definitely room for interpretation here. I bought a threepack of small terrarcotta planters from the dollar store. For my design I needed one small planter and one medium sized. I had a piece of scrap wood laying around that I decided to use as a platform. I also grabbed some river rocks from another planter to help prop up the broken pieces.


1 Small terracotta planter

1 Medium terracotta planter

Modge Podge (Matte)


Small succulent of choice





Sand Paper (100,140,220)

Scrap wood

Stain of choice

Step 2: Small Terracotta Planter

I had some dark blue paint laying around and decided to give the planter a base coat. This should help any small cracks in the soil from exposing the structure.

While the paint dried I mixed 3 part soil 1 part Modge Podge in a plastic bag. Once the paint dried I put the planter inside of it sitting upright. I made sure that there was a layer of the mixture under it. I sealed the bag pressing all air out of it left it alone for 4 hours. This was arbitrary as I was winging it.

After four hours passed I opened the bag up and started patching areas (with modge podge soil mix) that still looked like a planter. To speed up the drying process I used a hair dryer.

When your satisfied with your pot trickery I recommend taking a spoon to scoop out all of the mixture that may have gotten inside of the planter. I didn't want my plants roots to mix with modge podge.

Fill up the planter with good clean soil and plant your succulent.

Step 3: Medium Sized Terracotta Planter

I had a broken medium sized planter laying around but making one is easy. The optional step is to paint it which I would recommend. Once the paint is dry, crack the planter from the side, the goal is to still have a solid base. Preserving one side adds a nice effect. Break the pieces up as you see fit mine has 3-4 nice sized shards and a couple of smaller ones.

Step 4: Plant Stand/base

I had a small piece of scrap wood laying around. Sanding and staining has recently been my favorite part of building things (working on an arcade made out of reclaimed wood) so I figured it was worth incorporating into this design.

What works for me:

Sand with the grain using 120 grit then 180 then 220. Clean the wood. Using a foam brush cover the surface with water (purified if possible). Don't let it puddle, "paint it on". When the water fully dries sand using 220 grit.

Stain with whatever works for you. I paint stain on with a foam brush (99c store sells 8 packs) and then wipe with a shop towel. Make sure to really wipe hard to get all excess off. Repeat if you want darker, coating is optional. I left coating off to keep it more natural/gritty.

Step 5: Setting It Up

Place the medium planter shell on the corner of your wood. Place the small planter inside the shell of the medium one. I wedged the larger pieces around and tried to give the effect of it breaking and falling apart. I wanted to keep the colors from the exterior exposed but didn't want to overdo it. I used some river rocks to prop up and secure the layout. Have fun moving things around to find the perfect look!

Planter Challenge

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Planter Challenge



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    11 Discussions


    1 year ago on Introduction

    That is a unique way of using a storage pot as a decorative. I think you would need to think out of the box in order to achieve this creative result. If someone who is always direct like myself, it might require some time to get my creative juices pouring out. Thus, ideas from others are what inspire me always.


    Tip 1 year ago on Step 5

    The initial instructable called to crack the larger terracotta pot. After a few weeks of it sitting on the table I've decided that I like keeping the same size pot in tact next to it. It looks clean and gives the effect that I was looking to achieve. Up to you guys to decide what you like when you make yours!


    Question 1 year ago on Step 5

    How does watering work? The planter that you made of the modge podge - does it have holes in the bottom and if so does the water just run out?

    1 answer

    Answer 1 year ago

    Yes. To be more specific, the terracotta frame that the modge podge / soil stick to has a hole at the bottom. Water will run through the pot and out the bottom. Given the nature of succulents you shouldn't be drowning it so the chance that you miss the inside of the pot and hit the mode podge mix is kept to a minimum.

    I'd recommend slowly pouring water with a measuring cup or similar but it's not necessary.


    1 year ago

    very creative concept, and well executed as well as documented :)

    2 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks 38ren! (lack of) Documentation seems to be the reason why I don't publish my projects. Over the barrier now and I look forward to posting more in the near future!


    Reply 1 year ago

    Great! Hope to see more :)