Sunday, 1 May 2016

How to make succulent planters from ceramic moneyboxes

Hello! My experiments in growing succulents from cuttings and leaves have reached the stage where I have a *lot* of new plants, and no where near enough pots. To remedy this, I headed off to the discount store (because I am nothing if not cheap) but they only had plain plastic pots in their gardening section, which didn't rouse much excitement. However, as I was heading back out via the homewares section, I spotted an amazing unicorn money box and a really sweet little bunny dish. You know what they say, "when life gives you moneyboxes, make planters!" ~___^

I'm really pleased with how well they turned out, so read on if you'd like to make your own versions! ^___^

I started off with the unicorn moneybox by using a permanent marker to measure out a rectangle shape. I made mine 5.5cm x 3 cm, but the size is really dependent on the shape of your object and the size you want the plant hole to be.

I attached the ceramic cutting wheel to my Dremel (#EZ545, with the EZ Lock Mandrel, for those playing along at home) and started cutting along the marked lines.

It cut through the ceramic like butter! Only with, like, a hecka ton of dust. I was wearing safety glasses, ear muffs, and a dust mask during this project which kinda seemed like overkill when I began but, hey, at least I didn't get any ceramic dust in my lungs.

To tidy it up a bit, I went around the edges with a long rounded pink grinding stone attachment (no idea what number is this, sorry!) which really helped make everything look neater and also feel less sharp.

Since the moneybox came with a hole in the bottom, I decided just to take out the rubber plug and use that for drainage. If you don't think that is sufficient for your project though, you can drill some extra holes!

I'm not actually sure what this bunny thing is; I guess maybe it's a decorate trinket dish? It's cute and already had a hole in the top for plants, so the only thing it needed is some drainage holes.

 I used  a permanent marker to put dots where I wanted my drainage holes to be. I didn't manage to drill exactly on top of the dots, but they worked as a guideline anyway.

I got a 6mm P&N diamond core drill bit for this part of the project, which is designed to cut through ceramics and glass. It is meant to be used only for wet drilling, so I also grabbed my trusty spray bottle.

 As you can see, my holes are not the neatest, but probably no one will be looking at them from this angle anyway! To drill them, I started with the drill on an angle to make a notch in the ceramic and then I slowly straightened the drill. I sprayed the bit with water once every ten seconds and didn't get any cracks - yay!

I placed a large flat rock over the hole in the base of the unicorn, and then added a layer of small pebbles on the bottom of both planters. Then all that was left to do was add some cacti and succulent soil, and the plants!

The unicorn planter has a Jellybean plant (Sedum pachyphyllum, I think, but I'm not sure) and a mystery succulent. It kinda looks like Sedum praealtum, but it doesn't have the red edge. Whatever it is, it grows from leaves really well! The host leaf doesn't die though, so it does end up a bit funny looking; a tiny new plant with one huge leaf!

The bunny planter was intended as a birthday present for my friend Catherine, so I decided to try and fit a few different plants in there. Catherine may have to transplant them out if they all live! 

The large plant on the top is Hoya, next to that with the pink tipped leaves is Mother of Thousands (Kalanchoe daigremontiana), on the bottom is another pup of the mystery plant, and left of that is a tiny Jellybean plant, and another mystery plant; I think it's a type of Sedum but I haven't been able to make a positive ID. I brought the Hoya as is, but all the other plants are pups from other plants that I own; I thought it was pretty cool that I had enough little graduates from the plant nursery to fill this planter!

I'm excited to go looking for more unsuspecting victims ceramic vessels at the op shop now that I know I can turn them into planters! In fact, I have a ceramic owl figurine on my bookcase which I'm thinking might need to have a plant or two in it ...

- Lisa xx

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