Easy and Cheap DIY Concrete Pumpkin Planter


Ever look at one of those plastic candy buckets and wonder what the heck can I do with this? Here is a picture of what I am talking about:
Turn it into one of these:
Since my kids are too old for these now I was looking to re-purpose the ones I have into something interesting. At least interesting to me:-)) So, since I like working with all things concrete I decided to turn mine into concrete planters. I had seen similar ideas on pinterest using a styrofoam pumpkin-but I didn't have one of those:-)) Now don't worry-this is easy-even for uncrafty people like me! Another plus is that it is really cheap. If you already have the pumpkins on hand you are in luck but if you buy them they are less than $1 a piece. If you use a sack of pre-mixed concrete (the cheap stuff) it will cost under $3 and it will do 2 planters. So, if you do 2 of these it will cost less than $5! Let's get to work creating.
For this project you will need:
1. One bag of concrete mix or your favorite concrete/hypertufa recipe
2. 2 plastic pumpkin pails
3. a tub to mix the concrete
4. Something to mix with-I use my hands or a hand hoe.
5. Cooking spray
6. water
7. An inner mold-a couple of tall cups or similar will work
8. Something to create a drainage hole-I used a couple of squares (about 1in) of styrofoam that I cut from a big piece. It has to be "tall" enough for the inner mold to sit on.
9. A mask and a pair of gloves (work safe).
If you want to make a reusable mold you will also need:
10. Some duct tape
11. A sharp cutting instrument-I used an exacto knife to cut the pumpkins in half.
After you get all your supplies together we can begin. The beginning of the instructions will show you how to make a reusable mold if you prefer to just make a pumpkin once then skip down to step 4.
1. Start by taking a sharp instrument and cut along the "seam" of the pumpkin (which should be on the side not through the face of the pumpkin. I did the bottom first them the sides like this:
When you are done cutting it should look like this (don't forget to cut off the handle):
Now it is ready to tape back together!
3. Hold the pumpkin together and begin taping along the seams where you cut-use smaller pieces of duct tape at first to get a start then you can use bigger pieces to completely tape it back together. Also-starting at the bottom is easier (at least I thought so).
Tape the bottom up really good!
When you are done they should look like this:
Now we are ready to go!
4. Spray the inside of the pumpkins and your inner mold with cooking spray or some other mold release-I usually sray it in then wipe it around on the inside. Also fill your inner mold with some rocks or sand to weigh it down.
5. Take your styrofoam "spacer" and put it down in the middle of the bottom.
6. Mix up your concrete according to the directions-remember not too much water!
7. Let it sit for a few minutes if it is NOT quick setting concrete. If it is quick setting you can begin to fill.
8. Fill the bottom of the pumpkin but don't cover the styrofoam cube-just fill around it like this:
9. Set your middle form on top of the cube making sure it is centered (or close).
10. Fill up the rest of the way pressing it down as you go. I use an old dowel I have laying around just for this:
11. When filled to the top Tap on the sides with your hands for about a minute to help release some air bubbles then let it sit and harden for 24-48 hours. Don't unmold too early or it might fall apart.
12. When it has hardened you can remove the mold. If you don't care about keeping the mold just cut off the pumpkin. If you have taped it up to reuse it all you need to do is cut off the tape.
13. After you unmold it you need to knock out the styrofoam cube in the bottom. I used a mallet and my trusty dowel for this:
14. Pull the middle out or keep tapping with the mallet until it releases. If it is still difficult let it sit in the sun for a while-sometimes that helps.
Here it is ready to cure:
15. Let it cure for about a week. You can either put it in a grocery sack and mist it daily or you can fill a container with water and let it soak. I prefer the water bath:
16. After a week or two remove the pumpkin from the water bath and let dry.
17. Seal or paint to your liking-I used rustoleum wet look sealer on mine. Glow in the dark paint would be really cool!
18. Plant it up and set it out in your garden or on your steps. Here is a picture of mine out in my garden:
You might notice I only have a picture of 1 when I actually made 2. I confess that I had dropped the other one and it broke:-(( Oh well-at least I can make more! I hope you enjoyed this project and remember that you can paint, stain or seal this project any way you want. Use your imagination! I really think the glow in the dark paint would be cool-especially if it was just the eyes. I hope you try this project out-stop by my blog for more detailed pictures of this project.

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Rhonda B

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 7 questions
  • MaryBeth Johnson
    on May 3, 2018

    hate to sound dense but what is the purpose of the styrofoam spacer for? to create a space for drainage hole? :)

  • Rachel
    on Sep 24, 2018

    I want to try but whats the styrofoam for is it for a drain or can I ask is their another way to make drainage holes another way by chance

    • Susan Lundquist
      on Oct 25, 2019

      It makes the drain hole. That’s why you don’t want to cover it. You knock it out at the very end.

  • Adriana Rodriguez
    on Oct 1, 2018

    Where did you purchase the pumpkins?

    • Ann
      on Sep 7, 2020

      I got some at Walmart. Last year, about a week after Halloween, they were 10¢ each!

Join the conversation

2 of 126 comments
  • Buck
    on Oct 8, 2017

    If you use your hands to mix concrete BE SURE TO WARE RUBBER GLOVES concrete contains lime and may affect your skin even burn it ( I am retired mason). It is better to use a tub large enough to mix with a shovel

  • Daisy@TX
    on Jun 12, 2018

    WOW this is great!

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