DIY Special | Little heart-shaped Planters

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Well, it’s about time we had a DIY on here! Things have been pretty busy this summer with my day job as a freelance graphic designer so DIYs and fun blog stuff have sadly taken a back seat. But hey, I’m back….and this tutorial posts is actually a special one!

I was approached by the charity organisation Little Hearts Matter back in June about doing a collaborative tutorial for a fundraiser project they’re running this October called ‘HANDMADE HEARTS‘ to help raise money for the charity. If you aren’t aware of the organisation, their core focus – in a nutshell – is offering valuable support and information to families whose children are affected with the single ventricle condition…also known as ‘half a working heart’. From initial diagnosis to treatment to facing real life challenges, Little Hearts Matter are there to help these children and young adults face their difficulties every step of the way!

I was more than honoured to be asked let alone get involved, so to help out, I’ve created this super simple, hassle-free DIY tutorial if you fancy making little heart-shaped planters for miniature succulents and cacti for a good cause! I mean, who doesn’t like a bit of cacti love, right? Especially when they’re sooooo teeny and cute :) Anyway, all the information on signing up to this fundraiser can be found here. So have fun with these and I hope it helps raise some money!

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WHAT YOU NEED:

  1. Plaster of Paris 
  2. plastic cup or jug to mix your ingredients in
  3. tea light candles
  4. measuring utensil
  5. plastic utensil to stir
  6. deep heart-shaped silicon moulds (you can get either this 6-pack one or a large tray)
  7. array of miniature cacti + succulent plants (I bought mine from the Conservatory Archives in London)

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[STEP 01] In a mixing jug, pour out one cup of water and then add two cups of plaster into it (always adding the plaster to the water). Mix them both up until you have a somewhat not-too-runny smooth consistency, like a pancake mixture! If it’s too runny and a little bit more plaster and mix well. You want to make sure there aren’t any lumpy bits in there!

[STEP 02] As soon as the mixture is done, pour it gently into each of the 6 heart-shaped moulds so it’s roughly 5mm from the top. (you don’t want it right to the edge otherwise when you place the tea lights into it, the mixture will overflow!) Take your tea lights and place them into each mould – make sure they are in the centre and not touching the edges i.e. have some of the plaster of paris mixture surrounding it. Press the tea lights down gently so that submerses enough that the top edge is somewhat flush to the top of the mixture. This mould is deep enough allow room for the tea lights without it affecting the shape. If it tries to pop up then place a pound coin or a pebble to weigh it down while it dries. Leave it somewhere safe to dry for an hour.

Now, should you wish to opt for a large heart-shaped silicon pan as oppose to the 6-tray one, what you can do is either dot a few tea lights about or place a plastic cup or the bottom end of a plastic bottle into the mixture. Again, push it down so it’s 2/3rds in and use weights to hold the plastic cup/bottle base down while it dries.

[STEP 03] After one hour, take your moulds and gently pop out your heart-shaped cast out, which should be pretty simple with the help of silicon moulds! Slowly loosen the tea lights (or cup/bottle bases if you’re doing a bigger planter) until it gives and comes out. If the metal bit of the tea lights come out with the candle, try to pop that back into the cast. The reason for this is it protects your planter form any moisture from the soil or from when you water your cacti doesn’t affect the cast. For your bigger heart-shaped planters, if you’re using plastic cups or bottle bases you can either keep them in there and just trip down any protruding bits or take it out and place plastic plant pots in there…depending on the size, of course.

Now, leave these to completely dry for another 4-6hours. This is particularly recommended if you plan on painting it.

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[STEP 04] Now take your miniature cacti and succulent plants and repot them into your freshly made heart-shaped planters. For your larger planters, you either use larger succulents or have an array of various ones like you would do in a terrarium.

And there you have it! Little heart-shaped planters (pretty apt, right!) for your mini cacti! I reckon they have so much appeal you could easily sell them for a fiver or more!  And the larger ones for at least £10-12. mbm_diy-tutorial_heart-planters-10mbm_diy-tutorial_heart-planters-13

Well, I do hope that was all very straightforward to follow. Any questions, just leave a comment below and i’ll get back to you.

If you’re planning to take part in the fundraiser next month please remember to sign up here to get your free fundraiser pack with all the deets. There will be more heart-themed tutorials and recipes shared on all the Little Hearts Matter social media platforms so keep your eyes peeled for those this month so you can get your make, bake and sew on!! This is a great cause so please can I ask you to spread the word around at work, school and home….wherever you are! Oh and if you do make any of these please share your photos of them using the hashtag #handmadehearts so we can all follow and see what you’re up to!

Also, if you’re after more heart-themed DIY inspiration check out this necklace and personalised felt love hearts I did back a couple of years ago which I think would sell too.

Happy crafting folks!! xx
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[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

**This post was in collaboration with  the Little Hearts Matter charity, however, all words and opinions are my own, dictated completely by my love for  DIY and styling. If you wish to share any images from this tutorial, please provide full credit to Made by Molu including complete links to this post.**

[D.I.Y. Special] Paint-splattered Easter Eggs

MbM_DIY-EASTER-EGGS-(MAIN)Morning folks!

We are officially in the countdown to Easter so I wanted to share with you the Easter eggs I made in the week which you can now try out yourself today!  I’m actually quite excited about these bad boys as they’re made of PLASTER! I believe the last time I made anything out of plaster of paris was back in high school so you can only imagine my delight when I decided to use it for this DIY project.

To be honest, while I was pinning away lots of inspiration for Easter, I was thinking to myself how lousy it is to not be able to always keep your egg creations post Easter because they’re far too delicate to store or you just don’t have the space for it. I remember how torn I was about getting rid of the decoupaged eggs I made last year despite hanging on to it for a few months. I know it defeats the purpose of decorating new eggs every year, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to have a set that you could keep year after year? And that’s when I stumbled across Camille Styles’ concrete eggs. I did weirdly think about concrete but wasn’t sure how to go about finding the perfect moulds for it…….so how genius is actually using your blown out eggs as your moulds!?

Well, I obviously jumped at the chance to try it out. I didn’t have cement on me but there was Plaster of Paris kicking about in the studio (I had bought some for another DIY project I have in the pipeline) so off I went. Be warned that this is quite the MESSY project….but if little neat-freak me can cope, you sure can too! :P MbM_DIY-EASTER-EGGS_01

What you’ll need:

  • Eggs (blown out)
  • Plaster of Paris
  • a craft knife
  • wooden skewers or popsicle sticks to stir with
  • plastic or glass container to mix in
  • paint or any decorative material you wish to decorate your eggs with. (I used black acrylic paint, which I forgot to show here)

Start off blowing out all your eggs so you’re left with the shells. Then measure out your Plaster of Paris and water according to the instructions given to you on the tub. Normally, it’s one cup of water to 1.5cups of PoP. When you mix it together the consistency should be very similar to pancake batter.

Before you pour your mix in, just remember to tape up the hole on the top end of the egg to avoid the mix leaking out! The whole on the bottom needs to be at least a centimetre big for you to be able to pour the mix into. The reason for pouring it upside down is so that when the shell comes off you have a slightly flat edge for the egg to sit upright on.

Once all your eggs are taped up, pour in the mix shortly after its been made, filling it right up to the opening. This is your messy bit of the project especially if you don’t have the most steady hands!

MbM_DIY-EASTER-EGGS_10Once all the eggs have been filled with your plaster of Paris mix, set it aside for atlas two hours. So if you have any errands to run or chores to do, now would be the time for that!

When the plaster has dried, take your craft knife and gently scrap/chip away the eggs shell to reveal your beautifully egg-shaped plaster eggs. Since plaster is a lot softer than concrete, you will need to make sure you’re not taking chunks out of the plaster. You’ll probably find a few marks but that’s all part of the handmade look, otherwise you should have some pretty smooth eggs at the end!

This stage can be a bit time-consuming. It took me about 15/20mins to de-shell all six of my eggs. But hey, it really is worthwhile your time because what you get is simply amazing….as you can see below!!

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Now for the fun bit! I’ve used black acrylic paint for this part but you are welcome to do it in whatever colours you fancy. I went for a very Jackson Pollock-esque style by flicking paint haphazardly onto the eggs. As I said before, for a neat-freak, OCD kinda gal….you’d think this was mental but I must admit I found this rather liberating and therapeutic!

Anyway, whatever you chose to do, make sure you lay some paper or plastic sheets down over your work surface so to avoid Jackson Pollock-ing the rest of your house!! :P Place your eggs upright before you splatter the paint on – this way you’ll get a better chance of an all-round coverage. MbM_DIY-EASTER-EGGS_15MbM_DIY-EASTER-EGGS_16

Once you’ve had your art attack moment, leave it aside to dry. Depending on the type of paint you use, this can take from 20 minutes up to a couple of hours! So if you’re the impatient type, definitely opt for a quick drying paint!

And there you have it folks! You’re very own paint-splattered eggs which you can use all year round and year after year! Probably not toddler-friendly especially if you have throwers in your family but I can say that if you mix in a bit of coloured paint into the plaster mix, you can indeed use the eggs as big giant chalk for your kiddies. There are lots of tutorials out there for that if you want to check that out.

In the meantime…..please stop and admire these monochrome BEAUTS! Sorry, I’m just so delighted at how well they’ve turned out and how much of a KID I felt making them! I really REALLY hope you’ll give these a go this weekend if you’re still looking for ideas to decorate your Easter table. And if you do, share them away on Facebook, Twitter or IG and tag #madebymolu and #craftwithmolu so I can have a nosey.

Happy crafting guys and have a wonderfully restful Easter weekend!! xxxx
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[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]