How to Make a Chimney Planter

Updated April 17, 2017

Metal and lead chimney pots have long made sturdy planters. Unfortunately they are also very heavy and can easily become a permanent fixture because of the difficulty in moving them. A simpler solution is to use a lighter material. Paint can transform a fake plastic chimney pot planter into a pot with a deceptively realistic faux lead finish, complementing plants beautifully.

Sand the plastic planter well with medium grade sandpaper to provide a "key" for the paint, enabling it to adhere well. Working in a well-ventilated area, spray the planter evenly with white acrylic primer--all over the outside and on the inside at the top of the planter.

Allow primer to dry completely. Apply a second coat of white acrylic primer sufficient to cover the planter uniformly. Leave to dry thoroughly, preferably overnight.

Paint the planter evenly with charcoal-grey emulsion paint and leave to dry for at least 3 hours.

Tint the glaze. Place a little acrylic glaze in a plastic carton and tint it with white emulsion paint. Add water until the glaze has a runny, milky consistency. Briskly brush the glaze all over the planter, allowing the glaze to run unevenly down the surfaces, forming pools that are opaque in some areas and watery and translucent in others. Wash randomly over the glaze with a little water, taking care not to dislodge the glaze in areas where it has formed naturalistic patterns. Leave to dry for several hours.

Add more of the same glaze to some areas of the planter to give an impression of age-encrusted salts. Add water to soften any hard, unnatural lines. Flick splatters of the glaze randomly over some parts of the planter to give a further weathered impression. Leave to dry thoroughly, preferably overnight.

Varnish and seal the planter with acrylic varnish, working in a well-ventilated area. Apply several coats, following the manufacturer's directions for drying and reapplication times. Allow it to dry.

Plant contrasting flowers. Fill with potting soil and compost and plant flowers or evergreen plants that accent the faux finish.


Try using pansies, marigolds or English ivy to make the planter a beautiful focal point of your garden.


Always paint in well ventilated areas and wear clothes that you don't mind ruining.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic chimney pot planter
  • Medium grade sandpaper
  • Spray can of white acrylic primer
  • Matte emulsion paint in white and charcoal grey Paintbrush
  • Acrylic glaze
  • Plastic carton
  • Spray can of exterior acrylic varnish, in matt or satin finish
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About the Author

Richard Sweeney is a former educator and now freelance writer living on the Gulf Coast of Florida. He has been writing since 1995 publishing articles in national publications such as "Men's Outlook Journal" and "Travel". Sweeney left the education profession in 2007 but likes to remain knowledgeable about current policies and teaching techniques.