Friday, 10 May 2013

1:12 Mock Terracotta plant pots and template

Not real clay sadly, but still effective.
The pots were made using lightweight card, that came from inside a christmas wrapping paper roll (optional :D), it is a bit stiffer than standard paper, so holds the shape quite well, though I put an additional layer of this card inside each pot, just to make it a bit thicker, and sturdier. To do this I used the same template, but cut off about 2mm from the end, so that the card would not overlap inside, and using a pencil to roll the (bottomless) pot, helps to firmly secure the card to the glue on the inside.  The rim is made using the same template of the pot, but using a strip from the top, about 2-4mm deep, and made slightly longer, keeping the curve. If you want the side of the rim to be at 90degrees to the ground, use a straight strip (pot 2 is like this, pot 4 is at the same angle as the pot)  They were flocked using Richard Stacey modelling powder in light red, though you could just paint them, or even leave them natural. The tiny one would look like those seedling starter pots, if left natural.  You could also stick embossed stickers or jewellery stampings onto the pots, before painting and flocking, which would be a nice detail.

I used the same method as Kris Compas' bucket tutorial, which is great for explaining how to make this "bucket/pot" shape. 

The template I made is for these pots.  The templates could also be used for mugs, buckets, lampshades etc. The I logic cone calcluator can be used to make templates with a larger or smaller angle than these ones.

The strange dull lighting in the photographs, is because the weather here is behaving erratically!

Graduating pots, in the same order as the template. The last pot is my first and experimental card pot, and is not on the template.  The first pot is a super cute 9mm high!

I used a needle to punch the holes in the card, before glueing the bottoms in. I now think the holes could be a tad bigger...

This is the card template, before it is rolled into its pot shape and glued using the tab, it helps to"curl" the paper pot template with a blade or something first . Glue the tab, line it up with the other side and use tweezers to hold until it sets.   DO NOT crease the tab, as this will misshape the pot, speaking from experience.  The bottom has the hole punched, and I used a stylus (blunt needle would work well) to crease the circle, to aid in bending the tabs. The tabs are created by cutting out V shapes as shown.

These pot templates were made with help using the I logic cone calculator available freely online. Or you could do it the old fashioned way and use the truncated cone formula.....................if you dare try to understand that, thankfully I found the cone calculator :D. Here I have drawn them with a true scale ruler to help with printing, hopefully that works ok, I don't have a printer,  so I don't know.   Though you could use them at any size you want.
The dotted line is just there to remind you not to cut flush to the solid line, as you will need this extra for the tabs. The pot bottom will need V notches cut into it.

P.s. If you don't own a printer, you can lightly trace these onto paper from your computer screen. I traced these shapes from the cone calculator produced shapes. Just use your screen magnifier to get them to the right size. Try not to damage your screen, should be alright if  you keep the pencilling light, mines ok, and I have been using my screen as a lightbox for years :D

Free PDF file of this template available here


  1. HI Sarah,
    This is really clever! I will have to try it myself. Thanks for the post.


    1. Thanks, definitely have a go. I sanded mine down a bit tonight, and lightly dry brushed them with some white and green, made them look more realistic.

  2. Your plant pots are perfect. Thanks for sharing.
    Bye, Faby

  3. Замечательные горшки!
    Спасибо за урок!

  4. Hello Sarah,
    I am totally past using real materials for miniatures. These pots are so perfectly accurate and scaled I think they are better then if they had been in terracotta. They create an incredible illusion of realness. Beautiful!
    Big hug,

    1. Many thanks Giac. It is always tempting to use the real materials for the novelty aspect I think, but not always the most convincing. I have abandoned using leather for making suitcases for instance!! :D Paper is the way to go!

  5. Hi Sarah! I was totally fooled by the finish of your pots! I thought that they were real and all because of the way you have constructed and finished them! Bravo!


  6. Sarah! How perfect that you JUST started following my blog! I was recently nominated for the liebster blog award, the rules are, when you're nominated, you have to nominate five-11 other blogs you admire, the only stipulations are, the blogs you nominate must have less than 200 followers, and they answer 11 questions that you compose. You are a perfect candidate for this award! I adore your blog (I love tutorials), you don't have that many followers yet, and I love to help out talented bloggers and miniaturists just starting out. Please contact me ASAP so I can publish my post about the fact that I've been awarded the Liebster award, and announce my personal nominees, post my questions, ect. The easiest way to get ahold of me is to go to my blog and click on the pink mail icon which is located directly under my Blog title. (I have writting a tutorial, located under the blogging tips tab at the top of my blog, the Post to click on is called How to add social Media buttons to your blog)
    And please, for my own and probably other people's sanity, please also read the blogging tip which is called How to remove the word verification feature from your blog.

  7. Yeah, I've been waiting for two days to publish my post about winning this blog award and have finally found 5 people to nominate! So I'm going to go ahead and publish it, most people are thrilled to be nominated. If you don't want to be, let me know, and I'll take down the link to your blog in my post and choose another blog.
    Take Care,

  8. Your pots looks great! Just like a "real" one =) Hannah

  9. Thanks so much for the template of these beautiful pots, great job! And I agree on the alternatives for the real deal. Great if it is possible to get it realistic, not neccessary - and fine to abandone as far as I'm concerned - if it makes it impossible to get it right and there's a good way to do it with something else.

  10. Thank you for the templates. I am going to try making the pots using egg carton, fairly thick and roughish surface


Thanks for your comment :)