Pinterest Challenge: DIY Succulent Planter Box

I have a fun project to share with you today!

I’ve been on the hunt for a neat centerpiece (to either DIY or buy) for the big outdoor table that Kevin built on our new deck and am so happy with how this oversized planter’s box project has turned out. My favorite might be the pops of color in the form of five added geometric hexagons.

Succulents and I get along really well, and they look so pretty all together in one large container! I’ve been wanting to play with them more in our garden in unique ways, maybe even designing a succulent wall along the back bbq area.

The hexagon pattern wraps over the top edges of the box and along one corner as well, I love the symmetrical pattern and how the painted shapes work together but provide their own little bursts of bright, unexpected color.

I was actually inspired to finally getting around to finishing this project by Katie and Sherry’s Spring Pinterest Challenge:

It provided the inspiration needed to pull my materials together and take a couple of hours to build, stain, paint and plant my new succulent centerpiece. :) The goal of the challenge is to take a pinned idea and make it happen – here’s my pinned inspiration:

This lovely wooden planter box from The Growing Wall and these neat felt hexagon shapes by Squared Array. I imagined them as potentially very pretty when combined together.

Let’s get into the nitty gritty…

The process for building my initial planter was pretty simple. To keep material costs on the low end, I purchased a single piece of 24×28″ plywood from Lowe’s and asked the technician to cut the board horizontally into three strips  that were 24×6.5″ in size and the remaining 24×6.5″ piece into two 6.5″ square sides. That used up just about every inch of the wood perfectly (I had just one large rectangle left over).

Cutting plywood often causes freying at the edges so if I had needed a more exact cut I might have opted for real (rather than compressed) wood instead. But this worked out perfectly as the cuts were kept to a minimal and the plywood cost just $6! And all of the cuts were made at Lowe’s so I didn’t have to bring the board home, pull out the table saw and add that extra step to the process.

Thanks, Lowe’s man.

To nail the box together I used small tack nails that I had on hand.

As well as my trusty floral hammer! No need to dig through the garage and pull out a massive hammer from the tool chest, I really love having my smaller-than-average tools in my office and waiting for everyday use.

I placed a nail every 3″ or so along all edges of the box that met with another edge. 32 nails and one finger later, and the planter box was assembled.

To hide the silver tops of the nails, I used a stainable wood filer that we had on hand (but I would say that this step is optional).

And to remove any pesky store barcode stickers (why do they make them actual stickers??), a little Goo Gone.

We have a decently sized stain collection from various projects in our garage so I chose from two of the lighter finishes. I ended up using both the “ash” and “oak” (oak first followed by a quick layering of ash) to give the box a slightly birchy, slightly weathered look.

With the glare of the light it’s hard to see the finished stain coat here, but the coloring came out just as I had hoped.

I stained the first few inches of the inside of the box as well, the rest will be filled with soil and will be pretty much unnoticeable.

To make my hexagon painted shapes, I printed out a basic hexagon outline (using the Illustrator shapes feature) on to cardstock. Feel free to download my copy here. Laying out the cut out shapes in various formations helped me to come up with a final pattern.

Using that pattern as my template, I taped out the various paintable hexagons one at a time.

And slowly filled in the taped off areas with various colors. You can see that I left a sliver of wood showing between each shape, I love that little detail.

Press down solidly on those edges to prevent any under tape bleeding! And as soon as you’ve applied the paint to the wood, pull up that tape right away for a flaw free line.

Next up was planting. I found it was cheaper to purchase most of my succulents in one large prearranged plastic round planter from Lowe’s (that I broke apart and replanted), then supplemented with littler containers and cactus from our garden.


A new, pretty centerpiece that is just the right size for our 12 person table. This will look great in the summer for outdoor picnics and parties – I’m picturing a pretty table set in whites and navy blues, or even pinks and mint greens to compliment the colors of the planter box.

The hexagon shapes are definitely my favorite part.

I will be linking this project up with the four hosts of this season’s challenge: Katie, Sherry, Emily and Renee. Check out all of the great projects!!

Here’s a link to my previous Pinterest Challenge projects (including the fireplace facade that has an exciting announcement to make soon, an ombre step stool for Liv, faux gold mercury glass, a chevron cloth napkin project, a painter’s tape stenciled hallway and so many more fun ideas…).

Handmade Mother’s Day Gift Ideas: Chalk It Up

Yesterday I shared a few hand painted gift ideas for the lovely ladies in our lives (and last week a round up of non-handmade gifts), and today I have a DIY painted gift of a different variety. This time my gift is made by me rather than Liv (exacto knives and boring black paint are no fun for toddlers), but I know that she will totally adore covering the mug bases in various chalk formations.

I found the idea on Pinterest – you can find some of the inspiration on this board.

Materials include: white ceramic mugs (mine are from the dollar store), porcelain chalkboard paint, a sponge brush, painter’s tape, exacto/utility knife and chalk.

The process is so very simple: tape off your to-be-painted areas with painter’s tape, cover the non-taped areas of your coffee cup with three thin coats of chalkboard paint (but not on the inside – I’m guessing no on digesting this stuff), turn upside down and allow sufficient drying time in between each paint layer.

Super helpful hint: use an exacto knife to create a nice smooth break following the bottom edge of your painter’s tape before removing or else you will end up with flaky, rough edges.

I used this chalkboard pencil (originally designed for seamstresses but super for accurate and pretty lettering) for drawing on the base of my cups.

I wouldn’t necessarily trust the paint in the dishwasher but hand washing with soapy water should be just fine. You could always go the super safe route and make pretty little vases or planters with the same technique!

PS I tried this out with regular chalkboard paint since I have a ton on hand (even baking it as I’ve seen on Pinterest) but ended up with messy, flaky paint. That might be an okay solution for vases and whatnot that won’t be used on a regular basis though.

Oh, and do paint the bottom of the mug for secret messages!

Picture me trying not to show my laughing mug behind my little mug…

Here’s those links once again for a couple of Liv’s painted Mother’s Day gifts and for for the non-handmade gift ideas!

Handmade Mother’s Day Gift Ideas: Perty & Painted

Liv and I spent some time this weekend working on a few handmade Mother’s Day gifts. I thought I’d share the first round with you today!

Our theme for this year’s gifts is clearly leaning towards all things paint now that I’m looking back… painted candles and candle holders, mugs and glasses, vases and framed pictures, you name it. It’s been fun to take everyday objects and spice them up with a little handmade love. Especially Liv’s handmade love.

This first project was easy peasy but I LOVE how the candle holders came out. We used Ikea TINDRA candles in vanilla – which I absolutely adore and constantly have a back up supply on hand – to transform into mini canvases. Actually these burn through really quickly (way to quickly) but keeping the heavy duty glass cup around is a great way to turn this project into a unique vase, whiskey glass (just don’t put it through the dish washer with acrylic paint on it) or flower pot (how pretty with a succulent!).

The label comes off so easily making this a pretty candle to keep out all of the time, and an easy one to decorate.

We focused on mint green, raspberry pink and white as our paint colors of choice, and then Liv got busy!

A bristled paintbrush helped to create the splotched effect.

While we had our paints out, Liv also painted white pieces of construction paper for framing.

Love my abstract painting! Good thing she made a few so I’ll have a couple to give away… I’m having trouble parting with any of her gifts.

Since we already owned the acrylic paint, these gifts came in at about $2 for each candle and $5 for each framed print (the walnut RIBBA frame is also from Ikea).

More handmade ideas to come, and here’s a link to last week’s line up of store bought or *purchased* gift ideas.

All gift idea boards can be found right here and all posts tagged with ‘Mother’s Day’ right here!

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