DIY Keepsake Cactus Sand Planter
I’ve got a lot of great memories of time spent in the sand. Even before I moved to the Gulf Coast I had regular visitation with a beach. Granted it was a beach at a lake in Oklahoma but since it’s all I knew it was pretty darn awesome! There was the first time we took my youngest nephew and he just sat in the shallow water rubbing sand all over his arms with a goofy smile on his face at the lake my sister and I grew up next to. My whole family was there. That was before my grandfather passed away. And then there was the time my older nephew and I got into a big splash match of epic proportions at the lake near my Oklahoma house in the center of the state. My parents were there with us and we all went home a little sunburned and so tired. We literally stopped for a soda on the way back to the house with a gas station with a bazillion beverages called Pops and I just knew one or both children were going to zonk cleanout and spill their pop on my mom’s leather!
Since I’ve moved way down south Rob and I have the first time we took Ollie to the beach with my uncle Les and my grandmother Mimmie. It was pretty amazing because Ollie doesn’t like many men but he ran alongside my uncle getting in the surf while Mimmie and I found amazing seashells, bits of coral, and lots even a piece of petrified wood. And Rob and I have been to the beach LOADS of times. I just love it so much and so he takes me often.
So I have a lot of beach-y memories. Some from landlocked states and somewhere the beaches actually have saltwater 🙂 But no matter where I’ve got lots of fantastic memories with the most important people in my life. So I decided to commemorate the times with a bit of decor for our living room that would match the color scheme we’ve got going on and bring a bit of color to my spiky new cactus. I love succulents but I’m totally into the cacti right now!
The next time you’re on the beach grab a sandwich baggy of memories and keep them for a sand art project just like this! If you don’t have anywhere to get some naturally, you can always buy sand at the craft store or for sandboxes at the hardware store. As a note, you can often find sand at rivers even if you’re in a landlocked state like I’ve called home!
For this project you will need:
I found this guy at the craft store and loved the shape of it. For half off, I decided to snap it up without a project in mind. When I noticed that my clay pots fit perfectly in the top things just fell perfectly into place. This particular glass vase is from Hobby Lobby and is priced very reasonably and even more so when that 50% off glass sale rolls around!
To make my layers of sand more distinguishable I wanted to color them differently so they would stand out and each “event” would be more distinct. You can very easily color your sand with food coloring. I used gel but liquid works just as well. I actually used a decorator’s gel food coloring kit I got from Amazon so I’d have more luck with getting the colors I needed to match a hand-signed print from Rob’s art collection and one of his favorite things.
You can squeeze the food coloring right into the bag that holds your sand. Use a fork to mash the sand up and mix the color in.
Continue adding food coloring to achieve the color you are looking for. This is black. It has a green tint but black food coloring often comes from green. Depending on the light it can look straight black or black with a slight hue of green to it.
Layer sand in the vase as you please. I had 4 different bags of sand so I made 3 colors and left one as is.
I layered the sand shaking the glass to make interesting shapes for the layers to take on. You can also tap the glass to make the layers nice, straight, and even if you prefer a neater look.
Once you begin to near the top place your terra cotta pot inside to make an indentation in the sand. If you don’t have a set choice for your color, and if you want to follow the pattern you’re making you can see where you’ll be at near the top to make that selection. I had already decided on flat black before I started so I worked the sand around that scheme rather than the color of the pot around how the sand came together.
You can layer the sand within about 1.5-2 inches from the rim. Take your dry, painted pot and push it into the sand with a turning motion. This might mess up your layers a bit but it can’t be helped, really. Continue pushing and turning until the lip of the glass almost meets the top of the pot. You’ll want a gap like you to see in the pic above.
Use a small spoon to fill in that last area and then give the pot one last set of turns to embed it right into the sand. Voila! You’re ready for some planting!
I planted a real, live, poke you like the dickens cactus in my pot! Now if you’re new to cactus, as I am, I’d really suggest getting some suede gloves. They can make ALL of the difference in digging spines out of your hands!
To finish off the dessert theme I topped the potting soil with aquarium pebbles. You might also notice that the sand settled a bit. To be honest I didn’t even notice until looking at this pic so I wouldn’t worry about it too much in the end!
Doesn’t everything go so well over there? I’m going to wind up doing something with that bookcase as our old gal Lucy chewed at the wood. It won’t change too much but I’m definitely thinking to add some contrast to help our much-loved items on top visually POP!
In the end, I asked Rob what he thought and he feels like our new keepsake cactus planter is the perfect addition to a little space that shows off both of our art. His is a hand-signed and numbered print by a famous artist and mine is a sculpture of a dog I’ve named Gina after the signature on the bottom I got for less than $2 at the thrift store 🙂