One of the best things about living in South Africa is that we get to spend a lot of time outdoors, pottering around in the garden. So it’s no wonder that we enjoy making things for our garden; like these terracotta pot halves. They add so much visual interest and fit right in with this month’s IBC pottery challenge. So I thought I’d share an easy to follow tutorial that shows you how to cut terracotta pots the right way and use them to make create a broken pot fairy garden or these pottery tree planters.
But before I show you how to cut terracotta pots, let me quickly tell you a little about the IBC (Int’l Bloggers Club). Every month a group of bloggers from around the world get together to create something using a common theme. Our previous challenge was all about wool and we shared our secret tricks to make the fluffiest pom poms ever!! You’ll be able to see what my friends did with their pottery challenge at the end of the post.
What you need
If you want to cut terracotta pots quickly and easily you’ll need one of my favorite tools – a Dremel. Whoever invented that thing deserves an award. If power tools frighten you, then a Dremel is just what the doctor ordered to get you over that fear. They’re lightweight and so easy to use. Plus they come with all these teeny-tiny, little attachments which means you can use your Dremel to slice, dice, drill, screw, sand, buff…… well just about anything you can do with a normal power tool 😉 To cut the terracotta pots you’ll need the diamond cutting wheel attachment, some water, gloves, and a dust mask.
If you plan to turn the terracotta pots into tree planters you’ll also need some outdoor garden twine.
How to cut terracotta pots the right way
Terracotta pots can be difficult to cut cleanly. They’re quite brittle and crack or chip easily. And cutting them is a dusty business. So best do it outside and to reduce dust while you work, soak the terracotta pots in some water for about 20 minutes first.
Let the pots sit for a few minutes to dry out a little before cutting. Mark where you want to cut.
And secure the terracotta pot in a vice or on some kind of stable surface.
Put on your protective gear and move the diamond cutting disc slowly along the cut mark to avoid wearing out the disc.
Take it slow and steady so the disc doesn’t overheat and crack the pot.
Apply a slight, downward pressure as you move the disc along the cut mark.
When the first side is done, flip the pot over and lightly score the other side along the mark you made earlier. It should crack along the score mark without you having to cut all the way through, very much like when cutting a piece of slate to make a heart.
Remove the cut terracotta pots from the vice and sand the cut edges.
And they’re ready to be turned into tree planters.
Turning the cut terracotta pots into tree planters
Turning the terracotta pot halves into tree planters couldn’t be easier. All you need is a suitable tree and a piece of garden twine.
Place the cut terracotta pots against the tree and wrap the twine a few times around both the pot and the tree to secure. Don’t tie them on too tightly to avoid damaging the tree. Just make sure they’re flush up against the tree and won’t slip down.
We put ours on a yucca that’s growing outside our front door.
Add a few small pebbles, sphagnum peat moss, potting soil, and suitable water-wise plants to the pots. Terracotta is porous, which is great for preventing soil disease and root rot. But, it does mean that the pots won’t “retain” water as well as other materials, so it’s best to plant something that’s drought-tolerant. The peat moss will help with water retention too.
I planted some creeping thyme in ours. It doesn’t mind a little shade and is very drought tolerant once established. We have lots of thyme in the garden. It’s one of my favorite plants to use in our fairy gardens. A lovely Flowering Ivy (Senecio Macroglossus) and succulents will work too. What would you plant in yours?
If you like the idea of using terracotta pots as tree planters don’t forget to pin it for later.
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 😉
Until next time, hope you have a lovely crafty week and don’t forget the see what my friends from the Int’l Bloggers Club have done with their pottery challenge. Their links should be down below.