Dabble: Concrete planter

Use containers from your recycling bin to create these unique concrete planters.

Here’s what you need:

  • concrete
  • water
  • a variety of containers (for your molds and for mixing the concrete in)
  • cooking spray or Vaseline
  • mixing stick
  • paint, paintbrush
  • protective safety equipment (gloves, mask)
  • felt pads


  1. Pick out small and large containers from your recycling bin for your planter molds. For each planter you make will need two containers: one for the outside mold and one for the inside mold (where the plant will sit). Plastic yogurt containers, almond milk containers and coffee cups worked well for us.
  2. Cover areas of the containers that will come in contact with concrete in cooking spray or Vaseline. This will make it easier to separate the mold from the concrete once it has dried.
  3. Mix the concrete and water to a consistency similar to a thick cake batter. This should be done in a well ventilated area, preferably outside. Don’t forget to wear protective safety equipment as directed on the concrete product packaging.
  4. Pour the mixture into the mold. Tap the sides of the container to release any bubbles. Sit the inside mold in the mixture. You may need to weigh it down to prevent it from floating. I used stones to do this.
  5. Allow the concrete to dry. Depending on the concrete mix you are working with, the set times will vary. It took my planters approx. 24 hours to set.
  6. Carefully separate the containers from the concrete. At this point, I allowed an additional 48 hours for the concrete to dry before we decorated it.
  7. Bring out the paint and decorate your new planter!

Since this planter doesn’t have drainage holes, you can put pebbles or stones at the bottom of the planter before adding soil. I also recommend adding felt pads to the bottom of the planter so it doesn’t scratch the surface you put it on.

These planters are great for succulents or cactus plants. If you don’t have a green thumb, you could also use it as a pen holder.

This was my first time trying a project with concrete. I’m so thrilled with the outcome, and my son is very proud of his creation that’s displayed proudly on my desk! I think these would make a great homemade gift so you can bet I have plans to make a few more in the near future.

Try it out! Share photos of your creation on Twitter using #dabble. Don’t forget to tag @SCDSB_Schools.

~ Jamie Campbell, Communications Officer, SCDSB

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