Rustic Succulent Box

This rustic succulent box can be a nice decoration for an inside room in your home. This project was specifically created in school, however, you may substitute items to make it manageable to make at your home. It takes about two weeks to complete if you use the set steps and don't substitute the original materials.

Step 1: Gathering Your Materials

For this project, you will first need to gather your materials. If you wish to make your pots handmade like in this instructable, they will require extra time and special equipment.

Your materials include: a pottery wheel, clay, a sponge, clay tools, a small bucket of water, a small board to put your pots on when done on the wheel, a kiln (one regular and a glazing kiln), glaze, paint brushes, hot glue/epoxy glue, a wooden box to but the succulents in, succulent soil, actual succulents (3).

If you do not have access to some of these materials, you may find that using air dry clay and regular acrylic paint may be more reasonable. If this is the case, you can find these items at a local craft store.

Step 2: Getting Started on the Wheel

To make your three pots, gather all your clay and make sure all air bubbles are out (wedge the clay).

  • Sit in a chair, resting your elbows on your knees. Put the clay on the center of the wheel head.
  • The easiest way to do this is by throwing the clay with some force on the center.
  • Spin the wheel fairly fast. With a bowl of water wet hands and clay. Cup the clay in the hands, squeeze it using legs for extra strength, and bring it up into a tower shape. If you're using a kick wheel, you can control how fast the clay will spin, but you'll need a lot of strength. An electric wheel takes less energy, but you have less control over the speed.
  • Push the clay down and in on the wheel at the same time, letting extra clay and water slide away from your hands and off the wheel. The first thing you want to do is called centering the clay.
  • The ball of clay should look even, and be rotating evenly, like the wheel of a car when viewed from the side.
  • Using both hands firmly against the spinning clay, pull it into a conical shape.Then push your tower down with one hand and keep it stable with the other hand. This is done three or four times to help center the clay and to keep the clay aligned correctly.
  • Make sure that your arms are firmly in position and pressed into your thighs. Start by cupping the clay in both hands with your thumbs over the top. Make sure that your hands and the clay are always wet. Pull your wrists back slightly while pressing down and holding them rigid. Start compressing and smoothing the clay with your palms. Only do slight movements, a little pressure goes a long way.The second method for centering clay is by using one hand at the side of the clay and one hand on top. Both are pushing on the clay to smooth it out. Again, only use your palms and keep your arms locked against your body.

Step 3: Opening Your Pots

  1. Once the clay is centered, it is time to open it. To start you need to make a hole in the center. To do this, start by moving your finger across the top of the clay in a straight line. This is so you find the exact center.
  2. If the hole is not started in the exact middle, the clay will begin to wobble and you will have to follow the steps above to recenter it.
  3. Slowly push your forefinger straight down into the center of the spinning clay, about an inch from the bottom, using the other hand to cup the clay and act as a stabilizer at the same time.
  4. Slowly remove your finger from the hole.
  5. You can do this for as long as you wish, making them as tall or short as you need

Step 4: Firing Your Work

Now that you have made your pots, you should place them in a pottery kiln on the lowest heat option. It requires about three days for these to be fully fired,so keep in mind it does take time. If you do not have access to a kiln, remember that air dry clay is a good substitute that will work just as well- still leave at least 48 hours for your work to dry. Any extra items or decorations you wish to add to your designs, clay only, you may do so at this point. Make sure you slip and score each piece on to prevent it from breaking off in the kiln. Any extra pieces you don't wish to attach may simply just sit on the shelf in the kiln.

Step 5: Glazing Your Pots

Now that it has been three days, you can take your work out of the kiln and rinse it under cold water to get any dust off. Next, you should pick out any colors you wish to glaze your pottery with. Once you have all your colors, begin by taking a paintbrush and apply two coats to your pottery. You SHOULD NOT glaze the bottom of anything because the glaze will stick to the kiln and you won't be able to get it out.

Step 6: Firing Your Glazed Pots

You have now glazed all your pottery and it is ready to be fired yet again. Place all your pottery on the 'y' shaped stilts and place them in the kiln. The stilts will help your work not stick to the kiln. After you have set it on the lowest temperature, wait at least 24 hours for your work to be completely glazed. Once you remove your work carefully, it is time to brainstorm ideas for your final project.

Step 7: Prepping Your Final Project

Take all of your fired pots and decor and lay it out. Think of how you wish to arrange your succulent box. Once you have your idea, draw a small sketch on a piece of paper to follow for later.

Step 8: Planting Your Succulents

YAY! You have made it to the last few steps. It is now time to plant your succulents. Start by placing two teaspoons of water in the bottom of your pots. Then, fill the pots half way with succulent soil. Next, place your succulents in the center of each pot. Continue to add soil around each succulent, filling it almost to the top.

Step 9: Putting Your Box Together

Now, using your special glue, take your pots and glue them in the exact location where you want them to be. At this time, you should add any other decorations you wish to your box.

Step 10: Your Finished Product

Congratulations! You have made a rustic looking succulent box holder. This is a beautiful decoration for inside your own home or can even be used as a gift! Enjoy!

Some care instructions: Make sure the succulents get plenty of water and sunlight. You should water them once a week. Don't place in direct outside sunlight, behind a window or in a central area is perfect.

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