Rhonda B
Rhonda B
  • Hometalker
  • Muscatine, IA

Easy and Cheap DIY Concrete Pumpkin Planter

$5.00
Easy

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:
diy concrete pumpkin planter candy buckets, concrete masonry, container gardening, diy, gardening, repurposing upcycling
Turn it into one of these:
diy concrete pumpkin planter candy buckets, concrete masonry, container gardening, diy, gardening, repurposing upcycling
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.
diy concrete pumpkin planter candy buckets, concrete masonry, container gardening, diy, gardening, repurposing upcycling
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:
diy concrete pumpkin planter candy buckets, concrete masonry, container gardening, diy, gardening, repurposing upcycling
When you are done cutting it should look like this (don't forget to cut off the handle):
diy concrete pumpkin planter candy buckets, concrete masonry, container gardening, diy, gardening, repurposing upcycling
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:
diy concrete pumpkin planter candy buckets, concrete masonry, container gardening, diy, gardening, repurposing upcycling
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.
diy concrete pumpkin planter candy buckets, concrete masonry, container gardening, diy, gardening, repurposing upcycling
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:
diy concrete pumpkin planter candy buckets, concrete masonry, container gardening, diy, gardening, repurposing upcycling
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:
diy concrete pumpkin planter candy buckets, concrete masonry, container gardening, diy, gardening, repurposing upcycling
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.
diy concrete pumpkin planter candy buckets, concrete masonry, container gardening, diy, gardening, repurposing upcycling
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:
diy concrete pumpkin planter candy buckets, concrete masonry, container gardening, diy, gardening, repurposing upcycling
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:
diy concrete pumpkin planter candy buckets, concrete masonry, container gardening, diy, gardening, repurposing upcycling
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:
diy concrete pumpkin planter candy buckets, concrete masonry, container gardening, diy, gardening, repurposing upcycling
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!

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Have a question about this project?

7 questions
  • Flo
    on Jul 27, 2016

    Can you add color to the cement?

    • Audrey
      on Jul 30, 2016

      Coloring cement is easy! Color/tint is available in several shades & stores such as Home Depot & Lowe's carry them. Specialty stores have a wider selection however when using regular grey concrete mix, you are limited in the shade changes. There are colors that will work well with the pumpkin - traditional terra cotta is available. 🎃 You might consider a mixing attachment for your power drill if you choose to tint your cement mixture - thorough mixing is essential. I like to put water in the bottom of my mixing bucket then add the color/tint & mix well. Keep in mind, once you add the concrete mix, the color will change. Don't worry too long about mixing - a variegated look might be very nice, too. Good luck.

    • Rosemary Lyndall-Wemm
      on Oct 23, 2016

      If you use integral color (dry oxides) it is best to mix the dry color with the dry cement powder before adding any other ingredients, like sand. If you are using a ready made mix then you do not have that choice so just mix it in with the dry ingredients before adding water. If you are using wet solutions then follow the instructions on the bottle. You can also use concrete dye after the item is cured. It will stain the surface and penetrate a little. Or you can mix latex paint into the mixture for a pale tint throughtout. Some colors work better than others. You can also paint the surface with various things. Latex paints are cheap alternatives. Expensive alternatives are expoxies, including 3 dimensional looking metallic treatments. The problem with surface treatments is that they need to be redone every few years. If the item chips of cracks then it is starkly obvious.

  • Shaun
    on Sep 26, 2016

    Do you have to seal the concrete like you used or can it just be left?

    • Rosemary Lyndall-Wemm
      on Oct 23, 2016

      You can leave it like it is, but it will stain easily. If you want to take it indoors then sealing it inside and out is highly recommended.

  • Trish
    on Oct 10, 2016

    We just did this project yesterday and the concrete that we bought had a lot of small rocks. We won't be able to see the final product for another day and I'm wondering if we used the wrong concrete. What concrete did you use?

    • Rosemary Lyndall-Wemm
      on Oct 23, 2016

      Yes. You need a "mortar" mix that uses "fines", aka sand, not a concrete mix that uses aggregate, aka stones. You can mix your own using portland cement plus sand and perlite or vermiculite. By volume: 1 portland: 3 "fines" (mixture of sand + perlite or vermiculite + coir (coconut fiber) (if you want it to look like pumice stone). You can color it with oxides mixed with the dry Portland cement. Or you can stain it or paint it after it has cured.

    • Trish
      on Oct 23, 2016

      Thank you Rosemary for the clarification. Home Depot also suggested Mortar. My friend said this was the best craft project and we are doing another pumpkin today. She actually got a skeleton head and made it. Thanks!

      , Here s my first attempt We didn t cut the pumpkin in half like you suggested which was a big mistake It took me an hour to cut the plastic pumpkin off of the cement
  • Nicki
    on Dec 21, 2016

    Why is it necessary to soak it in water for a week? I have made other garden items and have never soaked any of them.

    • Shawna Bailey
      on Dec 22, 2016

      It'll make it last longer.

    • Artemis
      on Aug 7, 2017

      It's called a "wet cure" and it actually extends the curing time so the concrete will be stronger.
    • Angel Simmons Evans
      on Sep 17, 2017

      Also if u plant directly in them, you will need to do this to leech out chemicals in cement that will kill plants.
  • 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

  • Adriana Rodriguez
    on Oct 1, 2018

    Where did you purchase the pumpkins?

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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