Every gardener’s favorite time of the year has come! Time to transfer your lovingly cared-for seedlings into the right planter where they’ll grow and bear fruits. If you’re an (over) enthusiastic seed grower like me, you might eventually run out of planters! So I’m sharing an easy trick to turn a plain bucket into a DIY rope planter.
I would probably have planted my tomatoes straight into the bucket if I didn’t have it in mind to turn my terrace into an oasis this summer! The simple rope trim and a coat of gritty paint completely change the look of the buckets in no time.
These planters are the perfect size for tomatoes, giving them enough depth to grow strong. I like to plant my fruit-bearing vegetables in separate containers so that I can give them the appropriate fertilizer for flowers and fruits (as opposed to the leaf-growing focused fertilizer reserved for leafy vegetables and herbs).
For natural pest control, I’ll plant some marigold in the same buckets. They’re a great line of defense to repel pests before they even get to your vegetables – plus they produce a lot of amazing bright flowers!
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To make this DIY rope planter, you’ll need…
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Step 1: Drill the rim of the bucket
Before you begin, remove the metallic bucket handle.
To start off, drill some small holes into the rim of the buckets every inch (2 to 2.5cm). These will make it easier to drill larger holes without slipping. Next, swap your drill bit for a larger bit – mine was 1cm (0.4″). Place the sharp center point of the drilling bit into the small hole and drill slowly until the drill goes through the plastic rim. When you’re done, you can use a sanding block to smooth down the rim a little.
While you’re working with the drill, pierce 5 large holes at the bottom of the bucket to create drainage holes.
Step 2: Paint the bucket with gritty paint
If your buckets have a glossy texture, give them a light sanding with sandpaper before you apply the paint. This will ensure the paint adheres to the plastic well without chipping.
To turn your bucket into ceramic-like planters, use baking soda paint. I used white outdoor paint with a little yellow and black added to create a natural off-white paint color. For grittiness, add a few tablespoons of baking soda per cup of paint. I added 3 tablespoons but it’s a matter of taste so experiment until you obtain a consistency you like!
Paint your buckets using sideway strokes. This will give your planters a more natural look because hand-turned ceramics have horizontal strokes. Give your planters one coat, don’t forget to paint inside the bucket, at least a few inches (5cm) down. Once the first coat has dried, apply a second and let it dry fully.
Step 3: Braid the rope trim
Finally, cut 4 lengths of coconut coir rope (or any other thick rope) long enough to go around the rim of the bucket plus a few inches (5 to 7cm). Next, cut 2 lengths of thick jute twine 3 or 4 times the circumference of the bucket.
To braid the rim, lay the 4 coir ropes along the rim and insert the jute twine into a drilled hole. Wrap the twine around the coir ropes and insert it into the next hole. Continue wrapping the twine around the ropes until you have gone around the whole planter.
If you run out of coir rope, just cut an extra length and wrap the jute around as usual – the joint will be pretty much invisible! If you run out of jute twine, tie a new length under the bucket rim to hide the knot.
And voila! From old bucket to rope trim DIY rope planter in an hour! To introduce variety, you could use different types of rope or different sizes of buckets to create a vignette in one corner of your patio!