I was searching for mid-century style planters a while back and stumbled onto these amazing Bullet Planters that originated in the 50's. You can now buy reproductions of them at Hip Haven, but they'll set you back a few hundred bucks. Which is funny because the originals were only a few bucks! The originals are hard to find, but can be found on ebay, etc, many for a few hundred bucks themselves. Wouldn't it be fantastic to stumble onto one of these at a thrift store or flea market?
For some reason I started thinking that it would be cool to make a dollhouse sized version of these and it was right around Easter time and I spotted some plastic Easter eggs and BAM, the idea was born. ; ) These were so much fun to make. It was a bit tricky figuring out the best way to make them, but this is what I came up with. If you know how to weld I'm sure you could weld the wires together for a more accurate design (this person did just that!), but since I don't know how to weld, this was my solution.
What You'll Need:
(I bought everything I needed at the craft store, except for my heavy-duty wire cutters)
- heavy duty wire cutters (I use these)
- 16 gauge aluminum wire in black (found at craft store in jewelry-making section)
- jewelry cord silver end caps (they look like this. I unfortunately don't know what size, but I'm pretty sure I bought a pack of these at Michaels Crafts that had a variety of sizes inside. I used the largest size. They don't have to be silver because you will be coloring them with a black sharpie marker. You just need to be able to fit 3 cut pieces of 16 gauge wire inside (see photo in steps below).
- spray paint in preferred colors
- spray primer
- black Sharpie/permanent marker
- plastic Easter eggs in various sizes (these eggs come in different shapes, be sure to use the kind where the largest half of the egg resembles a BULLET the most, i.e. a bit of a point at the end instead of a more rounded shape, similar to the original Bullet Planters)
- jewelry crimping tool
- sand paper
- optional: black modeling clay that can be air dried (doesn't have to be baked) (I used this)
Ideas of things to plant in your "planters":
- small rocks (you can find these in the floral dept. at the craft store)
- Micro Terrarium plants (I found these at Joann Crafts. My "Dusty Desert Cacti" grew, but my "Dragon Tree" didn't, heehee. Probably for my lack of a green thumb.)
- fake miniature plants
Step 1: Cut your wire. To determine the length of wire you need, take your half-Easter-egg and with the top of the wire reaching past the top of your egg about a half inch, and without bending your wire too much, shape it loosely around one side of the egg and then extending down (which will be the legs of the planter). Decide if you want a short-legged planter or long-legged planter (you can see the different sizes in the first photo above of my planters), then cut your wire accordingly. Be sure to allow a half inch or so excess so that you can trim the ends perfectly at the end of this tutorial.
Then gently straighten out that piece of wire and cut two more lengths of wire at the same length. You'll have 3 total cut lengths of wire now. TIP: try not to be willy-nilly-bendy with the wire, because once it's bent, it's hard to straighten it out, especially with this wire.
Step 2: Now cut your cord end cap. You will cut it in half as seen below. You will use the half that doesn't have the loop on the end.
Step Three: Crimp your cut end cap around your 3 lengths of wire.
To do this, lay the 3 lengths of wire inside the end cap with them lying as flat as you can, side by side. Make sure that you place the end cap where it will be permanently. Once it's crimped it can't be moved. So, you will need to make sure that there's an appropriate length to wrap around your egg, and the right amount of length for your legs. You WILL end up trimming the ends some, but you should have plenty to work with.
Crimp the end cap with your crimping tool. (just squeeze the two ends of the end cap together with your tool)
Step Four: Bend the lengths that will be going around the egg as shown below. Bend them down at a 90 degree angle.
This part is tricky, so breathe. : )
Line up the crimped end cap with the very bottom of the egg, centered there. Take one of the top wires and wrap it upwards around the egg. The easiest way I found to do this is hold it in the middle with one finger, and with your other hand, wrap the top part of the wire over the lip with egg.
Keeping that end cap centered at the bottom of your egg, repeat this with the remaining 2 wires.
Flip your egg over and fold out the "legs".
Flip it back over and fiddle with the legs so that the planter sits straight and upright.
Step Five: Color the end cap with your black permanent marker so that it blends in with the black wire.
Step Six: Take off the wiring.
Step Seven: Now it's time to paint your eggs! Sand your eggs first, inside and out. I primed mine with spray prime on the outside and inside. For your colors: I did two coats of paint on the outside, and then one coat on the inside. Follow the specifications on the can for dry times and reapplication times.
Once your eggs have dried, attach your wiring again taking care not to scratch the paint. Add your rocks and plants. If you use rocks, add a small ball of tissue in the bottom of your egg and then cover it in a top layer of rocks, that way your egg won't be so weighed down.
Here's my "micro terrarium cactus plant" : )
If you'd like, you can add little "stoppers" on the ends of your legs to look more like the original Bullet Planters. I used a very small bit of the modeling clay I mentioned in the supply list. Or you can leave the legs as is and color the ends with black sharpie (the very bottoms will be silver where you cut the wire). I opted to go without the clay stoppers.
The Fine Print: You may use this tutorial for your own personal use. It may not be used for commercial purposes. Thank-you.