I consider myself a glutton for punishment. Not self-inflicted, mind you, but it definitely finds me no matter what I do. haha. A recent occurrence is after I went to the local hardware store to pick up a few things. On my way out, I pass by the clearance section and spy this swan. At first glance, I see the head/neck is loose and won’t set right. I turn it around and around and don’t see any other issues. However, I didn’t know I would be setting myself up for a DIY concrete planter project.
Here’s why…my swan is thinking…”I’m feeling a little off”. After I arrive home, I pick up the swan to bring it inside and I find it BUSTED with a piece laying on the seat.
All I did was set it in and rode home, so I know these flaws were there that I apparently didn’t see. sigh… Like a said, I’m a glutton. Because I don’t toss things like this in the trash, I am now challenged what to do with it. What would you do? BTW, you can see two other swan upcycles HERE and over HERE too.
BROKE DOWN, BUT NOT DESTROYED
I’m not a quitter, so first order of business is to glue this sad swan back up. However, I’m not worried about appearance so much as I plan to cover it up.
Then, once the glue cures, I begin mixing up my concrete. I’ve used concrete for many household applications in the past, so I feel comfortable doing this. However, for reference I’ll suggest you read up on a few different tips and tricks over at Artsy Pretty Plants. She has done her homework and has wonderful advice for beginners.
I choose to shop my local mom & pop hardware store (skip the big box stores) and grab Quickrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix. Before I begin mixing, however, I sift out the larger stones and set those aside. I’m using a colander from my kids Mud Bar, not my kitchen colander (just sayin’). Do note, I’m wearing nitrile gloves, a respirator, and goggles. This stuff isn’t what you want to fool around with. Be safe!
Next, using the fine mix left in the top container, I mix up with water. I didn’t measure the ratio, but you can follow the directions on the bag. I have done it so often that I know the mix I’m looking for. It’s wet, but will hold shape when squished.
MESS MAKING TIME
Because I’m using the fast-set type concrete, I need to…well…work fast. That’s okay with me because I want this stuff to hold onto the swan. Thankfully, the swan has an etched surface which gives the concrete tooth to hang on to. I just press it on and shape starting from the bottom up. Also, notice I leave an empty space in the back for the later part.
Why, hello there handsome. tee hee.
In addition, this will not have a super smooth finish because I’m apply the concrete with my hands and it’s not being poured into a smooth mold. This concrete is super easy to work with because it sets fast. Finally, I have to let it cure for 24 hours before moving onto the next step.
Now it’s time for the planter part of our DIY concrete planter tutorial. Remember I left the back part open without concrete? Well, now it’s time to cut it out. I use my Dremel and simply cut it out.
While I could leave it as plain concrete, you know that’s far to simple for me. Thankfully, I saved my milk paint in my refrigerator that had gotten nice and chunky. I brush it on leaving bald spots here and there for an aged appeal.
After that I use waxes to create even more dimension.
THE UGLY DUCKLING
Finally, my DIY concrete planter from a broken plastic swan is complete. While most would have thrown it away, I now have a sweet decor piece.
Even though my planter doesn’t have a live plant in it…yet…I can still use it stuffed with other natural gems. The snow is still flying outside, so I’m enjoying it inside. However, once spring is in full swing Mr. Swan is ready for inside or out.
So, I’m curious…do you feel confident enough to tackle a project like this on your own? If you have any questions, feel free to email me.
Likewise, if you’d like to add this sweet fella to your home decor, you can find it and more available in my online shop.
Additionally, let’s inspire others to give this DIY concrete tutorial a try, or at least don’t toss something just because it’s broken. Aren’t we all essentially broken?
Before you head off, make sure to sign up for my newsletter so you can see what I do with this loot I found in my neighbor’s trash.
PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!
Cheryl Atkinson says
Hi Larissa, I think you did a great job. I have never actually used concrete or cement bug I have flipped some smalls to look like concrete. Great job. He was worth it.
Thanks! I’ve done that too. So many fun textiles for us to make use of.
Marie B. says
Nice save Larissa and your now concrete swan will look so cute filled with a flowering plant this summer!
Thanks! I’m so eager to make use of my green thumb. 😀
Kim Banko says
Well, I couldn’t love this more! I have never created with concrete but I’d like to give it a try!
You will love it, Kim! I’ve always wanted to throw pottery and this is as close as I can get. haha. Thanks!