New Magnetic Planters Field Test

Broken City Lab Magnetic Planters

Friday afternoon turned out to be more productive than I thought it would. We finished embedding all the magnets we have, which means we have 25 planters either done or drying and ended up with 3 installed on various surfaces to see if they survive the rain this weekend.

If they turn out, I’ll order some more magnets, but in the meantime we’re still working on stencils (the BCL stencil above was just a test), and we should be able to get the rest up in the next week!

Owen over at Windsor Visuals also already made a great post on Friday’s Office Hours, and some of his photos are included in this post as well.

Owen working away

Darren, Owen, and I started working on making some more new planters.

Owen working on the planters

We decided there needed to be more layers on the planters to increase their strength and help to maintain their shape.

wheat paste in the making

The wheat paste mix—1 part flour, 2 parts water, some salt.

planters out to dry

The first couple of planters drying in the sun.

repairng planters

I started working with Athena and Rosina on reinforcing planters made last week and adding magnets.

Justin, Ethina, Rosina repairing planters

Me, Athena, and Rosina working on reinforcing old planters and embedding magnets.

Ethina and Rosina making planters

The planters from last week varied in thickness, but it was a delicate balance to add the magnets while not making the planters themselves too heavy.

magnet problems

Owen discovered what happens when wet planters with magnets are placed too closely together.

Darren's stencil

While there were some planters drying, Darren started on a stencil. While we’re still trying to figure out what should be on these planters, we started with BCL.

Rosina cuts a stencil

Rosina started cutting another BCL stencil in mylar.

cutting a stencil

Drawing on the tracing paper underneath and then cutting the mylar on top.

BCL stencil cut

My Xacto knife was pretty dull.

spray paint

Found some spray paint I had hanging out in my studio (auto-body quality).

the table

The work table (we need a dedicated space).

holding down the stencil

Outside Darren held down the mylar stencil with sicks.

lining up the stencil

The mylar may end up being difficult to work with on the planters surfaces, which aren’t completely flat.


The stencil.

the first planter stenciled

The planter with BCL stencil.

Darren and Justin filling planters with soil

Darren and I started filling the sprayed planters with soil.

planter on the red door

Meanwhile, a couple preliminary spots for the planters were tested.

planters on the pole

The test planters lined up.

Darren and Rosina

Darren and Rosina go over the amount of seeds needed for a planter.

Darren and Rosina

Darren adds soil to the planters.


The wildflower seeds.

wildflower seeds

Rosina adds seeds to three of the test planters.

soil for the planters

Darren adds a bit more soil.

water for the planters

Athena has the water ready.

watering the planters

Athena soaked the planters pretty well, as it wasn’t supposed to rain until Saturday or Sunday.

Athena waters, while Owen reviews his last shot

Athena adds water while Owen reviews his last shot.

BCL planter, seeded and watered

One of the test planters installed on the pole near the side entrance to Lebel.

planter on the fence

We tried against a fence.

on the pay and park machine

Then on the pay and park machine, but there wasn’t a lot of magnetic surface on it.

on the fence near Huron Church

We settled on putting one planter on the no parking sign at the edge of the Lebel parking lot.

planter near the fence entrance, back of Lebel

We tried a couple spots at the back of the school too.

planter near the rear of Lebel

We settled on some of the old iron fence beside the entrance at the back of Lebel.

9 Replies to “New Magnetic Planters Field Test”

    1. No worries! It came off after some scrubbing. We should definitely try some different colours for stencils, I think Michelle has a bunch of paint.

  1. next time instead of using stencils, we should try cardboard block printing. i’ve been experimenting with it a lot lately. it works great on shirts and other cardboard (both of which have varying service textures), so i think it would be good on the planters. i’m going to really really try to make to the next meeting. i’ll bring some cardboard and acrylic paint to experiment with.

    1. That’s a good idea. We should try that this week. I think the toughest part about doing any stenciling or printing on these is that the surface for the paint is uneven. What paint colours do you have?

        1. That looks great, we should definitely try it.

          When I checked back at Lebel today, only 1 of the planters was still there (the one on the no parking sign). The planters left near the rear entrance and side entrance were gone.

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