Tag Archives: fabric planter

DIY Fabric Planter with Diamond Pattern

chair and planter 4

Well first of all, just look at that cute triangle print on the bowtie chair! The results of the poll were overwhelmingly in favor of the triangles, and so last week I finally got around to recovering the seat. I definitely think it was the right fabric choice, and I appreciate all of you who cast your vote.

The chair wasn’t the only thing to get finished. I also sewed up that planter basket – a project which has been percolating in my brain since Mera posted her bleach-printed version a couple months ago.

red house west DIY geometric plant basket

I’m always looking for new ways to dress up the abundance of plants in my house. This little honey is a Ponytail Palm, and has been living in a disreputable plastic pot for way too long. This fabric planter was an inexpensive and simple project, and I can think of many other patterns besides the diamonds that would be super cute!

I referred to Mera’s post as well as this tutorial for instructions on making the basket, so I’m not going to cover that part here. The main difference between my version and theirs is that in this one you don’t sew a separate liner – the lining and outer fabric are fused together with fusible interfacing (I’ll explain more about that below) before the basket is sewn.

Materials (please note that the amount of fabric you need will vary depending on the size of basket you choose to make):

  • 3/4 yard of natural-colored canvas
  • 3/4 yard of black cotton
  • Iron-on fusible interfacing (I used Heat’n Bond from JoAnn Fabrics)
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine and thread

To begin, I measured the circumference and height of my plant’s pot. Using those measurements, I then cut a rectangular piece (about 36″ x 11″) from both the black and canvas materials.  I also cut a piece of interfacing in exactly the same dimensions and ironed it to my black fabric, following directions on the packaging and leaving the paper backing in place. I chose to do a simple diamond shape for my pattern, and used a pencil and ruler to measure and draw them directly on to the paper backing of the interfacing.

Drawing the Diamonds

Next, I used a utility knife with a brand new (i.e. very sharp) blade to cut out the diamond shapes (I had my cutting mat underneath to protect the floor).  I ran the knife along the edge of the ruler so the lines were crisp and straight.

Cutting the Diamonds

Total Poser.  When actually making the cuts I used my left hand to stabilize the ruler, not hold the camera.

Diamonds Cut

When all the diamonds were cut out, I removed the paper backing and ironed the black fabric over the canvas, so the canvas showed through the areas I had cut out. I then sewed the short ends of my rectangles together and attached the round bottom of the basket as described in the Film in the Fridge tutorial I mentioned above.

To make the handles, I cut two equal pieces (13″ x 3.5″) from the remaining black fabric. For each handle, I folded one piece of fabric in half lengthwise and sewed the cut ends together with a roughly 1/4″ inseam. I then ironed the flaps of the seam out flat (pictured below) and turned it right side out and pressed it flat again, tucking about 1/4″ in at both ends (also pictured below).

press seam open

pinned handle

This is hard to see on the completed basket, so I recreated it here – note how the raw edges are tucked inside the handle before sewing it on.

And that’s it! I decided not to sew the edges around the shapes – I like the raw look and, with the interfacing, I don’t think they’ll fray much.  I also opted to fold the top of my basket inward, rather than outward, because I like the way the black fabric covers the edges of the pot.  When I make another one, I might just make it shorter so there’s not quite so much fabric above the top of the pot.

chair and planter

This basket is really sturdy, and would also be great for storing things like extra linens, toys, books or whatever. I’m planning to make another one using different colored fabrics and a more complex pattern – perhaps rows of smaller diamonds,zigzags or a mix of geometric shapes.

Thanks for reading along and please ask any questions you may have in the comments. Mera and I will be back on Friday with dreams of distant places!


Bleach Printing Fabric to Gussy Up a Blah Planter

I don’t know about you, but I was super inspired by Katie’s block printed upholstered stool last week.  In the after photo the stool is stationed next to a plant in a basket, which got me thinking about my own potted plant situation.

stool after with pillow and text 2

We have a large schefflera in the main part of our house.  I’ve had this plant for ages, through multiple moves, prunings, and re-pottings.  About a year ago it developed a major list, and I whacked off the entire top.  I kept the top in water and repotted the base and both are now large, full, beautiful trees (the top is potted and flourishing in my husband’s office).  The plant is in a huge plastic pot, which is convenient because there are times when we need to move it (like when I paint the walls white–soon, very soon). I wanted to keep that convenience, but also make it at least slightly less unsightly.

brown planter

Brown on brown on brown. I need less brown in my house, not more.

I love the look of plants in baskets, but this pot is huge, and I couldn’t find a woven basket nearly large enough. The ones that came even remotely close were well over $150! I decided to try my hand at making a fabric basket to conceal the pot, and to break up the monochromatic brownness of this corner of the living/dining room. I have seen a few tutorials lately for bleach printing fabric, like this one (which gave me the idea for the pattern I used) and this one, which piqued my interest. The basic idea is you draw a pattern on fabric with a bleach pen and the bleach extracts the dye from only that area, leaving the pattern lighter than the fabric.

Bleach pen

So I went in search of bleach pens. I looked everywhere in this town, even places I had no business being in, but I couldn’t find a single dang bleach pen. Luckily I found a tutorial for making your own bleach gel that was super simple. All it requires is cornstarch, bleach and water.


Instead of a squeeze bottle, which is recommended in the tutorial, I used a cake decorating tool that I had on hand (why I have this thing I can’t say. I have never decorated a cake in my life). It has a small opening, and after experimenting I found that it was fairly easy to control the flow.

The test fabric.  I only left the bleach on for about 20 minutes, which resulted in a very salmon-pink color.  Not what I was going for.

The test fabric. I only left the bleach on for about 20 minutes, which resulted in a very salmon-pink color. Not what I was going for.

My experiment also taught me that the printing would be imprecise and would bleed in the fabric a bit. I knew it wouldn’t be perfect, but I didn’t want it to look like a big mess either, so I laid out a pattern using a fabric pencil and parallel ruler that I still have from my Merchant Marine exam.

pattern drawing

Working quickly, I covered the chalk lines with the thinnest bleach lines I could manage. I worked next to an open window to cut down the fumes.

bleach on

I could see the bleach working right away as a pinkish hue spread away from the bleach gel lines.

bleach progress

bleach progress 2 hours

I waited about two hours until the bleach gel was dried and crusty. Then, being careful not to let the fabric fold on itself or touch anything, I carried it into the shower and gave it a thorough rinse in cold water.

Fabric shower

The fabric getting a cold shower.

I had to scrub at the fabric a bit to get all of the dried gel off. Once I was sure it was all off, I washed and dried the fabric, and then ironed it to get ready to sew the planter basket.

washed fabric

For the planter basket, I loosely followed this tutorial. The instructions were really clear and easy to follow, and I customized them to the size of my planter.  Because I was using lightweight cotton, I used a fairly heavy duty stabilizer: Pellon Fusible Interfacing 71-F.  After ironing on the interfacing, I sewed the short ends of the body of the basket together.  Then, working slowly and easing the fabric (and, frankly, accepting a few random pleats), I sewed the bottom circle to the basket body.  Using the same dimensions I repeated the process with some white canvas I had on hand for the lining.  The tutorial I followed calls for sewing the lining with the outer piece inside the lining, right sides facing, and then turning it through an opening in the stitching.  I knew I wanted to fold the canvas over, so I skipped that step and just top-stitched the top of the lining and outer piece.

I really like the fabric, and I’m pleased with the how the planter basket turned out.  It’s definitely an improvement over the brown plastic!

Bleach printed planter

Cromwell, aka Mr. Wonderful, approves.

Bleach printed planter

Hasta la vista yucky brown plastic.

Cromwell close up

Cromwell looks like the schmoo and I dearly love him.

The sun came out!  You can see why this plant is happy here.

The sun came out! You can see why this plant is happy here.

It’s nice to have some color and pattern in this formerly all-brown corner, and the fabric printing process was really satisfying. Have you tried bleach printing fabric? Do you have a blah planter that you’re considering beautifying? We always love to hear about your projects and ideas in the comments!