I did a roundup post about concrete DIY projects and home decor inspiration, and I’ve been wanted to try my hand at a concrete project since posting it. Everything I read said that concrete was pretty easy to work with, I just couldn’t decide what I wanted to make first. I wanted it to be something small and manageable because I figured that would be easier to not completely mess up, so when I saw a small container of Makers Mix concrete at my local Jo-Ann, I thought it’d be perfect for some tiny planters!
Makers Mix concrete is more expensive than regular concrete, but it comes in a small container, which was all I needed. It also solidifies in 30 minutes, which is much faster than regular concrete, and it is a bit lighter due to some filler materials in the powder. Plus I had a coupon, because you should never shop at a craft store without a coupon! I went home with a 3-pound tub of concrete and a square-shaped plastic mold specifically designed for Makers Mix concrete. (Makers Mix also makes a round mold and concrete coloring powder, but I didn’t use either.)
And here’s how to make concrete succulent planters.
Step 1: Makers Mix is a powder, so the first step is to measure the amount of powder you’ll need. Then add your water. If you use the Makers Mix molds, the packages give you the exact measurements you’ll need for concrete powder and water, so it’s very convenient.
Stir the water into the concrete powder until it is thoroughly mixed. You’ll notice little white balls in the concrete mix—that’s the filler Makers Mix uses to make this concrete lighter. More on that later. At this point I was also a little disappointed that the mixture looked very brown. I wanted it to look gray like concrete does—never fear, it will look gray when it dries!
Step 2: Grab a paper towel and grease the surfaces of the mold that the concrete will touch. The mold comes in two parts: the bottom part that you pour the concrete into and the top part that you press into the bottom part to create the bowl shape. So you’ll be greasing the inside of the bottom piece and the outside of the top piece. Make sense?
Once greased, slowly dump your concrete mixture into the bottom pieces and gently press the smaller piece in.
Step 3: To make sure all little corners are filled and air bubbles are popped, take a spoon and tap all the way around the mold to settle the concrete. You can even gently drop it a few inches onto the floor to help everything settle.
Step 4: After the mixture has solidified, pull the mold pieces off. You have a little planter! Now just grab some sandpaper—I used 220-grit to sand down and polish the edges since some of them were a little uneven.
Here are my planters with some succulents planted in them.
Here are a few tips on working with Makers Mix…
1. With the square mold and the 3-pound tub of powder, I had enough concrete to make two full-sized bowls. I didn’t have enough for a third bowl, so I had to do a little math to figure out the powder/water ratio. Once I figured that out, I just ended up with a bowl that was shorter and shallower than the other two. Not sure why Makers Mix doesn’t sell a tub that has enough powder for three molds.
2. These molds are reusable, and I’m planning to try using them with a real concrete mix in the future. I’ll let you know how that one turns out!
3. You will have some slight variations in color, but that is to be expected with any kind of concrete.
4. You will be able to see the little white filler balls on some areas. It seems they show only on areas that weren’t against part of the mold. They show a little bit more when you sand a lot.
For this planter, I didn’t do a ton of sanding. However, you can see that they aren’t completely even, and that’s because I didn’t “drop” the mold enough to even out the concrete.
For this one, I got the concrete to settle evenly and only did some light standing.
And this one required some heavy sanding, so you can see that the white balls really show.
If seeing the white spots bothers you, you might want to use a concrete without a filler. The areas that were pressed against the mold are super smooth, though. I’d definitely give this mix a try if you want to get started working with concrete!