Big Pops of Color in Small Doses: Bold Spring Planters

Hey hey Remodelaholics!  How goes it?  Can you believe it is March already, weren’t we just ringing in 2014 last week?  It’s Karah here again from the space betweenI hope the new year has been treating you well!!  I made a big announcement on my blog at the end of last year so I have been busy with that, I’m writing a book!  It’s crazy-overwhelming-unbelievable but mostly exciting.  I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you, too.

I don’t know about you but spring just represents so much life and light and new energy to me.  I love to get out there and get my hands dirty and start thinking about our vegetable and herb garden and get some new color growing in and around our yard.  Maybe it’s the sunny days or the warmer temps but it just feels more vibrant and makes me want to infuse bold colors about, albeit in small doses. Truth be told, I haven’t actually lived in a location with legitamate seasonal temperature changes for over 4 years now (we lived in Curacao for 3 years and now Key West, FL), but something about spring seems to infiltrate even the warmest of climates.

bold color planters by for

And this, folks, is the year I am finally taking care of something that has bugged me for years!

So many years I don’t even know when it started, I know we were living in Carmel, California at the time and these were our very first planter boxes.  And even though they are exactly the same size and shape and make the perfect pair, for some reason one is stained an one is not.

 bold color planters

I can’t explain it.  I don’t know if we did that or we bought them that way and just never got around to changing them.  It could be DIY circa 1999.  But whatever the reason these guys are long overdue for a change and now that they reside in Key West, FL I thought a bright color would bring just the right touch of spring color to our otherwise neutral exterior paint palatte.

Maybe you have a couple of old planters around that could use some love, if not, keep your eyes out at thrift stores or yard sales.  This would be the perfect update to mismatched planters to give them a unified look to make the perfect pair.  And such a simple project to add a little spring time vibe with a nice bold color.  Maybe you’ve seen a color you really want to try but haven’t found just the right spot.  With this type of project there’s no fear of commitment, maybe these planters will find themselves a burnt umber color come autumn.  🙂

First I taped over the metal supports so I could keep them unpainted.  I just ran a whole piece of painter’s tape all of the way around lined up with one edge of the metal and then trimmed the tape to the right width with my exacto knife.  

bold color planters

Then I gave them a liberal, yet haphazard coat of primer.  If your boxes aren’t wood, primer isn’t really necessary, but there’s just something about a nice white starting point.  I have always loved the KILZ brand primers, I used KILZ 2 on these planters.

bold color planters

And then here’s where I called in reinforcements.  I mentioned the part about writing a book at the beginning as less of a “hey, exciting for me” kind of statement and more of a “this will explain why I am not painting the planters” kind of statement.  DIY around here tends to be a family affair, and even though we don’t live anywhere close to family, whenever they come to visit they like to get in on the action.  Or at least they claim to like it and we jump at the offers to help faster than they can change their minds.  So during a recent visit, while I was scrambling to make a book deadline my dad worked on projects around our house while his girlfriend tackled the painting of the planters.  I chose English Yellow from the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint line, knowing it was brighter and bolder than I was normally used to using.

bold color planters

And what is not to love about a happy old lady dog supervising?  🙂

A few tips for painting planters:

  • paint a few inches down the inside of the planter as well so you don’t have to fill them right up to the very top with soil
  • I often use waxes with chalk paint projects but wax will melt in the sun so unfortunately this isn’t a great project for that
  • you may want to seal your finish to help protect against the outdoor elements, a clear spray varnish would be a quick option

For one little added detail I opted to try out something I hadn’t used before, the Shape Tape from Frog Tape.  Ever try it?  I had the roll of wave tape lying around and thought a simple, off centered wavy line would be the perfect finishing touch.

You can just tear off half of the backing of the tape for ease of use and line up the design with the marks they provide right on there.

 bold color planters

I opted for a more off-centered wave and really like how it turned out.  The marks on the tape that help you line it up are hard to see in the pictures so I circled a few for you.

bold color planters

Clearly I’m a fan of implementing seasonal decorating in a subtle approach.  Sometimes the little updates can have just the right impact.  You can refer back to our winter wreath and 7 ways to decorate with red for other seasonal inspiration.

I bought a flat of Impatiens that will hopefully fill out the planters nicely in a few weeks.  Or I could neglect them and they could die.  Let’s just hope for the best them.  

 bold color planters

If nothing else, they are in some fine looking planters. 🙂

bold color planters by for

And if you have any interest in learning more about the book, it’s all about making projects with pallet wood and has an anticipated publish date in September, I share all kinds of details here.

And you can find ideas for your small yards as you gear up for spring here.

small yard tips

And see how I added pops of color with word art a few years ago here.

 pallet word art




I love gardening! See how we (meaning Justin) added color to our yard last fall, and check out our raised garden boxes tutorial to build a garden or planter to add life and color to your outdoor space. 

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  1. Love the planters Karah! I’ve never seen that frog tape before so I’ll be looking for it today. But seriously….did they tell you at the garden center that those were impatiens?????

    1. Thanks so much for coming over and checking out the post … I’ve got them on our front porch now, with the rest of the updates they are adding a really fun pop of color!