Making L.C.'s Very Large Planters - updated 10-2-08

Many of you have asked about the process for making large planters. Below is a sequence of photos outlining the process.

First the concept was envisioned, then a mold was made and then the planters were cast. The planters were finished and delivered on Sunday September 2nd, 2007.

The Concept

We had a customer who was interested in six large planters with the dimensions of
46 inches long x 20 inches wide x 21 inches deep to fit under the windows of her business. To elevate the planter we planned on mounting large ball feet to the bottom.
The feet would be bolted using large anchor bolts. Commonly available molds were not big enough, so a custom mold was required.
To add interest, indentations to the sides of the planter were planned.

Making the Mold

Since our customer had specific measurements in mind to fit under display windows a custom mold had to be built. The mold Pete designed and built is made of wood that breaks in half. Plywood, 2 x 6 & 2 x 4 lumber and a lot of screws were used.

The curved ends were made by cutting grooves in the plywood with a table saw and then soaking the wood in water to make it pliable. It was then formed around the wood framed and screwed in place.

Pete added curved pieces cut from PVC pipe to the interior to create decorative detail on the exterior of the trough. Automotive "bondo" was applied to the interior of the mold to smooth the surfaces and hide the screw heads and grooves in the plywood. Once the bondo set and was sanded smooth, the mold was sawn in half to allow the hypertufa pot to be removed.

Making the Planter

If you've taken my workshop, you know the size of a batch. It takes 6 and 1/2 batches (100 lbs. of cement) for each planter.

Hypertufa is hand placed into the mold.

The interior of the trough is taking shape as more mix is added to the mold

Once all of the hypertufa material is packed into the mold the trough is allowed to initially cure for 48 hours.

Making the Feet

The feet are cast inside plastic bowls much like the trough. The feet are attached to the bottom of the trough using threaded "L" anchor bolts.

Removing the Planter from the Mold

After the trough has initially cured, the mold is taken apart and the trough is removed. Notice the decorative detail in the sides of the trough.

Removing the Feet from the Molds

The feet are removed from their molds and allowed to air dry. Here you can see the "L" bolts that are cast in the feet.

Preparing the Planter to be Sprayed with Color

A spray pit was constructed to allow spraying a liquid color and collect any liquid during the process. The top of the trough is beginning to dry and turn the traditional "concrete gray" color.

Liquid color was sprayed on the trough and feet (the same natural color agent we use in the workshop). Several coats were applied to achieve a uniform color and depth.

Mounting the Feet

Holes were first drilled through the bottom of the planter, then the anchor bolts of the feet were inserted into the holes and bolted to the inside of the pot.

Transporting the Planters

Each planter was delivered to the customer. We were able to load two planters in our minivan at a time. To deliver the planters a block and tackle system was installed in the minivan to hoist the 175 lb planters up the ramp.

The planters were unloaded and positioned in front of the customer's business. One planter was placed in front of each of the six windows.

Planting the Flowers

Update - A year later

The planters look great. The flowers have grown well and add a lot of color to the front of the customer's building.

If you are looking for planters like this made for your home or business, contact Almost Ancient Pots. We also have a shorter version available with 4 feet.
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