I made a cement bird bath recently, using a Dollar Tree chip and dip tray, which inspired me to make this multi-compartment succulent planter! I thought it would be so nice to see a large selection of succulents in one place. I guess you could call this a chip and dip tray re-purposed to a bird bath mould, re-purposed again.
The hardest thing about this for me was figuring out what type of succulent to plant where. I’m so not good at arranging plants. I had a decent assortment of succulents on hand to choose from, but creating the right layout was a challenge.
- Petal shaped plastic mould
- (2)Rapid set cement
- Disposable plastic bowl
- Disposable plastic cup
- Disposable measuring cup
- Thick latex/nitrile gloves
- Hot glue gun
- Glue sticks
- Chisel or metal file
- Sanding block
- Power drill
- Drill bit that is the same diameter as your glue stick
- Measuring tape or ruler
- X-acto knife- preferably with longer blade than standard
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Step 1: Video Instructions for Cement Succulent Planter
Here's a video to help, but you can also get the full written step by step tutorial below.
Step 2: Materials Photos
Step 3: Trim Up the Glue Stick
First heat up the glue gun. While that’s heating up, take the glue stick and measure out one piece, somewhere between 5/8" and ¾”.
Then use that piece as your template for the rest of the pieces. You will need 14 of them, so take the X-acto and trim each piece.
Step 4: Glue the Glue Sticks
Sounds weird, huh? Yep, in order to create drainage holes for your cement planter, you’ll want to hot glue each of your glue sticks to the bottom of the plastic petal mould. I glued 2 pieces in each petal and the center.
Step 5: Mix the Cement
Pour in the dry cement and some water. Start slowly, and when each scoop has no lumps, then add another scoop and more water. It’s important to mix it in batches to keep the consistency smooth. Altogether I added about 6 cups of mix, so my bowl was about ¾ of the way full. You need enough cement so that when you add the second plastic mould, the cement will spill over the sides.
Step 6: Pour the Cement Mixture Into the Mould
So now that the cement is fully mixed, you can pour it into the mould that has the glued hot glue sticks. You’ll know that you made enough cement mix if the mould is nearly full.
Pat the cement down into the petals and shake the cement mould until you have the cement level in each petal, and if air bubbles rise, pop them and shake until most of the air bubbles are gone and everything looks even.
This next step gets a bit messy, so take a plastic garbage bag and place it underneath the take the 2nd mould piece and push it down on top of the one with the concrete and press firmly, using some body weight for pressure. There will be resistance once you hit the glue sticks, and it’s okay to keep applying some pressure on them.
You will have excess cement coming out of the moulds, this is good- it means you probably have enough cement in there. Just wipe of the excess so that you don’t end up with undercuts that will make removing the cement difficult. Now let it cure for at least 2-3 hours. If it is still warm to the touch, then wait until there is no heat coming off of it.
Step 7: De-mould the Cement Planter
Take off the top mould and then place an old towel underneath and remove the cement from the bottom mould and if it is sticking, just carefully work the plastic away from the cement.
Step 8: Remove the Glue Sticks
Next, keep the towel underneath and remove the glue sticks from the cement planter by using the power dill. This step took a little bit of time to do- probably 15-20 minutes.
Take the drill carefully and drill out the pieces of the glue stick from the bottom of the succulent planter, most of which should be visible from underneath. You may need to pull the drill in and out to get the pieces out. Be careful to drill only the glue and the cement so that you don’t accidentally crack it.
Note: The friction from the drill makes the bit get hot and it will start melting the glue stick, making each one subsequently more difficult to get out and you will need to clean the bit after a handful of sticks have been removed. I used my X-acto to assist with this.
Step 9: Sand the Planter
The cement planter is ready for finishing. You can file or chisel the rough edges and sand. I used a chisel and took down the sharp edges to make it look and feel smoother. After that, I used the sanding block to finish it up- though it really didn’t need much sanding.
Step 10: Plant the Cement Planter
Finally, it’s time for planting. Fill it with soil and add the plants to your homemade cement succulent planter. Please show me pics of how you end up arranging yours!