A Crafty Mix


DIY “Cracked Up” Window Planter Using Picture Frames

Sometimes I see something in my head and go “I wanna make that” and it doesn’t work out. And then there are the times that IT does work!!! And it works soooooooo much better than anything I could have imagined. Like this rustic, “Cracked Up” window planter.

Full tutorial how to make this gorgeous "Cracked Up" Unicorn SPiT planter with plastic picture frame windows. Includes how to get a rust effect with US #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

Don’t you just love that paint effect and how the faux greenery seems to be exploding from the small rusty windows!!!!! Just smack me with a wet stocking already, coz I’m sooooooo happy with how it turned out 😀 Would you believe me if I told you those aren’t windows? They were once cheap, plastic picture frames that we modified and painted to give it that rusted look.

See how to create a rust effect with Unicorn SPiT. The step-by-step tutorial includes how to get the "Cracked Up" paint effect and make a spilling window planter #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

So now I need to figure out which tutorial to share with you all today:

  • Making a window planter?
  • Turning inexpensive picture frames into rusty windows?
  • Or, creating that gorgeous “Cracked Up” paint effect?

Methinks maybe we should just do all three 😉 so it’s going to be a long tutorial, but if you’re not interested in all of the bits just scroll past. Right, before we get to the tutorial, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!

What you need to make “Cracked Up” Window Planter

I used Unicorn SPiT for all of the paint effects but you can use any craft paint as long as it’s water-based. Unicorn SPiT has these amazing names for all their colors so I’ve put the actual color in brackets to make it easier for you to find something similar.

For the Planter

  • Scraps bits of wood
  • 4 x L-shaped brackets
  • Wood Screws
  • Wood Glue
  • Drill
  • Sandpaper
  • Rusted ceiling tile (optional)

What you need to make the "Cracked Up" planter and how to turn picture frames into windows #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

For the Windows

  • 2 Plastic picture frames
  • Wooden stirrers
  • Rusty chicken wire
  • Coarse Spice
  • Wood Glue
  • 4 Small hinges
  • Beads
  • Paintbrush
  • Toothbrush
  • Unicorn SPiT
    • Midnight Blackness – black
    • Squirrel – brown
    • Phoenix Fire – orange

The Unicorn SPiT colors used to create the faux rust paint effect on the planter #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

For the “Cracked Up” Paint Effect

  • Stirrers
  • Clear wood glue
  • Clear matt sealer
  • Water-based Stain – I used our rusty nail muti
  • Unicorn SPiT
    • Dragon’s Belly – green
    • Lemon Kiss –yellow
    • White Ning – titanium white
    • Zia Teal – turquoise
    • Navaho Jewel – greeny-blue

The Unicorn SPiT colors used to create the "Cracked up" paint effect on the planter #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter
We’ll start by making the window planter.

Making the Rustic Planter

I’m no expert at making beautiful wooden creations, so you’re going to have to excuse the novice terminology for this part. The planter measures 41 cm across (16 1/8″), 45 cm at the highest point (17 6/8″) and it’s 9 cm deep (3 5/8″). You can adapt the measurements to fit your space. Remove the backing and glass from the cheap plastic frames.

Remove the backing and glass from the cheap plastic frames #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

Place the two frames next to each other and measure the length and width. Our frames are 15 cm wide and 20.5 cm high (6″ x 8 1/8″).

Measure the two cheap picture frames to figure out how big the opening in the planter should be #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

Using the above measurement cut the following pieces:

  • 2 x side pieces – 5 cm x 20.5 cm (2″ x 8″)
  • 3 x long sides – 5 cm x 41 cm (2″ x 16 1/8″)
  • 1 x bottom for the planter – 6 cm x 39 cm (2 3/8″ x 15 3/8″)
  • 2 x side pieces for the planter – 6 cm x 5 cm (2 3/8″ x 2″)
  • 2 x planter back supports using 2 x 4s – 43 cm (17″) with the tops cut at a 45-degree angle.

All the pieces used to make the "Cracked Up" Unicorn SPiT planter with picture frame windows #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

Glue and screw the pieces together as shown below. If I was an expert woodworker, I would have used all kinds of Kreg joins and whatnots but an L-shape bracket works fine to create a frame to hang the windows from 😀

Putting the repurpose picture frame planter together #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

For the roof of the “Cracked Up” window planter, I used an old tin ceiling tile. We have a whole bunch of offcuts from when we made over our plant stand. If you don’t have an old rusty ceiling tile you can cut a piece of wood for the roof and use the rusted paint effect below. We’ll be adding the roof after we’ve given it that “Cracked Up” paint effect.

Next up, how to turn cheap plastic frames into rusty windows.

Making the Faux Rusty Windows from Cheap Frames

Flip the empty picture frames over and place a stirrer across the frames. Mark where to cut the stirrers so they fit nicely in that groove where the picture usually goes. Cut the stirrers with a pair of scissors or a craft knife and glue inside the frames. I used two stirrers per frame to bulk the crossbar up a little 😉

Measure, cut and glue two stirrers per picture frame #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

Sand your picture frames lightly to roughen them up and give the paint something to grip onto. Apply craft glue on the picture frames. While the glue is still wet, sprinkle some coarse spice randomly all over the frames.

Add glue and sprinkle coarse salt or spice on the picture frames #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

Wait for the glue to dry. Mix a drop of Squirrel (brown) with Midnight Blackness (black) and paint the frames, front and back. Wait for the paint to dry before lightly brushing on a layer of pure Squirrel (brown). You still want some of that black to show through.

Apply a wa and then a second wash with more brown added #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlantersh of black and brown

Add a dollop or three 😉 of Phoenix Fire (Orange) to the Squirrel and use a toothbrush to splatter the picture frames lightly.

The Unicorn SPiT colors used to create the faux rust paint effect on the planter #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

You should end up with windows frames that look like they’ve been outside for many years cloaking themselves with all that rusty goodness.

After splatting on the Phoenix fire #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

Finally, staple the rusty chicken wire on the inside of the frames.

Staple the rusty chicken wire on the back of the rusted picture frames #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

That’s it. The picture frame windows are all done.

Full tutorial how to make this gorgeous "Cracked Up" Unicorn SPiT planter with plastic picture frame windows. Includes how to get a rust effect with US #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter
Right, now for that oh, so gorgeous cracked up paint effect.

All “Cracked Up” Paint Effect

Our decorating style is very bohemian with a touch of chaos thrown in for fun 😉 so I really wanted the planter to celebrate that. Unicorn SPiT makes it so easy to get the wildest colors. For the “Cracked Up” paint effect, I choose to mix my own colors to get a pale green and a pale blue.

The pale green mix is a combination of White Ming (white), Lemon Kiss (yellow), Dragon’s Belly (green) and teeny drop of Zia Teal (turquoise). Dragon’s Belly is quite intense and can overpower the other colors so go slow.

The Unicorn SPiT colors used to create the "Cracked up" green paint effect on the planter #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

For the pale blue mix, I used Zia Teal (turquoise) with a teeny drop of Navaho Jewel (greeny-blue) and Dragon’s Belly (green). Three of my favorite Unicorn SpiT colors.

The Unicorn SPiT colors used to create the "Cracked up" blue paint effect on the planter #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

Put the paint in sealed containers so it doesn’t dry out and make sure to mix up enough. Unicorn SPiT goes a long way, but we’ll be painting two separate layers on the “Cracked Up” window planter.

The Unicorn SPiT colors used to create the "Cracked up" paint effect on the planter #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

Craft glue is the magic ingredient for this paint effect. Apply a liberal amount onto the planter and spread it with a stirrer. Don’t worry too much about covering every square inch. It adds to the effect if spots are left open.

Use a stirrer to spread the glue on the raw wood planter #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

While the glue is still wet use a stirrer to smear the pale blue and green randomly all over the planter.

The first layer of cracks starting to form on the planter #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

You should see big cracks forming almost immediately as the glue reacts to the Unicorn SPiT. Let the glue dry completely before applying a russet toned waterbased stain all over the “Cracked Up” window planter. We used our Balsamic Rusty Nail Muti.

Apply a water based stain, like rusty nail muti #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

If you can’t find a russet stain, or you don’t want to make your own, you can mix Burnt Sienna craft paint with water and use that instead.

A close up after applying the water based russet stain #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

Once the stain dries, apply a thin layer of glue and wait for it to get tacky.

Add a second, thinner layer of glue and wait for it to become tacky #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

Randomly smear a 2nd layer of Unicorn SPiT over the tacky glue. The trick here is not to cover the previous layers completely. You want some of the big cracks to still show through.

Close up after the second layer of cracks have started to form on the Unicorn SPiT Planter #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

When the 2nd coat is dry, spray with a clear matt sealer to protect.

Full tutorial how to make this gorgeous "Cracked Up" Unicorn SPiT planter with plastic picture frame windows. Includes how to get a rust effect with US #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

Putting it the “Cracked Up” window planter together.

Once the paint dries completely we can add our rusty picture frame windows and the tin ceiling tile roof. The frames we used to make the windows are quite small so jewelry box hinges were ideal. I used two beads for the handles and simply glued them on.

Screw the tin ceiling roof on and your planter is ready.

Cut a rusty ceiling tile and screw it on as a roof #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

This “Cracked Up” window planter is going down to our teeny holiday home so I used faux greenery.

Full tutorial how to make this gorgeous "Cracked Up" Unicorn SPiT planter with plastic picture frame windows. Includes how to get a rust effect with US #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

If you plan on using real plants, don’t forget to drill some drainage holes and seal the wooden planter area.

Full tutorial how to make this gorgeous "Cracked Up" Unicorn SPit planter with plastic picture frame windows. Includes how to get a rust effect with US #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

I’m totally over the moon with how the “Cracked Up” planter turned out.

Beautiful greenery and rusted picture frames #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

And the blue and green color combination works so well together. It’s calm and peaceful with loads of interest. But I would love to hear your thoughts?

Close up of the "Cracked Up" blue Unicorn Spit Paint Effect #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

Don’t forget to pin if you’d like to try your hand at the Unicorn SPiT “Cracked Up” paint effect.

Full tutorial how to make this gorgeous "Cracked Up" Unicorn SPiT window planter with plastic picture frame windows. Includes how to get a rust effect with US  #UnicornSpitTechniques #Windowplanter #UnicornSpitRustEffect #FauxRustEffect #ACraftyMix #PictureFrameRepupose #UnicornSpitIdeas #PictureFrameCrafts #SpillingPlanter

And just in case you want some more gardening and planter inspiration, DIY Idea Center is celebrating gardening week and they have loads of awesome tutorials.

Oh and if you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more amazing craft ideas to share with you 😉

AmazonBasics Photo Picture Frame - 4' x 6', Black, 2-Pack
Unicorn Spit Gel Stain and Glaze in One, 4 Ounce each - 10 Paint Collection
OXO 2154200 Pepper Grinder, Clear
Darice 16 by 20' Chicken Wire, Window
Sale Timeline Wood Skinnies (Raw Pine)
TCP Global Wood Paint Mixing Sticks - 50 Pack - Automotive, Crafts, Airbrush, Art

And if you prefer to buy rather than DIY

Sale Umbra Cubist Floating Shelf with Built-In Succulent Planter – Modern Wall Décor and Geometric Display Shelf for Books, Candles, Mementos, Photos, Indoor Plants and More! | Large, Black
Round Wall Pocket Basket Planter with Faux Rust Finish, 8'
Greenco 4 Cube Intersecting Wall Mounted Floating Shelves Espresso Finish

And as always wishing you a beautiful crafty week, filled with many happy moments. Thank you for popping in for a visit.

Made with love by a Crafty Mix

Categories:   Craft Tutorials, Hacks & Revamps, Home Decor Crafts, Our Round House, Planters, Trash to Treasure


  • Posted: February 19, 2020 15:47

    Dorothy Ensz

    Been seeing this all over the place, Michelle, so I had to come see the process. Awesome. Totally looks like you dug it out of the ol' chicken coop. And I know, because I've been around some old chicken coops back in the day. Much better to see the results this way than what the chickens have been using for years. Lol. Love all your imaginative projects.
    • Posted: February 19, 2020 17:18


      YES!!! what a perfect way to describe the little window planter Dorothy. 😂 Love it!!!
  • Posted: February 16, 2020 20:43

    Linda at Mixed Kreations

    So clever and soooo cute! I love your rusty windows really cool technique. And I LOVE LOVE your paint effect with the unicorn paint. Cutest window planter box I've ever seen! 💖💖💖
    • Posted: February 17, 2020 06:01


      Thanks so much, Linda. Unicorn SPiT sure does make it easy to play around with different techniques 😉
  • Posted: February 16, 2020 20:37

    Christina Woodcock

    This is one of my favorite projects of yours! I couldn’t stop saying wow! It looks old and chippy which is amazing! ❤️❤️
    • Posted: February 17, 2020 05:59


      Aaaaawwww Christina, thank you so much. You know how much I love your projects so that means a lot to me.
  • Posted: February 15, 2020 00:08

    Donna via Funky Junk Interiors

    I think you just won the award for most unique picture frame idea EVER! My goodness... this is crazy cool! I'm featuring your project in this weekend's DIY Salvaged Junk Projects 514. Thanks for linking yours up!
    • Posted: February 17, 2020 06:03


      🙊 We're not worthy, we're not worthy 🤗 Thank you so very much Donna, doing the happy dance right now BTW.
  • Posted: February 10, 2020 00:21

    Audra @ Renewed Projects

    Unicorn Spit has such fun colors! The project you made with them is adorable!
    • Posted: February 10, 2020 07:09


      🦄 SPiT is the best 💜
  • Posted: February 8, 2020 18:55


    I think this might be one of my many favorite creations of yours Michelle. Although it's hard to choose. I can't even. The succulents, the little window... it's SO beautiful!
    • Posted: February 9, 2020 05:34


      💞 awwww Katrin, thank you so much. Succulents are always a winner
  • Posted: February 6, 2020 12:23

    Rosemary Palmer

    I LOVE this. Very different. I've always wanted to try the Unicorn Spit Paint.
    • Posted: February 6, 2020 12:43


      Oh Rosemary, you're going to have so much fun playing with Unicorn SPiT. Not only are the colors deliciously gorgeous, but it smells so yummy too. I hope you get to try it soon.
  • Posted: February 5, 2020 16:05


    Well, I did take a sip of my coffee while reading Julie's magical saliva comment, too funny! This is amazing, Michelle!!!! That creative brain of yours blows me away. This baby needs featured at the Talk Of The Town party next week, just say'n!
    • Posted: February 5, 2020 16:20


      Oooops 😂 looks like my timing was a tad better than yours Marie and doing a happy dance for the possible feature. Thank you so much
    • Posted: February 6, 2020 14:43


      Actually you just said the right thing she is really amazing
  • Posted: February 4, 2020 13:17


    This is so clever, love how you started with 2 plastic picture frames you'd never guess. The whole thing is adorable.
    • Posted: February 4, 2020 15:44


      😘 Thank you CLaire, those plastic picture frames do come in handy
  • Posted: February 3, 2020 20:24


    That is just crazy good, Michelle!! I love the way it turned out.
    • Posted: February 4, 2020 04:44


      😊 Thank you Kim, I suspect a whole bunch of other stuff in our home is going to get "cracked up" 😃
  • Posted: February 3, 2020 18:15