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

Mini planters made of colored plaster! It’s a clever and colorful DIY that you’ve gotta try!

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

I used to do Plaster of Paris crafts 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 mini 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 pastel mini planters for cacti and succulents.

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

Materials Needed for Mini Planters

  • plaster powder (available on Amazon – also know as Plaster of Paris)
  • powdered tempera paint – THIS IS THE SECRET INGREDIENT (lots of options on Amazon, I used this brand but any will work)
  • silicone shot glass molds (this is exactly what I used, but there are loads more on Amazon)
  • matte medium (to seal the plaster)
  • paint brush
  • sandpaper (fine grit)

Where to Buy Plaster of Paris

If you’d prefer not to purchase Plaster of Paris on Amazon, there are lots of other places you can find this affordable crafting material.

Typically, you can find Plaster of Paris locally at craft stores and art supply stores, like JoAnn’s, Michaels, and Dick Blick. Sometimes it’s in the kids crafts area. But you can also find Plaster of Paris available at home improvement stores, like Lowe’s and Home Depot, as well as places like Walmart and Target.

Some of which are also available online, so I’ve linked them above just in case.

Where to Find Rubber Molds for Plaster

There are so many options out there. But any silicone or rubber mold will work just fine, whether it’s intended for food or crafts. Just make sure if you use a food mold for crafts, it stays for crafts only after that. Don’t switch back to food use after using it for plaster.

So for example, I used silicone shot glass molds to create these mini planters because they were the perfect shape for what I was looking for. But you also use ice cube molds, chocolate molds, etc. Or just skip the food molds all together and go straight for the craft molds, which you can find all over Etsy from independent sellers.

What else can I use as a mold for plaster?

You’re not limited to using silicone or rubber molds for plaster projects either. You can also use recyclable items around your house, like milk cartons or thin plastic containers from individual cups of oatmeal, yogurt, mac and cheese, etc.

You can even use something like a mailing tube, like I did for this DIY concrete vase. Just follow the instructions for that tutorial and swap out the concrete for plaster…and still use the cooking spray.

There are endless possibilities for Plaster of Paris crafts.

How to color plaster, using this secret ingredient.

How to Make Colored Plaster

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 from Colored Plaster

1. Once you have mixed together the colored plaster you’d like to use for this Plaster of Paris craft, you can get started with the mini planters.

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 mini 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.

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.

 

How to Make Colored Plaster

I used to do Plaster of Paris crafts 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 mini 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.
Total Time5 mins
Keyword: colored plaster, plaster, plaster of paris

Ingredients

  • plaster powder available on Amazon - also know as Plaster of Paris
  • powdered tempera paint - THIS IS THE SECRET INGREDIENT lots of options on Amazon, I used this brand but any will work

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Where to Buy Plaster of Paris
If you'd prefer not to purchase Plaster of Paris on Amazon, there are lots of other places you can find this affordable crafting material.
Typically, you can find Plaster of Paris locally at craft stores and art supply stores, like JoAnn's, Michaels, and Dick Blick. Sometimes it's in the kids crafts area. But you can also find Plaster of Paris available at home improvement stores, like Lowe's and Home Depot, as well as places like Walmart and Target. 
Some of which are also available online, so I've linked them above just in case.
Where to Find Rubber Molds for Plaster
There are so many options out there. But any silicone or rubber mold will work just fine, whether it's intended for food or crafts. Just make sure if you use a food mold for crafts, it stays for crafts only after that. Don't switch back to food use after using it for plaster.
So for example, I used silicone shot glass molds to create these mini planters because they were the perfect shape for what I was looking for. But you also use ice cube molds, chocolate molds, etc. Or just skip the food molds all together and go straight for the craft molds, which you can find all over Etsy from independent sellers.
What else can I use as a mold for plaster?
You're not limited to using silicone or rubber molds for plaster projects either. You can also use recyclable items around your house, like milk cartons or thin plastic containers from individual cups of oatmeal, yogurt, mac and cheese, etc.
You can even use something like a mailing tube, like I did for this DIY concrete vase. Just follow the instructions for that tutorial and swap out the concrete for plaster...and still use the cooking spray.
There are endless possibilities for Plaster of Paris crafts.
Tried this recipe?Mention @paperandstitch or tag #paperandstitch!

DIY Colored Plaster of Paris Mini Planters

Mini planters made of colored plaster! It's a clever and colorful DIY that you've gotta try! After some experimenting, I landed on something that actually works for creating colored plaster! It will tint plaster nearly any color you want without changing the consistency of the plaster.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time1 hr
Keyword: crafting, diy, mini planter, planter, plaster, plaster of paris
Servings: 40 planters or more
Author: Brittni
Cost: $15

Ingredients

  • plaster powder available on Amazon - also know as Plaster of Paris
  • powdered tempera paint - THIS IS THE SECRET INGREDIENT lots of options on Amazon, I used this brand but any will work
  • silicone shot glass molds this is exactly what I used, but there are loads more on Amazon
  • matte medium to seal the plaster
  • paint brush
  • sandpaper fine grit

Instructions

  • Once you have mixed together the colored plaster you'd like to use for this Plaster of Paris craft, you can get started with the mini planters.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Once they are completely hard to the touch, remove the mini planters from the mold one at a time.
  • 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.
  • Next, seal each mini 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.
Tried this recipe?Mention @paperandstitch or tag #paperandstitch!

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?

64 comments | Click here to reply

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

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: http://www.papernstitchblog.com/2013/05/08/make-this-modern-diy-candle-votives-on-a-budget/

Brittni

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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

Jennifer

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

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

Brittni

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

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

Genie

These are super cute! Thanks for the DIY!

Shelby

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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

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These are beyond cool…

Handmade charlotte

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

Sally

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

Clive Stevens

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

Regina / Head Glam Girl at Margarita Bloom
Margarita Bloom | Retro Vintage Skincare & Beauty
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Regina Debreczeni

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.

Maridan Valor

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

Alie Nielsen

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

Brittni
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