This tutorial shows you how to transform a simple hanging ceramic planter into a disco ball hanging plater that reflects light in your garden or home in fun and mesmerizing ways!
In researching for this project, we found out that the disco ball was patented in 1916!! Long before it's hay day in the 1970s, you could see a 'myriad reflector' hanging in in jazz night clubs during the 1910s and 1920s. (Source)
Here are all the tools and materials we used for this build. We do use some affiliate links, but know that every referral we get goes straight back into me making more projects.
- Hanging ceramic pot - we used a ceramic hanging planter that had a great sphere shape, but there are so many shapes to choose from. My local nursery also had a selection of used pots that that had some pretty wacky shapes at a discount. These days we 3D print them!
- mirror tiles
- stainless steel chain
- swivel hook
- glue syringe
- glue to fill it with
- For the inside of the pot I'm using a trimmed plastic pot and drainage dish.
- Coat your planter with resin for even more protection from the elements
- gemsetter tool
- It's nice to have a couple different kinds of pliers on hand for being wire and splitting chain, some strong cutters also are helpful.
For what it's worth, we've tried a lot of different glues for this project, and found that the 527 adhesive from Beacon had the quickest tack time and dried with the fewest air-bubbles and most flexible hold - If you plan on keeping your disco ball outside, try this Glass and Metal glue, it's perfect for days in the sun and has better temperature flexibility - but does have a longer set and tack time..
You should never use glue straight from the tube or bottle, you should always use some kind of applicator like a syringe, brush or stick.
When loading the syringe, it's important to wear gloves to prevent getting any glue drips on your skin. We've seen crafters even use paint tube squeezers on their glue tubes to help be one step removed from the tubes.
Tips for working with industrial craft adhesive
Depending on the surface area of the tiles you're working with, either apply glue the back of the gem or the surface of the planter - but not both.
If you take on this project, just get a feel for the glue - other industrial glues may have a slightly different consistency and flow, just another reason for testing adhesives before applying. (We've heard some unfortunate stories of things being glued together that CANNOT be undone :( Worst.).
Waiting for the glue to set before moving on to the next area to work on is important. The tiles start holding their place after about a minute, but you don't want to do any inversions or move it around too much.
Remember, WORK WITH GRAVITY - science is your friend.
The glue takes 10 minutes to really set - if it is too cold or damp where you are trying to use glues, you can use a hair dryer on low to speed up the setting process.
After the glue has set for a full 24 hours, you can pull off any remaining masking tape or pesky glue strings quite easily with a pair of tweezers.
Prepping the planter
Gluing anything to glazed ceramic isn't going to go well unless you sand it first.
To prep this planter, I used 120 grit and 220 grit sand paper to rough up the glaze to create more nooks and crannies for the adhesive to bond to the planter and mirror tile.
It's a good idea to wipe the planter off with rubbing alcohol and a lint free cloth to remove any grit or residue before you begin gluing.
Strap in, it took a super long time to set all these tiles.
May I suggest this disco playlist?
We found it looked best when the seams of the glass tiles are staggered, starting at a new point on each row that was glued on to the form.
Not to sound like the Bob Ross of adhesives, but it's your disco ball planter, play with it - there are no mistakes.
Working in the round for many rows can be very meditative, but don't zen out so much that you cover up the holes where the hardware is supposed to go with mirror tiles.
You may have to play with the spacing around the holes so wait for the row below it to be completely dried first.
We hope to figure out a more refined hanging hardware solution (June 2022 edit, we use machine screws and rubber stoppers now!), but in the interim, we looked around my studio and had a boatload of copper magnet wire which is both very easy to shape and cut while being very strong.
Using a wire cutter, we cut 4x 10" lengths of magnet wire and 4x 2' long sections of stainless steel chain. Later, we shortened the chain a few inches before hanging the planter.
Working one mounting point at a time, we inserted the the magnet wire into through the hole in the top of the ceramic pot and looped it back on itself using a pair of jewelry pliers to create a few securing loops, then trimmed the excess.
We connected the chain by opening the bottom link of each chain length with pliers and securing it around the magnet wire. The top of each chain length meets at the clip on swivel hardware listed in the tools and materials step.
Please share your version in the comments! We want to see your disco plants 👯♂️🌱
This project uses affiliate links that help me make more awesome DIY projects and tutorials - thanks for your support!
Want to dance along with our studio? 🕺💃 You can subscribe to curated monthly playlists here. It's a genre-hopping mix of electronica, rock, folk, R&B, and of course, disco.
If you'd like to buy your own discoball hanging planter, head over to this page!