How To Recycle Cinder Blocks Into A Colorful Lego Planter
I have been staring at a large number of cinder blocks for several years. They were left here by the previous owner of the house and I didn't know what to do with them. As I was working in the garden and looking over at the ugly pile it dawned on me that they reminded me of all the Legos we had piled in my house as my kids were growing up. That's when the crafty side of my brain went to work and this is what I came up with.
Creating this garden came at a good time. While driving though the desert a friend of mind came across a very large pile of cactus pads someone had dumped. He stopped his truck and piled them in. He put them in my front yard and it looked like a mess. I needed a way to put these pad into something that would allow them to grow and not look like dangerous mess. The cinder blocks were perfect.
Photo Credit : Mine please don't take them without permission.
Time required: 5 blocks took 3 days with dry time. Actual work 15 minutes
- Casting Plaster or Cement
- Peg Mold
- Gorilla Glue
1. I live in an area that doesn't freeze and gets very little rain so I use casting plaster in my yard all the time. It occasionally needs a fast spray of new color because we get a lot of wind and sand blasting. If you live in an area that freezes and gets a lot of rain you can use cement in the molds just as easily. The project comes out looking exactly the same. If moisture is a problem when the project is done just add a drop of silicone around the area where the pegs attach to the cinder block. The Gorilla glue should hold them forever, but as ice expands you don't want cracking.
2. In the Material area I added a link to the exact mold that matches the size for a cinder block. I had experimented with a few different ones and this one was an exact match for a Lego. I took the guesswork out of it for you.
I suggest getting several molds only because of the drying time for the pegs. I used 3 and was able to finish this project in 3 days. I made 5 blocks to start, but I plan on making many more.
3. Here you have a peg once you take it out of the mold. You must give it at least 24 hours to dry or the paint and Gorilla Glue won't hold as well. Once it's fully dried you won't have any problems getting it to stick to the cement and the hold will be permanent.
4. Red, Blue, Green, Yellow and White are the most popular and recognizable colors for Legos, but you don't have to stick to those colors. My next ones will be pink and black. In this photo I have several in the process of being finished. I painted the cinder blocks first and then painted the pegs before I glued them down. This really isn't necessary. You can glue them all down and then spray paint them. Make sure you use a spray paint rated for out doors.
5. Here I was experimenting with some different shapes for my new garden. Just like real Legos you can build just about anything. I started adding the cactus and they seemed to like their new home as they rewarded me with some blooms shortly after placing them into the soil.
6. Cactus love sandy soil and I don't have a shortage of that. You can add just about any plant you can think of. Remember that you will have to water it often. I choose cactus because they need virtually no care and thrive in drought conditions.
7. Here is one of the pads in full bloom. I am looking forward to these plants growing big and healthy. Next season the entire garden will look filled out and beautiful.
8. Here is the final shape I choose, but I am in the process of adding more. As the season goes on I should have around 30 more blocks finished.
9. If you have never worked with Gorilla Glue there are a few things I need to tell you about or warn you. You must use a sponge and wet the surface of the peg and cinder block both. This will activate the bond. In a little while you will see a foam. Either leave the foam alone or press down on the peg. If the foam comes out from under the peg it's no big deal. It will paint over and you won't see it when you finish. Watch the peg carefully while it goes though the foaming stage because it can actually move the peg. You may want to put something heavy on it while it goes though this stage. Don't touch the glue with your hands. It doesn't come off with water.