Hi! It's Mandi from Making Nice in the Midwest. Brass is a quickly growing trend in home decor these days, which is lucky for me because my 1950's home is full of brass hardware just begging for some coordination. I thought a brass planter would be the perfect shiny element to my coffee table arrangement, but I couldn't find anything like what I imagined in stores. So after a quick trip to the hardware store and the craft store, I had spent less than twenty dollars on supplies to make three pretty brass succulent planters–with supplies to spare! Check out how I made them, below.Supplies:
– PVC sewage drain caps in various sizes
– Power drill + drill bit
– aluminum sheeting in brass color (I used 38 gauge.)
– X-Acto blade
– Steel ruler
– Measuring tape
– Permanent spray adhesive
– Cutting mat (optional, but helpful)
– Black paint + primer (optional)Step One: Paint the PVC caps if they are not black. I had originally planned on keeping my PVC planters white, but after considering the fact that they would be filled with dark dirt I decided to paint them black before wrapping in the aluminum sheet metal. I had some gray primer leftover from this rolling cart project and had some black spray paint on hand for a project I'll be working on later this month, so I just rolled with my instincts and painted them black. You certainly don't have to paint yours if you're in a hurry, but I really am glad I decided to!Step Two: Drill drainage holes in the bottom of the larger PVC caps. I drilled three to four drainage holes in each of the PVC caps that I planned on filling with plants. Succulents are desert plants, so they need drier soil to grow in. Of course, they still need to be watered well, but the moisture has to go somewhere or root rot will occur and your succulents will die a sad death. Relying solely on pebbles in the bottom of your planter for drainage is risky, so (keeping that in mind) I designed the pedestal style planter so that the botton portion is a saucer that catches excess water through the drainage holes of the top portion.
Step Three: Measure the circumference and height of the PVC pipe. Add .25" to the length and subtract 1/16" from the height before noting the measurement.Step Four: For each PVC cap that you're using, cut a piece of sheet metal to your noted measurements from step three. Be very careful when handling the aluminum because it is easily imprinted and warped, and those imperfections are not easily removed. If you mess up a piece, it's much easier to just throw it away than it is to fix it. I handled my metal with gloves so that my finger didn't tarnish the metal or leave prints.
Step Five: Lay out each strip of sheet metal facedown onto newspaper or protective paper, making sure there are several inches of space between them. Spray the wrong side with permanent spray adhesive, making sure to completely cover the edges without getting overspray on the good side. Spacing out the pieces will help prevent overspray from sticking to the good side of the aluminum.
Place the PVC cap upside down and attach the adhesive side of the aluminum to it by pressing the middle part of the alumimun to the PVC cap, working your way around to either end. When you get to the end, just overlap the excess metal and press with your finger to make sure the end will adhere completely.Step Six: Fill the bottom of each aluminum-wrapped PVC cap with a layer of pebbles. This will assist in draining the water from the soil.
Step Seven: Cover the pebbles with a thin layer of fast-draining potting soil, arrange the succulents inside the PVC cap, and then fill in around them with more fast-draining potting soil. I topped the soil with pebbles, but that's actually not necessary. After the PVC cap is filled, you can stack the larger caps on top of the smaller empty ones to create a pedestal design. The smaller ones should not have holes drilled in them, because they will be sitting like a bowl, the open side upward, underneath the larger caps, which do have holes. The bottom portion of the pedestal-style planter is there to catch the water as it drains from the soil when the succulents are watered. If you are not planning on using a pedestal-style planter design, but would prefer just to have one PVC cap by itself, be aware that you should still give the succulents a good soak when it's watering time, but you will need to let it drain out somewhere safe from water, like in a sink.The succulents look so happy on our coffee table! I chose this spot in our house because it's the brightest room, thanks to our south and west facing windows and bright, white walls. Succulents love lots of light and generous watering when it's time–just make sure your soil drains well and has a chance to dry out between waterings. I dip my little finger into the soil an inch or so to check the moisture level of the soil before watering. If you have trouble keeping your plants alive, that's one trick you might employ before giving up altogether.
If you're interested in the cost of my supplies, I found the PVC caps shown in the image above for less than $12 at Lowes, and the brass-toned aluminum (I had leftovers after covering the caps shown above) was found at a local craft store chain (Pat Catans) for less than $5. Spray adhesive is something I usually have in my craft closet, as well as a variety of spray paints. You really can't beat the price for such beautiful looking planters!
Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson