Friday, June 6, 2014


Back in 2006, when Ryan and I were moving in to our first apartment together in San Francisco, I went in to full nesting mode and bought (among other things) a spiral shaped votive holder. The picture below is one of the only good ones I can find of it... it makes me laugh that this was basically our entire living space back then. Oh how times have changed.

I loved the wrought iron finish and spiral shape back then, and still do today, but it's definitely become a dated piece. We held a Christmas party for Ryan's office back in December and one of his employees said to me "oh, we have that votive holder in our house too." As someone that wants everything in her home to be one of a kind and unique, I was not amused.

So, I decided to update it by jumping on not only one, but three bandwagons at once.

So here is my upcycled wall art using succulents (bandwagon one) in custom concrete planters (bandwagon two) with paint dipped bases (bandwagon hat-trick)!

A month or so ago, when we poured the base for the outdoor kitchen, we mixed up almost a full wheel barrow too much of concrete. We sat down with a beet and started trying to come up with creative uses for it.

We've been seeing concrete planters all over the web for a while now, and I had the idea in the back of my mind to make little concrete planters to place in the votive holders, in order to update my spiral wall art. But, it was a tough idea to communicate, and Ryan doesn't always see my visions right away, so I didn't bring it up.

Add to the equation 80 pounds of concrete drying in front of us, and I had my opportunity to make this vision happen!

After another beer and a little cajoling, we hatched our plan.

I ran to the market and bought these styrofoam coffee cups, which were luckily the perfect size to fit in the rings that held the votive holders.

Then we got to work spooning the concrete in to each up, and placing a shot glass in to the center to work as the dirt receptacle.

We had the plastic shot glasses on hand from some party we'd had in the past, but didn't have enough to fill the 17 cups I needed for my votive holder, so we got creative and ended up using wine corks.

There seems to be a theme here. Don't judge us.

As we spooned the concrete in to the cups, it helped to give them a couple taps on the table to get the bubbles out and smooth the top surface.

We let them dry for a day or so, then we removed the styrofoam from the outsides and cups or wine corks from the insides and had 16 perfect little concrete planters (and three or four broken ones).

It seemed that the plastic shot glasses did not want to come out of their concrete homes in a few cases, so the concrete cracked when we were trying to remove them.

So we picked the one with the cleanest break, and repaired it will a little super glue! (Almost) good as new!

The concrete definitely had some fun character, which I liked, but all in all there was way too much grey going on when I placed the planters in to the holders. So I broke out some craft paint I had on hand and got to work!

I mixed colors as I went and simply painted the craft paint on to the bottoms of the containers. I wanted to give them a hand dipped look.

I happen to have lots of succulents on hand, thanks to my succulent garden, so I didn't even have to buy any plants to plant in my new little containers. Succulents are unique in that they root from cuttings, so I grabbed my snips and made 17 new little succulent plants out of the larger plants in the garden.

Here is the before and after!

The planters add tons of vibrancy and color to the space, and the little succulents are adorable.

Here are a couple close up shots.

And here's a shot showing the 3D nature of the new planter. This is standing next to our dining room table and looking towards our kitchen (left) and dining room (right).

And a view of the entire room. You can see in the background our family room, which obviously needs some work. The pipe you see is what is left of a nasty 70s gas fireplace that we removed after moving in... eventually we will put a new fireplace in it's place, so we didn't remove the pipe. Looking at this picture, it's a bit of an eyesore, but it's one of those things we don't really notice anymore at home.

Thanks for stopping by! I really appreciate it!

Sharing at Remodelaholic and some of these other awesome link parties!


  1. right on! i am loving that, and you are too funny with the 3 bandwagons. it looks great here, but i can totally see it in an outdoor space or sunroom or porch or something, too. succulent love!

  2. That is actually a great idea! I have been worried about how these little babies are going to get enough sun, and the idea of moving them outside would give them the light they need (and free up a wall for another project)!

  3. Really cute little planters! I love that you made them out of concrete and painted them. A great update to a dated votive holder.

  4. This is the cutest thing! Y'all did a great job.

  5. Love it! Thanks for linking up at our Motivational Monday party!

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