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If you’re like us, you probably save a lot of things because “one day we’ll totally have a use for that [insert thingamajig here]”. For us, one of the biggest piles of stuff we have is those black plastic nursery pots that your plants come in from the garden center.
You know the pots…they come in 4-inch, 1 gallon, 5 gallon, and even 15 gallon sizes when you buy plants. They’re not pretty to look at, but they’re juuuuuust good enough quality that it feels like it would be bad to simply toss them in the trash.
How to Reuse Plastic Nursery Pots for Halloween Decor
Since we have a pretty good sized garden, and we’re always experimenting with new plants in new places, we have a TON of nursery pots stored at our house.
This year, I decided we needed to do something with at least some of those pots. So I grabbed a few cans of spray paint, some Cricut removable vinyl, and fired up my Cricut Maker machine to reuse the black plastic nursery pots as spooky fun Halloween decorations.
Of course, I also created a cut file to use on my Cricut machine with pumpkin, ghost, and Frankenstein faces that I used as a reverse stencil. You can download the cut file for free using the big button below.
What You’ll Need to Make These Halloween Face Decorations on Plastic Pots
Making the Stencils on your Cricut Machine
I don’t know about you, but I like to use every square inch of my vinyl, cardstock, and other materials when I’m making things with my Cricut machine. With that in mind, I decided to make three faces for three pots and combine all the elements to fit on one 12×12 inch Cricut mat.
To get started, click the button below to download the SVG file and follow along with me in Cricut Design Space.
- First, you’ll want to select all the elements and drag them out so you can see them a bit better.
With everything selected, click the “Weld” button. This will combine everything so you can drag it to the appropriate size for your own pots in the next step. It also keeps all the elements arranged like you see in my screenshots, instead of the Cricut Design Space software trying to lay it out in their own way.
2. With the weld complete, click the “Make It” button to get to the Prepare screen.
3. On the Prepare screen, make sure you’re set up for the Material Size of 12×12, then drag out the welded elements so they’re just inside the red margin lines on the Cricut mat image.
Then, click the “Continue” button in Cricut Design Space, load up your mat with the removable vinyl, and click the cut button on your machine to get things cooking!
The Halloween Faces and Stencil Parts
A couple of the items on the free Halloween SVG file might seem a bit strange, so I added this little legend graphic below. The ghost and pumpkin faces are pretty obvious, but you also get the Frankenstein hair, neck bolts, and even stitches you can use to get some really good monster details.
I created these for use with one-gallon plastic nursery pots, so on a 12×12 vinyl sheet these will be about the size you see in the final photos. Also, the two pieces of Frankenstein hair can be combined to wrap all the way around the top of the plastic nursery pot. The one gallon size pots are about 19 inches around at the top.
Cut and Prep the Halloween Faces on Removable Vinyl Sheets
After your Cricut machine makes all the cuts, it’s time to prep the Pumpkin, Ghost, and Frankenstein faces that you’ll be applying to the nursery plant pots.
I used silver colored removable vinyl to better show the contrast for this Halloween decoration tutorial, but any color will do since we’re only using the vinyl as a reverse stencil that we’ll peel away later.
After your Cricut machine has done it’s cutting magic, weed away the excess vinyl. Leave only the faces and detail parts on the backing paper.
Next, apply your transfer tape over the top of your vinyl items. Since we used a full 12×12 sheet for this project, I cut a 12×12 sheet of Cricut Transfer Tape off my roll and slowly unrolled the sheet while rubbing the tape with my Cricut scraper tool to make sure the tape adhered well to the vinyl below.
Once I’d applied transfer tape to all the vinyl items, I individually cut around the pumpkin face, the ghost face, and the Frankenstein face to make their own sticker sheet.
I also cut out the Frankenstein detail parts so those could be applied easily on their own as well.
For Frankenstein’s hair, I also cut the two strips apart. The one gallon pots I used for this project are about 19 inches around, so the two pieces of hair should overlap just a bit once you wrap it around the top of the pot.
Apply the Vinyl Faces and Details
Peel the vinyl backing sheet off and carefully apply the sticky side of the vinyl & transfer tape to the black plastic nursery pot. Use your Cricut scraper tool and your fingers to smooth out the vinyl onto the pot.
Don’t worry if the transfer tape wrinkles up a bit since that will be peeled off shortly.
At this point, the ghost face and pumpkin face pots are ready for paint. Our friend Mr. Frankenstein needs a bit more prep work, however.
After you’ve applied the Frankenstein face and removed the transfer tape, you’ll need to wrap the hair pieces around the top then decide how you want to use the “stitches” detail pieces.
I chose to use one length of the stitches for the top of the head (where Dr. Frankenstein himself inserted the brain!) after I had placed the hair pieces all the way around the top of the plastic nursery pot. I cut apart the other length of stitches to use as additional details on the face.
To keep the black hair line going all the way to the very top of the pot, I also applied some blue painter’s tape. This makes it easy to keep the green spray paint away from the black plastic underneath, which will become Frankenstein’s hair line when we peel away the tape & vinyl after the paint dries.
Spray Paint the Pots
Now it’s time to spray paint the black plastic nursery pots! I always wear rubber gloves and lay down cardboard to keep things (and me) from getting too messy.
I did one light coat on each pot, set it aside to dry for about 15 minutes, then came back and did a full second coat.
Once I had applied both coats of spray paint, I set the pots on an empty shelf in the greenhouse to dry overnight.
Carefully Remove the Vinyl Reverse Stencils
The next morning, I used my Cricut weeding tools to carefully peel away the removable vinyl to reveal the fun, spooky Halloween faces underneath.
For the thin, delicate vinyl like Frankenstein’s stitches, it’s super helpful to weed slowly in each direction of the vinyl. I pushed the weeding tool horizontally along the main line, then pulled down and pushed up on each individual “stitch”. If you pull too hard on thin material like this it’s pretty easy to tear the vinyl and have to start weeding up the edge again or worse, you can pull up paint that you didn’t intend to remove. Slow and steady is the way to go here. :)
Since I used silver vinyl, I decided not to use the Frankenstein neck bolts as a reverse stencil and instead apply the vinyl on top of the paint later to see the contrast of the “metal” bolts on the monster’s green “skin”.
This was a really fun project and I’m so glad I found a use for at least some of those plastic nursery pots we’ve been saving. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing some Santa pots and elf pots this Christmas as well!
Final Thoughts on DIY Halloween Decoration Plastic Pots
As I was repurposing these plastic nursery pots into Halloween decorations, I realized what a valuable project this could be for parents to do with their children.
Together, you can work on modifying the Halloween SVG cut file to add your own twist on the spooky monster faces. It can also help teach the skill of following step-by-step DIY craft instructions.
And when it comes to weeding off the removable vinyl after the spray paint has dried, this can really show your children what it takes to use craftsmanship to create original things like these Halloween face pots. There’s a bit of skill needed to weed off the thin removable vinyl pieces, and that skill only comes from practice, patience, and the craftsmanship you gain by making your own Halloween decorations from reused parts.
Sure, we could just run to the dollar store and buy a cheap plastic pumpkin bucket, but it wouldn’t be our own custom creation. Like our motto says, “use what you’ve got!”
If you make your own version of these DIY Halloween decorative pots or if you have ideas on how to modify them, please let us know in the comments below. I’d love to see your creations!