Is It Still a ‘Planter’ if You Don’t Put Plants in It?

By Jess Galvan, Local Artist, Creator & Goodwill Treasure Hunter

Everywhere I’ve looked lately I’ve seen super cute plants and planters. We are all so ready to be out in the world and bring the outdoors in. Plants, flowers, and greenery are all a breath of fresh air and perfect to renew our surroundings after the past year.

When I found these 18-inch planters at Goodwill Omaha a few weeks ago for $7.99 each, I knew exactly what I would do with them, courtesy of all the plant lovers and plant “keep-alivers” I follow on social media. Concrete planters big and small are super trendy right now. They are also super heavy and can be super expensive.

Two things I am avoiding lately are: picking up heavy things (hi, I’m old; I know this because it takes me 17 minutes to get out of the bed) and paying an insane amount of money for things that take less than 10 bucks, supplies I have at home, and an hour to just make myself.

Let’s Make Planters!

Another thing I’m way into lately is projects that don’t require perfection. This was definitely one of those too. I even used the same paintbrush for all the colors!

An inexpensive brush, a few different concrete-toned paint colors from the paint tote, along with some gold because we always need a little bling, and some leftover jute.

  1. Since these are already finished with a higher-gloss paint, I sanded lightly with 60-grit sandpaper before wiping them down with a damp cloth. Two base coats of a single color next. You can truly start with a light or dark color here because you’ll be adding and blending your other colors on top. I went with the light gray base simply because I had the most of that color.
  2. After that’s dry, take the same paintbrush and dab into your other colors and, while the brush is still wet, dab and drag across with a paper towel. Do this with at least one and preferably two different colors other than your base coat color.
  3. Then, mix your lightest paint color with an equal amount of water and drag across the entire planter. You can do this as straight lines vertically or horizontally or even a criss-cross pattern. The textured appearance you get from this process will work in your favor, making the planter look more like concrete than just flat paint.
    TIP: Before putting my brush away I dipped it in black and did some splatter and flecking all over.
  4. But then, in true Jess fashion, I decided it needed more. So, a band of gold matte around the top trimmed off with three rows of jute.
  5. A quick coat of polyacrylic to seal and finished!

What’s pretty great about this project is it’s just paint. If it doesn’t look how you want it, or if it needs more of this or less of that, you can just paint it again! So along with being inexpensive, and not requiring perfection, it’s a very low-stress project.

Until people expect you to put actual live plants in them. That is a level of stress I am unprepared for and honestly unwilling to take on.

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