I’m trying to get a little better at tending to plants, and have subsequently been looking for new garden pots. I had my eye on an incredible ceramic blocked planter at Anthropologie, but neglected to act quickly enough and it sold out. The pot was studded with chunky ceramic bricks, and I was drawn to the idea of trying to use different materials as beads of texture on the outside of a pot. With a thick, dry-brush coat of black and white paint, many recycled materials can take on the look of clay. I dipped into my stash of old wine corks and scrap wood for this project, but it’s kinda fun to root around the house for old materials to see what other textures and shapes you might be able to use :)—Kate
- ceramic pots (unglazed or rough surfaced ones are preferable, but glossy finish ones will also work)
- quick-set epoxy (not pictured)
- chopstick or small brush (for applying glue)
- 15–20 small balsa blocks, corks, glass beads or other small objects
- black paint
- white paint
- 1–2″ wide paintbrush
- scrap paper or tarp
- clear protective sealant spray paint (matte)
- small craft saw or coping saw (not pictured)
- small square of sandpaper (not pictured)
- painter’s tape or masking tape (not pictured)
Time: 2–4 hours (including drying time)
Cost: around $40–$50 for three pots (Depending on the prices of pots — my pots were all under $15 form Home Depot, and I had corks and beads on hand, but those should cost under $10, as well.)
1. Use your small saw to cut corks and wood balsa blocks in half (or thirds, depending on the shape you want). You will need about 40 cork halves or 20 balsa block halves to create a design like the ones above. Sand the bottoms to remove any splinters and make them smooth.
2. Mix up a small batch of epoxy on a plastic yogurt lid or paper plate, following the instructions on the epoxy label. Use the chopstick to apply a small dab of epoxy on the bottom of the cork/balsa block/bead and stick the piece to the pot about 1″ to 1.5″ from the top rim. I eyeballed the placement for everything, but you could measure and map it out beforehand if you prefer a more perfect composition.
Note: I chose epoxy for this project because it creates an incredibly strong, durable bond — those pieces are NOT coming off once the glue has set. It’s also very tacky so you won’t have the pieces sliding around much as you are putting them on, but they are slightly repositionable for about a minute, so if you make a mistake you can adjust easily. If pieces do begin to slide, simply place a piece of tape over the piece to hold it in place while the glue sets.
3. Once you’ve added all the pieces, set the pot aside for the glue to set. Epoxy sets very quickly, so you should be able to paint these pieces within 15 minutes of gluing.
4. Place pots on a painting surface and cover with black paint. I added no water to the paint so I could achieve a very thick dry-brush effect. Let the coat of paint dry.
5. Once the coat of black paint is completely dry, go back over the whole piece with white paint. Again, I added no water and used a dry brush. Don’t feel you have to cover every inch of the pot, and you can use a paper towel to rub off the paint in some spots. This will add to the weathered, organic look, mimicking a rough glaze. Once you have covered the pot in white, set it aside to dry again.
6. Once the paint is dry, take the pots to a well-ventilated spot and cover with a coat of clear matte spray. This will protect your paint job from rubbing or wearing off when the pot gets wet.
7. Add plants, and you’re done!