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.
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 we modified and painted to give them that rusted look.
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 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 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.
- Scraps bits of wood
- 4 x L-shaped brackets
- Wood Screws
- Wood Glue
- Rusted ceiling tile (optional)
- 2 Plastic picture frames
- Wooden stirrers
- Rusty chicken wire
- Coarse Spice
- Wood Glue
- 4 Small hinges
- Unicorn SPiT
- Midnight Blackness – black
- Squirrel – brown
- Phoenix Fire – orange
“Cracked Up” Paint Effect
- 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
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.
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″).
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.
Glue and screw the pieces together, as shown below. If I were 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 😀
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 and glue them inside the frames. I used two stirrers per frame to bulk the crossbar up a little.
Lightly sand your picture frames 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 coarse spice randomly over the frames.
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.
Add a dollop or three 😉 of Phoenix Fire (Orange) to the Squirrel and use a toothbrush to splatter the picture frames lightly.
You should end up with window frames that look like they’ve been outside for many years, cloaking themselves with all that rusty goodness.
Finally, staple the rusty chicken wire on the inside of the frames.
That’s it. The picture frame windows are all done.
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 a teeny drop of Zia Teal (turquoise). Dragon’s Belly is quite intense and can overpower the other colors so go slow.
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.
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.
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.
While the glue is still wet, use a stirrer to smear the pale blue and green randomly all over the planter.
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, water-based stain all over the “Cracked Up” window planter. We used our Balsamic Rusty Nail Muti.
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.
Once the stain dries, apply a thin layer of glue and wait for it to get tacky.
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.
When the 2nd coat is dry, spray with a clear matt sealer to protect.
Putting 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 jewellery 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.
This “Cracked Up” window planter is going down to our teeny holiday home, so I used faux greenery.
If you plan on using real plants, don’t forget to drill some drainage holes and seal the wooden planter area.
I’m totally over the moon with how the “Cracked Up” planter turned out.
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.
Don’t forget to pin if you’d like to try your hand at the Unicorn SPiT “Cracked Up” paint effect.
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 😉
And if you prefer to buy rather than DIY
And as always, wishing you a beautiful crafty week, filled with many happy moments. Thank you for popping in for a visit.