Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Clay Pot Wreath + Succulents = Smile!

Do you enjoy succulents as much as I do?

Clay Pot Wreath with Succulents
(~29" diameter)
Hope you enjoy the pix and a mini-tutorial.  Go ahead!  You know you want one!

Here's what I used:
20" wire wreath form
terra cotta pots in various sizes
    4"       x 5
    2 1/2" x 14
    2"       x 7
    1 1/2" x 5
acrylic craft paint in white and assorted colors
foam brush
floral wire  22 gauge
succulents with the same light and moisture requirements
cactus and succulent soil mix
bamboo skewer

Step One:  Paint the pots with acrylic craft paints and a foam brush.  No exact science here.  Just find a color or three that you like and go for it.  My first coat was white for all. (I only did the outside, but if I made another, I might take the extra time to do the inside too.)  After the white dried--a matter of minutes in the Texas summer garage--I applied a wash using leftovers from my stash of acrylic craft paints mixed with a little water.

(l-r) pale minty green, turquoise, mossy green
all experimentally mixed by a novice with an idea

Step Two:  For a distressed look, sand the painted pots with fine grit sandpaper.  (Don't know if anyone is fooled to think these might be old worn pots.)  Take off more paint at the areas where pots would wear.  Very random; sometimes all the way to terra cotta, sometimes down to the white.  A quick wipe-down or rinse removes dust.
Step Three:  Attach the pots to the wreath with 22 gauge floral wire.  (I confess, this is the trickiest part, but you'll catch on quick.)  First, place the wire wreath form flat on a table and wire the five largest pots (4") around like on a clock face at 12, 3, 5, 7 and 9.  If a pot will hold a plant, make sure it faces up.  It can tip slightly, but keep it relatively upright.  Wire each pot in place securely; no floppy pots!
Length of floral wire goes through the hole in the bottom
and over the top lip.
Twist a couple of loops as tightly as possible
to the nearest wire on the back of the wreath form.

This upright pot tips a little, but will hold a succulent
without the dirt or plant falling out.
BTW--that's the price of the wreath form at Hobby Lobby.
But show the checker that wonderful 40% off coupon on your phone.

After the largest are securely wired, lay out the rest of the pots to eyeball their positions before attaching.  Once happy with the general plan, wire each individual pot to fill in the entire wreath.

Some pots will be upright,
others--not so much.

The checker at Hobby Lobby asked if
I noticed some of my pots were chipped.
I picked them on purpose.

A "random" mix of
soft blues and greens

Would you paint the insides, or not?
Most of them will have dirt & plants in them.

Finished wreath from the back

At this point I couldn't wait to get it mounted to the brick wall!!
This step definitely requires two pairs of strong hands. 

Step Four:  Collect all materials and an additional pair of hands for securing this heavy project to the wall.  (Since this was going on interior brick, I used a drill with the proper size masonry bit and three anchor bolts.)  Lay wreath on a large sheet of paper and mark approximate locations for the three points of attachment; then transfer marks to the wall (at ~ 12, 5, and 7 on an imaginary clock face).  If attaching to brick wall, be sure to drill into mortar and not into the bricks.  If attaching to wood posts or fence, check with your helpful hardware man for the best solution.  Goal #1--keep the wreath in place.  Goal #2--don't allow the wreath to raze the structure it's attached to!
Step Five:  Plant.  I was so excited about getting the succulents in the pots that I completely forgot to take pix of this step.  But you get the picture: find the perfect place for each amazing succulent. Use a moistened cactus and succulent soil mix.  A bamboo skewer comes in handy when working with some of the tinier plants and pots.

During the wiring step, I knocked off a couple of pots and, of course, they broke.
Super-glued together and put (see upper right?) in places of honor, they remind me
 that it takes all kinds of pots to complete a wreath--even crackpots.

Gold Tooth Aloe

Fat dark green leaves are named
ET's Fingers.

Part of the mix

(wish I saved the tag for the common name. . . ) 

Succulents have such interesting textures.
Aloe with Burro's Tails
Golden Ball Cactus
on top-fuzzy Chocolate Soldier

This will spread side to side like a bow
on top of the wreath.

Soft yellow hairs on this Golden Ball
provide another texture and color.

Burro's Tail spills out of its pot.

Mediterranean Sedum is a spiller too.

Once the wreath is planted out, fill in some of the gaps with tiny pots and Spanish Moss if desired.  I decided to skip the moss.  I'll wait for the plants to grow and fill in.
Just completed--June 8, '14.
Finished size ~29" diameter mounted on a wall that's 51" wide.
18 pots have plants.
Use a smaller form and fewer pots (and plants) if space/budget is limited.
Step Six:  Water when soil is dry to touch.  Small pots dry quickly.  In the heat of summer, I water every two or three days since the wreath bakes on a southwest-facing brick wall.  Best watering tool?  A turkey baster!
Makes a nice background for a picture of me and my hero.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great wreath and a fun project! I really like your style.