This weekend I really wanted to use up some of my craft supplies. I have a ton of acrylic paint I never use. I bought 2 small cement planters (flower pots, cachepots, etc.) from Jamali in the NYC floral district a little while ago with the intention of dressing them up. They look pretty but it’s often hard to find something that looks more unique. I think each one was around $3-4.

Just so you know, they do have an online store so you can buy from them online, but I didn’t see the actual product I bought on their site so if you happen to be in the NYC metro area, it might be worth physically going there. They are located 149 West 28th street between 6th and 7th aves and are open Monday through Saturday. Attention early risers: Jamali opens at 6:30 am and they close at 5pm so make sure you get there earlier in the day. It can get a bit crowded.

So this is how the planter turned out:

cement planter painted animation

I used an old paint brush that I had lying around, some leftover gold and white paint, and some artist masking tape. I tried regular masking tape first but it was a bit hard to pull off so the artist masking tape proved easier to use for this purpose.

Step 1: Apply the masking tape to the planter exterior

First, I applied the artist masking tape to the outside of the planter. I decided how I wanted to position the tape and how much of each color I wanted to show on each side.

Step 2: Use a brush to paint over the exposed areas

Then I used the brush to paint over the exposed areas coloring each segment. I tried to paint all of the sides in one sitting, which would have been manageable, but I needed a few of the sides to dry a little before finishing off the last side. I didn’t wait for the paint to completely dry before pulling off the tape. I was afraid that if I waited too long the paint might end up pulling the paint up with the tape if I waited for it all to dry.

Step 3: Finish the remaining fourth side

Carefully, I removed the tape as I painted the segments as I went along. After about 20 or so minutes of leaving it alone with 3 of the sides complete, I finished the last side.

Step 4: Fill it!

filled planter with ficus benjamina

Once it was all totally dry, I filled it with one of my plants that was outgrowing a terrarium. What plant is this you ask? It is a weeping fig, a popular indoor ornamental plant (ficus benjamina). I’ll probably devote a separate post on popular indoor species and a few of the things I’ve done to keep them happy.

Also, I have seen that people have used enamel — I believe enamel is oil-based, which is likely waterproof. The one I made is meant for indoor use only. If you want to waterproof this, you can get a spray paint clear gloss from Home Depot or Lowes to spray over your finished work. This will prevent the acrylic from coming off when exposed to the elements. I also think that even if you use enamel, it is still best to apply a clear gloss coat over your work if you plan on using the planter outside.

In general, I was amazed at how quickly the planter customization could be done. I was pleased with the result and happy that I could use up some of my art supplies that have not been getting much use.

planter_craft filled planter with ficus benjamina planter images