Practical Print: Self-Watering Planter

For many of us, killing plants may be one of our greatest skills. If you think a plant CANNOT be killed, we’ll unintentionally make it happen. However, there is a solution! One that even the most deadliest of plant killers cannot mess up. Enter the self-watering planter. This print is super simple to execute, and with a little work in assembly, can last a long time in the household.

The Model

Self-watering planter 3D printed model on Thingiverse website

First, let’s talk about the model itself. Parallel Goods has been making fantastic household 3D printable items for years now. All of their models are made with usability and ease of printing in mind. The self-watering planter does not need any support material, fits on almost any printer, and does not require INTENSE knowledge of slicing in order to make it work.


For this iteration we used the following settings:

  • No support

  • 3 Horizontal shells

  • 4 shells top and bottom

  • .3mm layer height

  • 50 mm/s perimeter speed

By having no supports, this model becomes very easy to orient and reduces the likelihood of failure. The model has been designed such that there are no overhangs or bridging that a conventional 3D printer could not achieve. We really appreciate when a designer thinks about the printability, and usability, of the object they are creating. As can be seen in the slicing photos, we are printing them all in the orientation that Parallel Goods delivered the files in. This orientation ensures good layer adhesion and will help make the overall object watertight.

The first few attempts failed, as the layers delaminated and the printed object began to warp and crack apart. We added some bed adhesion solution so as to help reduce the warping problem, however, the delamination issue persisted.

Here's what the planter looks like after our print is complete!

But since we want to be certain that this planter can withstand water, we went ahead and further waterproofed the reservoir using the wood glue technique mentioned on the thingiverse website. Using Titebond Type III wood glue and a small paintbrush, we carefully applied the glue to the inside of the reservoir so as to make it watertight.

A succulent is in the top corner, the planter reservoir is to the left of the Titebond III wood glue, and the set of small paintbrushes is at the bottom of the image

For further details on how to waterproof your own 3D printed objects, look out for our future Tips & Tricks article!


Here's what we learned from printing this object: when printing larger objects try to use an enclosure or include a heat shield (where you make the height of the skirt the same height as the object). That way it ensures good layer adhesion.

For the planting we decided to use a succulent. Here in California we are constantly battling water shortages so using drought tolerant plants is a must for our location. What would you like to plant these days? Post a picture of your planter and tag us on Instagram at @closedloopplastics or Twitter at @clp_filament, we love to see what everyone is making!

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