Plaster Pusher: How to Color Plaster with This Secret Ingredient + DIY Plaster Mini Planters

Peachy goodness. Make these DIY mini planters from scratch using pigmented plaster that you can make at home.

I used to work with plaster pretty frequently, but more recently switched to concrete for projects I would have previously made with plaster. It’s the same exact process and I love the look of concrete, so it made sense. BUT a while back, I got to thinking about how I might be able to add color to plaster for some teeny tiny planters I wanted to make. I did some research online, but couldn’t find a solution anywhere. Probably because the powder consistency of plaster is pretty important to it setting up properly, etc. So it’s not just a matter of tossing in some acrylic paint and calling it a day.

And yes, it’s true that I could just paint them after they’re set, which I’ve done before, but I wanted the color to be a part of the material, not an afterthought. The texture is different, etc, etc. So, after some experimenting, I landed on something that actually works! It will tint plaster nearly any color you want without changing the consistency of the plaster. And now that I’ve figured it out, I… 1) wanted to share it with you, in case you want to try this on your own. And 2) I will be using this technique way more than necessary. Haha.

Click through for the ‘secret ingredient’ that makes this process possible AND my simple tutorial for making tiny pastel planters for cacti and succulents.


  • plaster powder (available on Amazon)
  • powdered tempera paint – THIS IS THE SECRET INGREDIENT (on Amazon – as a set or individual colors)
  • silicone shot glass molds (mine are from Amazon)
  • matte medium (to seal the plaster)
  • paint brush
  • sandpaper (fine grit)

How to color plaster, using this secret ingredient.


1. Using a 5 to 1 ratio, scoop 5 parts powdered plaster into a medium sized container, and then scoop 1 part powdered tempera into the bowl. Stir together until an even color throughout is achieved. FYI – You could probably use in less powdered tempera than that, to be honest. It really doesn’t take much. The more color you add, the more vibrant it will be, put if you add too much, it will eventually cause the plaster to set incorrectly or not at all.

How to make mini planters with pigmented plaster that you can make at home.

2. Stir in water to the bowl, while stirring, until you reached a consistency similar to pancake batter (a little thicker than that is still fine though). Plaster sets very quickly, so you’ll need to work fast.

DIY mini planters made of colored plaster

3. Pour mixture into silicone mold or scoop it in with a spoon. Gently tap the filled molds on a flat surface to get out any air bubbles and then aside until hardened (1-2 hours should be fine).

DIY mini planters for cacti and succulents

4. Once they are completely hard to the touch, remove the mini planters from the mold one at a time.

5. Use a fine sandpaper to sand down the bottom of each planet, if there is any unevenness. Then let the planters finish air drying for a full 24 hours, if possible.

DIY mini planters from silicone shot glass molds

6. Next, seal each planter with a matte medium, which basically creates a thin layer of plastic so they will no longer be soluble (important if you’re going to put plants in them). Wait for the matte medium to dry completely before planting succulents and cacti. I found that small succulent cuttings are perfect for this size starter planter. And when the plant outgrows the container, you can replant it in a larger version.

How to make mini planters with pigmented plaster that you can make at home.

Pastel mini planters on simple DIY shelf

How to make mini pastel planters with pigmented plaster that you can make at home.

DIY mini planters in pastel colors

How to make mini planters with pigmented plaster that you can make at home.

Photography Amelia Tatnall
Styling Brittni Mehlhoff

Think you’ll give this mini planter project a try? What do you think of all the pastel colors?

62 comments | Click here to reply

Wauw! really cool!
X Maja
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Maja | July 21st, 2016 at 8:22 am

Thanks Maja. 🙂

Brittni | July 21st, 2016 at 8:23 am

This plants looks so lovely in this colorful mini planters. Amazing!
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Anastasia Potapchuk | July 21st, 2016 at 8:51 am

They look so so amazing and cute, who knew that you can colour plaster?!
Michelle recently posted..Layered Brownie Cheesecake

Michelle | July 21st, 2016 at 9:14 am

These are the cutest planters ever! I’ve been looking for a nice centerpiece for our kitchen table, this might fit the bill!

<3 Vicki @ Wilde in the World
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Vicki @ WITW | July 21st, 2016 at 11:29 am

These are so cute! What a great idea to use powdered tempera paint–and that blue powder color. Wowza! 😀

xx Hannah //
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Hannah | July 21st, 2016 at 3:33 pm

I love the pastel colors! Here’s the million dollar question, though: Can you use the powdered tempera paint with concrete? It’d be great to be able to color that instead, so you could skip the sealing step. Have you tried it?
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Rachel | July 22nd, 2016 at 12:12 am

[…] – Loving these mini planters! […]

Friday Links - The Crafted Life | July 22nd, 2016 at 3:52 am

I really love your idea, I think it’s great that we can have such beautiful colours, it will give me great pleasure to make these pots I just hope I can get all the ingredients her in Scotland. thank you for sharing with us all.

Madalene | July 22nd, 2016 at 6:05 am

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These are so cute! Perfect favors for a shower I am hosting. Which matte medium did you use?

Thanks! Julia

Julia | July 22nd, 2016 at 2:30 pm

These would be perfect party favors, Julia. I used Liquitex brand mate medium. You can get it at any craft / art supply store.

Brittni | July 22nd, 2016 at 2:32 pm

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We Are Scout | HUNTING. GATHERING. MAKING. THE GOOD STUFF. | July 22nd, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Nicely done. Love how colorful they are. I’ll have to do the same with my planters.
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Ivan Jordon | July 23rd, 2016 at 5:35 am

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THE MAIN SCOOP - HAWTHORNE AND MAIN | July 23rd, 2016 at 10:17 am

Do they need to be sealed? What happens if you do not seal them? I am thinking that unsealed they could be sat on a damp sponge to wick up water to the plants and self water them. Like unsealed clay pots you buy for plants. Also is there any special plaster mix that you prefer to use? Thanks!
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Joni Solis | July 25th, 2016 at 11:53 am

Any plaster powder you find at your local craft store is fine, Joni. I’d recommending sealing the plaster, as instructed in the tutorial. I don’t have any experience with what you mentioned regarding using sponges to soak up water into planters, so I can’t speak to that. 🙂 But it sounds like it would be fun to experiment on your own with that.

Brittni | July 26th, 2016 at 2:52 pm

These r awesome… do u think tempra paint would work, just cut down to 4:1:1?

Alie Nielsen | July 26th, 2016 at 9:03 pm

I’m not sure. I didn’t think actual paint would be a good idea because of the consistency. But it’s worth a try, Allie. Let me know how it goes, if you give it a try.

Brittni | July 26th, 2016 at 10:49 pm

What a beautiful idea!!! Love it? Could you tell me where did you get The mold from?thx Leslie

Leslie | July 27th, 2016 at 11:47 am

Thanks Leslie. The exact one I bought is linked in the materials section, toward the top of the post. It’s the shot glass mold from Amazon. Hope that helps.

Brittni | July 27th, 2016 at 11:52 am

I’m going try it this week… and have u seen the molds on That’s where I have gotten all mine from..they work great with plaster.. just a thought

Alie Nielsen | July 27th, 2016 at 7:11 pm

Wow so cute. I’ve never used plaster before but have always been curious about trying it out. The planters are amazing, I love how they turned out and all the colors.
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Maridan Valor | July 29th, 2016 at 4:51 pm

This is so neat!!! I love it and the cactus plants!!!

Regina / Head Glam Girl at Margarita Bloom
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Regina Debreczeni | August 21st, 2016 at 5:04 pm

Lovely subtle colourful planters. Where do you obtain your lovely silicone moulds?

Clive Stevens | September 3rd, 2016 at 2:47 am

Absolutely amazing. I’m going to try them with my art classes at school. Thank you for the idea and inspiration.

Sally | September 6th, 2016 at 2:54 pm

These are beyond cool…
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Handmade charlotte | September 10th, 2016 at 9:04 pm

[…] I think I might have to try out this DIY one day, would be a great way to uniformly display all of my succulent and cacti {Image 7} […]

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I would love to know the brand of plaster and matte medium you used… There are so many to chose from and you’re came out so perfectly!

India | October 6th, 2016 at 1:03 am

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TREND| DECORA TU ESPACIO CON SUCULENTAS - NoSoloDeco | October 21st, 2016 at 3:01 am

These are super cute! Thanks for the DIY!

Shelby | October 28th, 2016 at 10:29 pm

Yes, used tempra paint for cement handprints for preschool kids that I taught. Works great!

Genie | October 29th, 2016 at 4:12 am

Hi there! Have you tried panting on the plaster after it is dry but before you seal it? Was curious if that worked and if so, what type of paint would be best suited for that. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful idea!

Thank you!

Patricia | November 15th, 2016 at 7:27 pm

You can definitely go that route, Patricia, but it will give you a slightly different look.

Brittni | November 15th, 2016 at 8:53 pm

Colors are inspiring. Planters are simple but classy. I will try making these, probably will use recycled plastics to create different shapes and sizes. Great post. Thanks.

Richard | November 29th, 2016 at 9:17 am

If you do not use the powdered tempera paint what color will they turn out to be? Also will it still work. I’m trying to make them look like cement and they are out of the paint you suggested
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Cómo pintar el alma con el color del 2017: Greenery | January 9th, 2017 at 9:06 am

HI Jennifer. Yep, it still works without the powdered tempera. Here’s a plaster project from way back that didn’t use powdered tempera. It will be white in color without any pigment:

Brittni | January 9th, 2017 at 11:26 am

These are EXACTLY what I was looking for for my wedding favors, so thanks!

I’m going to get the supplies to give it a try today, but I was curious if you had experimented with coloring the water before adding it to the plaster? I was thinking about getting gel food coloring to pigment the water, but being that the powdered acrylic is so highly pigmented, I don’t know that it would make a big difference to the finished project, if any at all.

Brandy | January 13th, 2017 at 11:58 am

Hi Brandy. These will make great wedding favors! I have not experimented with using other options for coloring the plaster other than the pigment powder. So I can’t really to speak to whether food coloring would work. Sorry, wish I could help with that, but since I haven’t tried it that way, I’m really not sure. 🙁

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Love it! Have you used any other molds successfully?

Marie | March 9th, 2017 at 1:35 am

Hi Marie. Any silicone mold will work great.

Brittni | March 9th, 2017 at 11:14 am

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7 Weekend Projects to Try | March 10th, 2017 at 11:31 pm

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing

Karen | April 6th, 2017 at 10:09 am

Do you know of any type of mold to use with this same technique but in order to create a larger planter?

Mariah | April 12th, 2017 at 6:31 pm

Unfortunately, I don’t know if a larger option, Mariah. But if you find one, definitely let me know. 🙂

Brittni | April 12th, 2017 at 7:18 pm

HOLY SHIT! Thank you!!!! I have been doing test samples for a week to color plaster for some large scale body molds I plan on doing and you just solved everything. WOW, you are awesome! Much Love from Missoula, Montana.

nick kakavas | September 25th, 2017 at 11:13 am

Haha. Happy to hear that Nick. Glad it helped you!

Brittni | September 25th, 2017 at 11:42 am

LOVE this! I just made the pots but had some trouble with the matte finish, it still feels chalky and you can kind of see my brushstrokes, is that normal? I’m worried if I add the soil and water, the color and plaster will leak. It’s not mailable, just chalky and full of brush strokes… I appreciate any advice you can give me! Still hoping to make this work and use them as Christmas gifts and a groovy southwest western accent in our new guest room! Xoxo

Kamille | December 17th, 2017 at 10:24 pm

It sounds like you may need another coat, Kamille. Maybe the first layer absurd into the plaster a bit? Once you have a good strong coat on the surface (that hasn’t soaked in), they should be fine – the sealant basically creates a plastic layer. You may want to test one out with water in it first (just sit it in the sink first to be safe).

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Great coloring idea, and great succulents on a shelf display 🙂
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Dawn Hagrn | February 12th, 2018 at 9:52 am

The same technique is used to make giant sidewalk chalk. Cover the bottom of toilet paper roll with aluminium foil. Scoop the colored plaster into the top of the roll. Let it dry. Peel off the paper and aluminium foil. You will have a very large piece of sidewalk chalk. We have been doing this with preschool students for years. 😃

Sharon Johnson | July 13th, 2018 at 10:21 am

Oh my gosh. Really? I had no idea. So interesting.

Brittni | July 13th, 2018 at 12:11 pm

Can you use any powdered paint?

Sarah | August 21st, 2018 at 11:34 am

Hi Sarah. Yes, I would assume any powdered paint would be fine.

Brittni | August 21st, 2018 at 11:47 am
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