I have a bit of a plant obsession. Sometime soon I’ll have to show you all the collection of green things growing on my windowsills. But until that time, let me share with you a little project that brings some earthiness to a modern white planter.
I got this planter as a gift in the form of an Edible Arrangements bouquet. After I had munched away on all the yummy fruit I noticed how pretty and simple the leftover pot was. I was recently at Home Depot picking up some LED bulbs for my bedside lamp when I noticed the fantastic selection of succulents and cacti. Ok, “noticed” is a bit of an understatement. I’m sure my eyes became twice their normal size as I made a beeline straight for the display. It was so hard not to roll the entire cart up to the register. But I limited myself to an aloe plant (a replacement for one that I accidentally left in my car and froze…) and two other tiny succulents. Anyways, the aloe was the perfect size to fit in my white pot. It looked all modern and minimalistic, but that’s really not my style. So I decided to warm it up with an agate tag made out of clay. You know, since agates and other crystals and gems are so hot right now.
Ok, so on to the tutorial!
1. Collect your supplies. You will need:
- Sculpy ΙΙΙ Craft Clay. Side note, this was my medium of choice when I was a child. I made countless little animal figurines based off my favorite book series, Redwall by Brian Jaques.
- Chalkboard paint
- Chalk pen
- Ribbon, yarn, or string
- Clear nail polish (optional)
- Wax paper (optional). While the clay cleans up nicely from my parents’ laminate countertop, if you’re working on a fancier surface I would recommend putting down some wax paper to ensure some of the colors (like red) don’t stain your table.
- Rolling pin (or some type of smooth tubular object)
- Oven or toaster oven
2. You will need a variety of earthy colors for this project, but you don’t need to buy every color. The great thing about Sculpy is that you can mix colors to create you own unique shade. Simply grab a chunk of each color you want to mix, then twist, squish, and roll the colors together until they become a new uniform shade. For this project I would recommend purchasing a square of black, white, red, brown, orange, and blue. From there you can make any color you like! Don’t worry that you’ll have too much clay for just this one project. When wrapped up and put in an airtight container Sculpy lasts pretty much indefinitely. The stuff I used for this project had been sitting in my parents’ craft closet for probably 10 years. While it wasn’t quite as soft and pliable as when it was new, it still worked. But it was kind of a pain and I would recommend using up your Sculpy well before it becomes that, um, aged.
3. Make a tiny ball for the center of your agate. Then roll thin ropes of clay to wrap around it, using a variety of thicknesses and colors. You don’t need your ropes to be perfect because the agate will look more realistic if they have some variation to them.
4. Continue adding colors, and start to shape your agate to look the way you like. This picture shows an agate my mom had that I used as inspiration.
5. When you’re happy with the size of your agate, roll it flat with the rolling pin,
6. If you’re wanting to hang your plant tag, use something small and round to punch a hole for threading your string through later. You can use the end of your paintbrush if you wish. I used some random thing I found in the junk drawer. Make sure you do this before you bake! Once the hole is punched, lay your agate on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake at 275ºF for 15 minutes per 1/4 inch thickness. It helps to have the oven or toaster oven preheated beforehand. This prevents burning.
7. After the agate has baked and cooled down to room temp, paint a swatch of chalkboard paint on one side. I did two thin layers, allowing them to dry between coats.
8. Once the paint is dry and cured (directions for my brand said to wait three days, but for this tiny amount I only waited one day) you’re ready to label your plant! I like to use chalk pens because they write cleaner than regular chalk sticks.
Notes: I decided that I wanted the shiny look of a polished rock, so I added a coat of clear nail polish to my tag. Just avoid the painted part or it won’t work as a chalkboard anymore! Also, if I were to make one of these again (which I’m thinking I will) I would do a thin rectangular section of chalk paint rather than a large circle. That way I would cover up less of the agate pattern on the side that’s going to be displayed most.
Looks pretty good doesn’t it? I hope you enjoy it, and let me know if you try making one yourself!