Make Your Own Cement Cloth Planting Pot
Want a unique rustic planter for your front porch, lanai or just about anywhere? These cement cloth planters are a fun easy project for everyone. It’s a bit messy, kind of like making mud pies, and there are a few safety precautions you’ll want to know about, but for an afternoon project… it can’t be beat!
Items You’ll Need:
- Kitchen style gloves with long cuffs
- Dust Mask
- Portland Cement (NOT concrete) You can use white or gray
- Perlite (this is optional with these)
- Peat Moss or coconut fiber
- Large Mixing Container (something long and shallow works best… like a rubbermaid container)
- Cloth to use for your project. This can be any old rag, dishtowels, burlap, whatever you have on hand.
- Plastic grocery bags
- Plastic Sheeting to place project on to dry
- A mold tall enough to drape your cement cloth over (try 5 gallon buckets, stacked nursery pots, or any other tall item that can support the weight of the cement saturated cloth
Mixing The Ingredients
First, put on your gloves and dust mask. The ingredients are powdery when dry and you do not want to breath the dust or touch the cement powder with your bare hands. Its very caustic and can cause extreme skin dryness and burns.
Mix 2 parts portland cement with 1 part peat moss and 1 part pearlite, with your hands dry in your mixing container. Once you have all of the ingredients mixed up you’ll add water until its wet and gloppy. You need to add the water slowly, mixing in between, to distribute the water equally throughout the mud. Once your mix is wet, you can remove your dust mask but not your gloves. Add water until you are a little wetter than chunky peanut butter consistency. You can also experiment with different mixes. Some folks like their end result to be smoother than the woody effect of the perlite, peat moss mix. If you are going for that look, mix your cement with builder sand instead, for a smoother finish.
Add Your Cloth
Wet the cloth you will use with water and squeeze it out till it’s damp, and then, put it into the mixture, turning and swirling in the cement mixture, making sure it is completely saturated with the cement mix. IF your mix dries out when adding the cloth.. add a little more water being sure it is thoroughly combined with the mix. When your cloth is truly saturated. you are ready to drape it over your stand. You can use more than one saturated cloth and cloth with different textures are kind of fun to mix together. Each piece needs to be thoroughly saturated with the mix.
Prepare Your Stand Mold
Prepare your stand (mold) first by placing it upside down on top of some sheet plastic and covering it with a plastic grocery bag. I use stacked nursery pots for this. 3 gallon size works great. Depending on the size of the cloth you are using you want the mold to be high enough that the cement draping does not touch the ground. You’ll probably want to locate your molds outdoors in a sunny spot.
Once your mold is prepared, simply take your cement saturated cloth and drape it over your bucket, stacked nursery pots or whatever you are using as your stand. You can arrange it however you like and move it so that the cloth drapes in the fashion you envision.
When your cloth is draped, you can glop on more mix to the outside if it looks bare in any spots. You can also add more mix to the top of your project (which will be the base of your pot) to thicken it a little. There are all kinds of effects you can play with. For instance, if your cloth is actually hitting the ground, try swirling it LOOSELY around the mold at the bottom. The result is very cool.
Leftover Cement? Make Hands!
Now.. If you have mix left, keep going! Make more while you have the mix.
If you don’t have enough to make a whole new pot, you might have enough to make these awesome cement hands.. Just work your mix into a used glove, making sure you have a solid amount in the fingers. Use a cow milking action. Then set you cement filled glove inside a pot to curl the fingers.. Wait at least 48 hours before attempting to remove the glove. Tease the glove off, very gently. I’ve broken many a hand trying to remove the glove. If you have sections of glove that have broken off you can try a torch to just melt it off…
All Done? Walk Away
Once you have all your cement mix used up.. walk away and leave it to dry for a MINIMUM of 24 hours. If it’s chilly, or cloudy, you’ll want to wait longer. I usually wait 48 hours before i touch my cement projects. If Rain threatens, cover your project with plastic and wait an extra day.
Clean all of your mixing containers with clean water. The cement mixture will easily separate from the plastic of the container, while it is fresh.
This is the moment you’ve waited for. Gently pick up your mold and invert it. Pull gently on the bucket or stacked pots until they release from the cement cloth planter. Pull the grocery bag gently out next. You may find that you have some chips of cement on the edges. These should easily flake right off.
Set your new cement pot down and admire it!
The color will be a greenish gray, but as it ages it will lighten considerably. The tree trunk look can be enhanced by staining or painting your pot after you’ve let it cure for a couple weeks. Your pot will need to cure, outside in the weather for a couple months if you intend to plant it directly. If you are using another pot inside, you can use your planter right away. The irregular edges are perfect for creating fairy gardens or woodland gardens with hills and steps. You are limited only by your imagination! If you enjoy creating with cement, you may enjoy this book that includes many recipes and projects for Creating With Concrete.
Once your cement cloth project is cured, you can use almost anything kind of paint or stain if you like. Acid based cement stains, acrylic or latex paint etc. Hey.. it’s a cementaceous mix that will absorb almost any color. Experiment with combinations of color, stains etc. You’ll come up with a favorite finish. ‘
If you want to learn more about cement crafts here are a couple of suggestions from Amazon. I am an Amazon affiliate and curated these items specially for you!
This next book is an interesting array of making hypertufa troughs and includes intriguing info about using them for alpine plants and how to grow them.
If you are ready to learn more about coloring and treating your cement creations, this book has the goods along with several how-to new cement projects. Once you have the cement bug.. you’ve got the cement bug! Great reviews here too!
Do you need quality foliage plants for your mini garden? Check out our terrarium foliage plants right HERE
Want to Host a Cement Cloth Planter Party?
If you are local to the Tampa Bay Area, we’d love to show you how it’s done! We bring everything except the molds and cloth. Great fun for kids or adults. Check out our Facebook Page Outdoor Spaces for pictures of the workshop we did for the Hillsborough Garden Club at Home Depot in Town and Country. It was a blast!