Realistic Bark Texture With Caulk and a Fork! Easy Flower Box Makeover

6 Materials
$25
3 Hours
Medium

Check out the longer version of this video on our YouTube channel with charts to help you choose just the right colors from 5 different brands of chalk paint. The longer video is here: Stephie McCarthy Bark Texture made with Caulk


Here's how we used this same technique to make RealisticRust with Ash Paint.

We think you'll love this easy craft and the look of rustic bark in your garden! We sure do!

We created this realistic bark texture using brown DAP caulk and an ordinary plastic fork. This new craft is easy to do and waterproof in the garden.

Here’s what our flower boxes looked like before. Plain, bland, and serviceable, but about to become rustically amazing. If you are starting with new boxes, sand them lightly first. Just a few scratches will help the caulk hold to the surface. Our boxes were old, they were scratched plenty already.

We painted the bark texture with chalk paint dusted with wood ashes from our stove. Yes wood ashes! This solidified the surface and made the bark look even more real. You can use any wood, charcoal, or paper ash. If you don't have a fireplace, stove, or fire pit, check campgrounds for bonfire and BBQ pits. You'll only need about 3/4 a cup for 3 boxes.

Here’s the brand of caulk we used. We think any good brown caulk would work including the one in the link below. We found our Dynaflex Ultra Brown at HomeDepot. To apply the caulk, we used a caulk gun and made long wiggly stripes to create a grain. Then we spread it a bit with a putty knife.

We scratched texture into the caulk with an ordinary plastic fork. The video will show you how, and the longer version on our YouTube channel has lots more details too. The link is at the top of this post. 

You can layer the bark texture dramatically because the caulk does not tend to slump. We were able to turn a box right away to begin adding texture to the rims. Texture on the rim really adds to the realism of the bark effect.

Once you cut an opening in the caulk tube it will continue to flow even if you are not pulling the trigger. If you want to set it down, place the nozzle on the blade of a putty knife so that you can use every drop that flows later.

We used two tubes of caulk to texture the front, rims, and a few inches of the inside opening of three boxes. We did a little texture on the sides, but none at all on the bottoms and back.

The caulk sets and is dry to the touch very quickly, but we let our caulk cure for 5 days before painting. The texture was spongy, but the paint will make it much firmer. We used brown, light gray, soft black, moss, and pale yellow chalk paint and about 3/4 cup of wood ash. We also used ModPodge in matte finish.

Deepening the textures with soft black paint


To color the bark:

Step 1: Paint the box medium brown and brush with ashes (you can also use ModPodge brushed with ashes to build up the gray texture)

Step 2: When dry, highlight the ridges with light gray and moss

Step 3: Deepen the recesses with soft black (as shown above)

Step 4: Add any accent colors you wish, such as rust or pale yellow

THAT'S IT!

The paint makes the caulk texture very stable. The ash coat will withstand wet weather conditions and doesn't require a sealant. We will bring our boxes in for winter so that they do not go through freeze/thaw cycles, but in warm weather they will decorate our railings filled with flowers come rain or shine.

Resources for this project:
Vinyl Flower Box, B01NH0M3IC
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Stephie McCarthy
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 14 questions
  • Lisa Lisa on Jun 15, 2020

    Can I use larger flower pots?

  • Robyn Garner Robyn Garner on Jun 18, 2020

    Did you know that if you release the trigger on your caulk gun and push a nail into the cut nozzle the caulk will stay in the tube and remain "fresh" for quite a period of time? GREAT idea for the makeover!!

  • Maz Maz on Jun 16, 2022

    Is there anything else I can plant baby cactus

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  • Jeanne Jeanne on Jun 09, 2022

    I love the look of this technique! I painted one of my planters that had seen better days and while it looks so much better, this technique would make it look more interesting! I have left over brown caulk from another project. I think I'll be using it soon. Thanks for the tutorial!

  • Lula Porter Lula Porter on Jun 11, 2022

    I have some of these plastic boxes and they are wearing out from being in the sun for years. Your project looks like it could give mine more strength so they will last a few more years. I really like how you incorporated branches because my outside cats think my boxes are litter boxes. I tried sticking plastic forks in the dirt, but they ignore them. Hoping the limbs will work better. Thanks for the idea.

    • Stephie McCarthy Stephie McCarthy on Jun 11, 2022

      Hi, Lula, my cats would get in these boxes if I didn't use the branches. They are also supporting my plants really well too. The boxes still look great after all this time. The DAP is good outdoors, but we bring the boxes in for winter just to make sure they will continue to look so good. -- Steph


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