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June 13, 2014

diy succulent pots

Part of my ongoing to-do list involves re-decorating my mantel. This set of tiny succulents I found definitely helped to brighten up the space above my fireplace. The pots they came in, however, did nothing for me. 
I needed something light & airy to keep them in, so I set to work making this set of white clay pots. Since these are living plants, it was important for me to make something for them to thrive in. With air-dry clay, spray paint, & polyurethane, I was able to create new homes for my plants that are conducive to their growth, as well as being pleasing to the eye! The pots aren't perfect, but I think they're quirky enough to get the job done.
A note about using air-dry clay: this isn't a heavy-duty material. I was able to make these pots out of air-dry clay because they're so small. If you're looking to make larger pots, consider using a different material. Dimensions aside, I love the possibilities that air-dry clay presents! These pots could also be stamped or carved into before drying for a more decorative touch.
To make mini-succulent pots, you'll need:

  • A self-healing cutting mat
  • A rolling pin (or a round bottle, as pictured above)
  • Air-dry clay
  • Wax paper
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil & paper
  • X-acto knife
  • Scissors
  • Spray paint
  • Succulents in pots
  • Polyurethane & foam brush (optional - not pictured)
Measure the pots your plants came in. You can either make a template of your pots or keep the measurements in mind. I traced the bottom of my pot, making a template, but just wrote down the width & height of my pots.

You will need to use one of the pots as a template, so temporarily transplant one of your succulents.
Next, take a portion of your air-dry clay & roll it out about 1/4 inch thick. I put the clay in-between two pieces of the waxed paper before rolling. This kept it from sticking to the rolling pin & cutting mat.
With your x-acto knife, cut out enough clay to cover your pot, based on your measurements. I traced around my template of the bottom of the pot, & cut a 2 inch by 5.5 inch-4.5 inch piece to wrap around the sides. 
Next, cover your template pot in wax paper. This allows it to be easily freed from the clay. Wrap the clay around the wax paper-covered pot, smoothing out the seams as you go.
Flip the pot over & place clay on the bottom. Smooth out the seams. 
Roll your pot on the cutting mat to smooth the surface of the clay. 

If you find this isn't smoothing out the surface enough, run a slightly wet paper towel across the surface of the clay. This will up your drying time by a few hours, but it also creates a seamless finish.
Pull the pot out of the clay, leaving the wax paper behind.
Next, turn your pot over & cut a few draining holes. If your pot is too soft to work with, put it in the freezer for a few minutes before cutting the draining holes. 
Now for the hard part - waiting for them to dry. I let them sit overnight.

 I made the saucers by rolling out clay as before, cutting them to the size of the top of my template pot, & pressing the middle down to create a divot

Once your pots are dry, spray paint them inside & out. If you're making your pots for live plants, apply a coat of polyurethane to seal the clay.
Now I just have to remember to water them. 


Related // If neither of your thumbs are green, consider decorating with a plant look-alike


  1. Aww they're adorable! I need some pots for the new shoots that are coming in on my succulents and I don't want to buy any, these are perfect! Thanks for the tip about polyurethane!

    1. Thank you! :) This is my first time trying the polyurethane on clay, but it seemed to dry okay so hopefully these little pots will hold up.

  2. These are the cutest! Love the unique look from every each of them :)

  3. ohh these are so cute! I'll definitely be trying them. Just got to find some polyurethane!

  4. can you suggest a material for a larger pot? why not air dry clay? I want to make these - love the handmade look to them. thanks for posting!

    1. Air-dry clay isn't very sturdy, which is why I wouldn't use it to make large objects. And the thicker the clay, the less likely it is to dry fully. I might try & use plaster or concrete for something bigger, but you'd have to make a mold. Hope that's helpful!

  5. I wonder why you just didn't repurpose some votive holders from a thrift store. So much cheaper than all those materials. Or some small old jelly jars....

    1. I thought about repurposing, but I needed something with draining holes on the bottom for when I water them. A thrifted holder would work just fine if you have a drill!


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