Have you ever noticed how adorable planters are when they have legs? It’s one of those essential truths, like that cats are cute and beer is tasty. Here’s what I mean:
Something about lifting them off the ground elevates them from the ordinary; take the legs off and any one of these would be just another basic planter. The problem with these leggy beauties is that they cost a bazillion dollars: In order from top to bottom $160 (for the knock off version), $695 (planter on the left) and $189 (planters middle and right), $388, and $325 (according to an expired eBay listing). Yow!
On a recent thrift store outing I found a planter with pretty legs, but a fugly body:
The faux terra-cotta color obviously had to go, but I also didn’t like bucket shape atop the legs. (About a million years ago I had a boyfriend who lived on a boat who made a similar looking bucket to use as his toilet. The memory is vivid.)
But I loved the legs, and I decided to try to make something similar to the elegant mid-century planters I’ve been coveting.
I picked up three packages of Model Air Clay at Joann’s:
The clay dries after being exposed to air for a while, but I found it was pretty forgiving and didn’t dry so fast that it was hard to work with. I began by covering the bottom of the planter, and then worked toward the sides.
From each package of clay I would tear off about 1/4, then push and roll it out with a rolling pin. When it got stiff, I just put a little water on my hands or spritzed the clay. After rolling it out, I smeared Mod Podge on the planter, just to ensure that it would adhere to the wood. Then I placed the clay slab on the planter, and, using water and a little pressure, adhered it to the adjacent clay.
I covered the outside and about 2 1/2 inches down into the inside of the planter. Then I spent a fair amount of time trying to smooth the surface using a damp sponge and my fingers. I knew that it would have a more organic look than the fiberglass mid-century planters I’ve been coveting, but I didn’t want it to look like a kindergartener’s pinch pot (which it was definitely veering toward at this point).
I let it dry for a day and half. A few cracks showed up, but it didn’t seem to shrink over all. Once it was dry I used really fine sandpaper on the roughest and most textured spots, being careful to not thin any particular area too much.
I bought a rubber plant a while ago and stuck it in a pretty basket and forgot it. I never repotted it, and now it’s really suffering. Hopefully this homespun version of a mid-century planter will give it a new lease on life!
If you’d like to make your own version from scratch you can buy mid-century wooden legs at Ace Hardware for a song! Pick out a rounded plastic planter, like this one, and attach the legs with angle plates. I actually think the air clay will look better over plastic–best to start with as smooth a surface as possible. Now I’ve got myself excited to try doing this project again!
Thanks for reading along, check us out on Friday when we debut a new series featuring our favorite Etsy finds!