TrashTalk – Episode 4: DIY Outdoor Planter

TrashTalk with Tiffany Prat Episode 1 Blog header

Episode 4: DIY Outdoor Planters

Garden season is here and the weather is just beautiful out there. To get the most out of decorating your garden, our dear Tiffany shows you how you can build your very own outdoor planters using recyclable materials you would otherwise throw out.  

Watch the video below or follow the transcript, then download the guide!

DIY Outdoor Planters

Download this guide to follow along on your own time. Enjoy!

Video Transcript

Welcome to Trash Talk with Tiffany Pratt. Whoop.

This segment is inspired by my friends at, which is powered by RBC Ventures. And let me tell you, this DIY is extremely exciting because it’s something I’ve never done before. Using cardboard, masking tape, newspaper, a little thinset mortar, or a lot of thinset mortar, and some outdoor paint, I have created some really interesting outdoor planters, which will look incredible on your patio, or on your balcony, or as pieces of art inside the home. It’s challenging your inner maker, but I know I’m going to make this so simple you’re going to make a hundred of them. Stick with me.

Here’s what you’re going to need for this DIY: newspaper scraps, cardboard, masking tape, latex gloves, any type of vessel to go as your bottom for your planter, depending on what size you want, scissors, cardboard pieces. I found a plastic bristle brush for my thinset mortar. Outdoor paint, water, and then thinset mortar that you can find at any local hardware store.

So kind of scaling it down. I’m going to cut little pieces of cardboard. This is a game of strength. You have to really fortify that shape. Now I’m going to take my waterproof base. It could be anything from tin to a mixing bowl to a plastic container. I’m going to start to take my hot glue and apply the pieces of cardboard. Cardboard is malleable and you can kind of bend it a little bit so that it takes the shape of what you’re creating.

And so the next step is to finish off your lines with a little bit of masking tape. When you’re putting your thinset down, you want your cardboard to be stuck together. Your mortar is going to be lumpy and your mortar is going to have texture. So your shape doesn’t have to be completely perfect. You can decide if you want to add strips of newspaper to finish it off, but you don’t want to add so much paper that it becomes heavy.

I have a started planter. This is rock hard. As soon as the thinset mortar gets on top of it, it’s cement like. So if you can put on any type of glove, awesome idea. You’ll need two parts mortar to one part water. I actually more like to just work very slowly with water and just mix because you’d be surprised how quickly it mixes up and you don’t want this to be too liquidy. It has to have some teeth to it. You feel so bad when you’re mixing some cement and some mortar. You feel like you’re the woman. Okay, so it’s starting to get to that place. You’re going for it like your applying paint, but you’re going thick.

You can’t be afraid of it. You want to apply it thickly. But you don’t want it to be so sick that your cardboard collapses. It’s this interesting, delicate dance that you will learn.

And you let that puppy dry. This has to sit for at least 12 to 24 hours. So if I wanted to start to attack this piece with my leftover mortar, I can do that too. On one of my planters, I created a ball out of newsprint. These are great things to use because styrofoam is so nasty. So specifically on these taller cardboard pieces, you don’t want to get too heavy because it’ll fall.

So our thinset mortar has dried and our planter is rock hard. I love getting outdoor paint mixed into small sample sizes and trying out colors this way. I think outdoor paint is ideal because it will really seal in the mortar. And you want to just literally grab, as you can see, a bunch of paint and just smoosh it into the cement. Once the cement’s been painted, it has a totally different energy. And when you’re on your patio, you can say to the peoples that come over, “Hey, I made this myself.”

To make sure a hundred percent that your planter is one million percent waterproof, under no conditions is water getting in this baby, you can take a sealant. Once the paint is dry, you spray the entire planter with a polyurethane sealant. Ta-da. That’s how you do it. Pretty cool. Right?

So here we are. You have made your own planter. It’s so incredible to see all the cool shapes and colors that you can combine together and how artful they can look. Everybody’s space is so different. You can truly make your planters your own.

I’m super thankful to because without them, I wouldn’t have been inspired to use as much of the materials as I have today. This is a lot of cardboard and a lot of time, but a lot of love. So thank you, that’s supported by RBC Ventures. I hope you guys love the DIY. I cannot wait to see what you made.

Okay, guys, Trash Talk. Get in close. Come on, get those cameras in. Are you putting egg cartons in the garbage? Well, it’s not a good idea because they take years to break down. If they’re soiled with food, compost. If they’re clean, recycle. These are not garbage.

I got to talk about soiled cardboard. When you put your cardboard outside on a rainy day, or if your cardboard gets soil, or it has paint on it, you’ve completely compromised the recycling process. It’s a no go. You don’t want that puppy to get wet. Are you with me? I’m glad we had this talk.

She’s like, “Can someone please just get out of here?”

Tiffany Pratt Bio

About Tiffany Pratt

Tiffany Pratt is a designer, artist, creative director, author, speaker, television personality, podcaster and maker. She is a Technicolour force, and her multifaceted design philosophy transforms people, objects and spaces. You might recognize her from HGTV’s Buy It, Fix It, Sell It and Home to Win.

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by RBC Ventures Inc. or its affiliates.

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