Saturday, February 23, 2013

Free Modern Planter Tutorial

• hobby rocks
• matching containers
• scissors
• reeds, dried grass, bamboo placemat, thin plastic grass, etc.
• glue

I need to start with a warning, these modern planters knock over easily and the little rocks spill all over the place. Not fun. I'm looking for suggestions on clear drying glue that won't gack up the clear plastic. Any suggestions? Neomi won my give away for these, and she used a German product "UHU Twist and Glue" to keep the rocks in place. I'll link to her blog when she posts pictures.

This tutorial does not use glue, but please let me know if you have a glue you recommend and I'll try it and update this.

The hobby rocks cost $3.99 at my local hobby shop, search online for similar price, or check out your local hobby shop for terrain and landscape materials. These are Talus ground cover rocks by Woodland Scenics; they charge $4.99 online. They have a few color options. I bought the Grey, but I really like the Natural color which is more white. They come in four sizes: Fine, Medium, Coarse, Extra Course. I think the Fine would be more true to scale but I like the look of the Medium, as used here.

Your matching containers should be about 1 1/2" to 2" in height and around an 1" in diameter. These Clear Styrene Plastic Vials are from Tap Plastics. I used the .44 oz: 15/16" Dia x 1 9/16"H size that runs $0.25 each, but you have to buy a box of 10 online. I tried the smallest size too, which works in smaller spaces but I prefer the .44 oz. I've also used their small clear plastic boxes but those are over $1 each.

I bought a bundle of tall dried grass from the floral department at my local arts and crafts shop, about 3 feet long and 3 different colors. I took two pieces and put the thickest ends in one vase. I cut the first pieces to be the tallest. I like the height to be slightly over 3 times the height of the vase, around 5". Then move one of the cut pieces to the other vase. Next, I put the cut ends back in the first vase, cut them shorter than the first cut, then separate one to the other vase. I separate them to keep both vases visually balanced. They won't end up identical but they will look like a matching set.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. As the grass gets thinner towards the end, the cuts should get shorter making them look more authentic. Then start over with two new pieces of grass, putting the thick ends in one vase again and cut another tall piece, then cut shorter and shorter. I put 25 - 30 pieces in each depending on how full I want the plant to look.

Once full, I place on a tray or plate so I can clean up the spilled rocks easily. Drop the rocks in while you rotate the vase. If it looks lopsided pull some of the grass apart and slide rocks in between the blades to help spread them out. As you fill up the vase you will want to add glue to the top to keep everything in place.

I'm still nervous about which glue to use that won't ruin the clear plastic, but I'll update when I test out your suggestions. When you're done, it should look something like this. On the right is a sample using the bamboo reeds from a table placemat and a smaller vase I started with thinner grass. Have fun.


  1. Great tutorial! I love the way these look. I have no suggestions for glue, unfortunately. :]

    1. Thanks Brae. Schucks, I was hoping you might have glue ideas. :}

  2. You made me some of these planters. I think I use them in almost every scene--ha! I guess you can tell that I like them a lot. I will try to make myself more. It's getting harder to avoid crafts...

    Oh--and what a weblog it is!!!

    1. I always notice when they are in your scenes. :P They are fun, but spillable.

  3. I recently did a tutorial for aluminum wire shelving;

    I used to have similar gluing issues with the wire, but then I started using clear sealers to hold everything together. You could try putting sealer over the top of the containers, or maybe try layering it in with the rocks as you fill them.

    It will give everything a little shine(even the "Satin" finishes), but as long as you use thin coats, it won't be too distracting.

    Thanks for the tut! I'll have to try it out. :)

    1. Hmmm, thanks Kyle! I will have to try some clear sealers and see if that does the trick!

  4. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I love modern miniature houses but I couldn't really find a blog that was focused only on this....I'm so happy I found your blog and thanks sooooo much for all the links, on the side, about other bloggers of modern miniature houses and all other interesting and useful links!

  5. I love the tutorial, they look so modern. Will definitely make these for my dollhouse makeovers :)
    Thank you.

  6. If your still looking for a clear drying glue? Try hard drying clear resin. I believe you can buy it at any craft or hobby shop.


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