Practical DIY No. 8: Turning Anything into a Planter

Ok, not anything, but anything that holds liquid that you may want to drain liquid. I am a terrible green thumb, but I have learned that most pots need drainage holes to prevent overwatering and root rot if you plan to keep a plant alive for an extended period of time. I learned this when I attempted a cutesy windowsill herb garden made with mason jars. All of my plants eventually died from root rot because of improper water drainage. So what do you do if you find a pretty pot on clearance (like I did) and see that it has no holes? Bummer.

Isn’t it pretty?

Fortunately, you can alter it with a few simple tools.

Problem: $30 perfect, ceramic container on sale for $11, but has no drainage holes for the tree I wanted to plant in it. Solution: Electric Drill + Painter’s Tape + .5″ Masonry Drill Bit = Perfect Drainage Holes.

The key is to make sure you are buying a masonry bit if you are drilling through pottery or a glass drill bit if you are drilling through glass. Always wear protective eye wear and cover your nose. Drilling through pottery stirs up a good bit of dust. Because these containers were so thick, each hole took a few minutes of patience slowly working the drill.

Flip the pot bottoms up. You’re going to be drilling from the outside to the inside. I placed painters tape in an ‘X’ where I planned to drill the holes. I don’t know if this is necessary, but I think it helps control the vibrations from the drill bit on the surface of the stone. Also make sure that your pot is not wobbly when you are drilling or else you will risk cracking the pot. I placed mine on a flat styrofoam board in the garage. I do believe a few layers of cardboard box would have also worked – just something to take the stone pot from sitting directly on cement and risk chipping the rim of the pot from the vibrations of the drill. Even with these precautions I still had some chipping inside around the holes when the drill bit finally pushed through but it will not affect the functionality of the pot, nor will it be seen once filled with dirt.

Keeping this one outside for the summer because fiddle leafs are toxic to cats.

Another super simple DIY. Depending on the size of your drill bit, you could turn mugs and bowls into sweet little planters for succulents. I purchased the drill bit for about $10 and I’ll use it again I’m sure. Even with the cost of the drill bit, having purchased two planters at $11 each made the total $16 each from the original $30. These planters are very heavy and well made. I had been looking for something large enough that I could re-pot a few trees in to live in for a few years and also heavy enough to be stable if attacked by a cat or dog (which does happen in our house). I would have gladly paid $30 a piece for them. Now on to my search planter stands…

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