How to pretty up plastic?
October 28, 2011 3:57 PM Subscribe
What materials can I use to decorate (i.e. completely cover and disguise) the outside of a plastic container? I have made some self-watering planters from storage containers, but they’re very ugly as-is and I want to decorate them. Looking for methods that are durable and weather-resistant, and (if known) won’t leech into the plastic and the soil.
posted by Nattie to media & arts (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have made some self-watering planters for the garden from 10 gallon plastic storage bins. I would like to make them more attractive, so painting or adhering other materials to the outside of the bins would be nice. Ideally, I would like to make it less obvious that they aren’t plastic storage bins, so I have toyed with the idea of using textured paint (like that spray paint that has rock flecks in it), flat stones or shells, clay, wicker, or something to create a ceramic effect, to cover the containers.
In other words, I want to make them look more like normal planters. I cannot nest them in normal planters because the water reservoir must be filled from near the bottom. Plus nice-looking pots are expensive.
Problem is, I know NOTHING about what materials are plastic-appropriate, reasonably weather-resistant, and won’t leech bad materials through to the plastic and soil. The plastic is probably already leeching enough awful stuff, I figure. What are some things I could use?
* I have no clue what kind of plastic the container is made of. It has a recycling icon on it with no number inside. I’ve looked it up online and everywhere says it’s simply “plastic.” I intend to use other containers too, so I am interested in things that work on a wide range of plastic.
* I am not going to be doing anything to the inside of the containers, just the outside, so when I say I don’t want stuff to leech through it would have to be pretty powerful.
* The plastic has some give to it, i.e. you can twist the container slightly and it pops back. It’s reasonably sturdy, but I don’t want to, say, paint it with something and then huge chips break off when the container bends a little.
* It will need to endure heat and rain. I don’t mind if it fades over the years (although stuff that avoids that is cool), I’m just concerned that if I like, decoupage it, it’ll degrade and shred off, or if I glue something to the outside it'll fall off, etc.