Greg and I had two large flame pots for our deck, big sturdy things that took up a ton of table space, but they looked great. That is, until they got left outside and the first snow fell. A little cold air and some wet snow and they were reduced to mush, no kidding. You would think at $40 a piece you would get something that was good quality!
Of course, it gave me an opportunity to perfect the system :). I made my own flame pot for $25 (including the gel!), it doesnt take up any table space (unless you want it too) plus I made it to match my outdoor furniture. You can make yours to match anything you like as well :). In fact, I might make one to sit in my garden on top of an old stone bird feeder.
1. Prepare your area and pots: Lay out your floor covering in a well ventilated area and give your pots and plate a little sanding and brush them off, this will help the paint adhere. Then with your drill bit, carefully drill the holes (or hole) for your handle into the terracotta plate. Do this before painting so you dont end up having to retouch the paint like I did :). Be careful! Terracotta is fragile. Just go slow while drilling.
2. Put your pots and plate on the floor covering face up and spray the inside and outer edges. Let them dry for 2 or 3 hours, then spray on a second coat. Be careful you dont get drips but if you do, you can always sand them off after it dries and touch up the paint. Let this dry for 24 hours.
4. The next day, screw the handle into the plate to complete the lid. Turn the base upside down and place the flame holding pot on top. You CAN use an adhesive if you want, but the weight of the dirt is going to keep it pretty steady, so dont worry too much about it.
5. Fill the top half full of dirt, this should keep the heat from the sides of the pot. Insert your flame gel holder (see below) and then fill up around the outer sides with more dirt to hold it in place. Finish the top with your decorative stones and put the can of flame gel in the holder. See? Super easy!
Flame Gel Inserts:
I had the inserts from my old pots, the ones that broke, so I didnt need to do this next step but the completist in me made sure that I thought it out so others could make one :).
Take your can of flame gel and wrap 2 layers of tinfoil around the bottom, leaving only the top exposed. Then take duct tape and wrap several layers around the sides and bottom. Slide the can of flame gel out the top and voila! You have an insert that you can put in the center of your pot. If you want to be sure that the can will slide out easily, do a layer of plastic wrap under the tinfoil, then remove it once you’re done.
There is always more than 1 ways to do everything, and I made mine this way to match my outdoor sofa, table and canopy. I also wanted to keep costs down to prove you can make a flame pot for under $25 with the gel included. For a little more money you can buy a nice plant stand and put the top pot on that instead, or for less money, get rid of the base entirely and just put your pots on the table top. Have fun!