DIY a Custom Terracotta Planter for Your Home
Spring means it's time to reboot your home's plant game. Taking inspiration from our recent ceramics post, we collaborated with ceramic artist Signe Yberg to create a custom succulent planter. The best part? No kiln or messy clay needed. Just a fun afternoon of creative crafting will get you a one-of-a-kind planter to let your little green guys shine.
What You'll Need:
- 1 large block of plasticine (we used Sculpey in Terracotta)
- 2 small blocks of colorful plasticine
- A small cylindrical jar
- 1 roller (an empty wine bottle without the label can work)
- 1 small ruler, preferably metal or with a clean edge for cutting
- 1 awl tool or nail
- 1 clay palette knife (or frosting knife)
- Plastic bag
- Round-head metal screw (or any items you might want to use to create texture and pattern: a nail, netting, a peg all work really well, so get creative)
- A cookie sheet
- Your oven!
Step 1: Prep It
Start by covering your jar with the plastic bag, so the loose ends are tucked inside the jar, and the plastic fits as smoothly around, as possible. Don't worry if it's not perfect, just so there aren't any loose corners sticking out and it's snug around the jar.
Step 2: Work your 'Clay'
Break off a large chunk of plasticine about the size of your fist and begin conditioning it so that it becomes softer and easier to craft with (aka: working it with your hands into a ball). Once softened (after a few minutes), roll your ball into a cylinder and using your fingers slowly, shape it into a long flat strip. Tip: If your clay tears, simply use your fingers to work it back together. Then, trim the ends with your ruler, rolling excess clay into a ball for use later.
Step 3: Roll It Out
Using your chopsticks as a guide for the height of your jar, roll out the strip until it's flat and smooth, filling the space between the chopsticks. Use your awl to pop any bubbles, pressing flat with your finger. Re-measure your jar's height and with your ruler, trim for clean edges.
Step 4: Forming the Base
Using the ball of excess plasticine, divide it into two pieces equalling 1/3 and 2/3, forming them into balls. Using your thumbs, begin to flatten the smallest ball into a disc. This will be the bottom of your planter--measure it against your jar to make sure it's larger then the diameter.
Step 5: Wrap Your Jar
Using your string, measure the circumference of the jar and trim your flattened strip accordingly. Tip: Make sure your clay is slightly longer than the string measurement. Wrap the strip of clay around the jar and use your fingers to press the seam together.
Hint: We love our planter to have a little texture, so once our seam is blended, we continued dimpling around the exterior, using our thumbs.
Step 6: Piece It Together
Roll the jar to smooth the seam, and work in with your fingers or clay palette knife, if necessary. With the bottom of the jar facing up, place your disc on top and blend edges together with thumbs. Smooth with palette knife.
Step 7: Decorate
Take the screw and pressing gently into the clay, form imprints in a line down the side of your pot, making sure seams line up. Repeat 3 or 4 times in rows around the outside. Tip: For perfectly lined-up imprints, mark your screw with a pen, for ease.
Then, break off a small chunk from each of your accent plasticine colors and roll them into 12 pea-sized balls (6 of each color). Tip: When working with plasticine, we also recommend using the lightest color first as colors may rub off on your hands.
Using your awl, mark where your accent color dots will go. One at a time, place your dots and using your pinky finger, pull down to form a teardrop shape. Repeat to create your desired pattern and color combination.
Step 8: Dish It
Using the remaining 2/3 lump of plasticine, use your chopsticks as a guide for how wide the dish needs to be. Roll it into a flat disc, then use your thumbs to form a lip around the edge.
Step 9: Ready Your Planter
Using the end of your ruler and awl, cut a small drainage hole at the bottom of your planter. Smooth out the edge with your chopstick and palette knife. Flip your planter and reach in to release the jar, gently removing the plastic bag. Hint: To help set your plasticine, place your forms into the freezer while heating the oven.
Step 10: Bake It
Gently place your planter and your dish, next to each other on a non-food-use baking sheet. Bake at 275-degrees F for fifteen minutes for each ¼" of thickness of your planter's wall. (Be sure the temp is accurate, if it's too hot it will burn, and if it's too cool, it won't set properly). Pull your planter out and off your baking sheet. Let cool 10-15 minutes until plasticine is fully hardened.
DIY designed by Signe Yberg // Photos by Lily Hetzler