DIY Gifts House & Decor Repurposed

Succulent Book Planter

October 24, 2016

Have I got a conversation piece DIY for you! If you are a succulent lover… if you like getting crafty… then this DIY is for you!  Check out my succulent book planter!… Yep! Those are real live succulents planted in a real live book 😉  I’m sure this will raise the ire of staunch book lovers but let me assure you that I saved this book from the dump… its been given new life as a unique piece of home decor. Are you ready to make your very own succulent book planter?!  Get ready babies because it’s about to go down!…


As always, start by gathering up the project supplies… for this DIY you’ll likely have a number of these things around the house already!… YAY YOU!… I do love a DIY that doesn’t involve buying ALL OF THE MATERIALS to make the thing…


Hardcover book – I picked up this book for $1.00… yes $1.00 from a salvage shop

Tinfoil – who doesn’t have tinfoil kicking around the kitchen?

White glue

Paint brush


Metal rular – metal works best when cutting with xacto knives… we’ll be pressing hard and the knife can cut into a plastic ruler

Xacto knife – I swapped out the normal silver metal blade for the heavier duty black metal blade

Freezer paper – one side is papery, one side is plasticky


Activated Charcoal – you can get this at a plant shop or at the pet supply store in the fish section 😉

Pea Gravel


Succulents – these are so popular now I feel like you can find them everywhere… if you’re in Calgary I highly recommend you go scope out Plant in Inglewood

Moss/bark/rocks/shells – decorative items optional – these are to decorate the top of soil


To get started I chose one of the first few pages of my hardcover book that I want to see as the top page for the rest of time… or for as long as I keep the planter around.


This is where the tinfoil comes into play…  wrap the pages before the top page and the book cover in tinfoil to protect it while we tackle the next step.

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Using the white glue and paint brush apply glue to the page edges around the three sides of the book… a thin layer is all that you need. This will secure the pages together enough to hold the bulk of them together while you are cutting down through the book. Try to be careful not to glue the tinfoil to the book. Gluing the pages while the book is closed helps to keep the pages square… if you like you can open the cover after the glue is applied while it dries but you may have to squish it back into square…


I glue carefully and then set the book aside and wait for the glue to dry… You can stack some other books on top to ensure the page edges don’t wrinkle as they dry.


Once the glued page edges have dried break out the ruler and pencil… I leave the foil on because I found it helps to keep that top page clean and damage free… Using the ruler draw a square or rectangle on the top of the book… the size is up to you {tip: keep the shape at least 1″ from the spine and edges… it’ll make things go more smoothly… trust me… I’ve tested this out for you}


Once you are pleased with your shape, it’s cutting time… this takes a little time to cut down through… throw on your favourite tunes or a season of something on Netflix and settle in!… Starting from a corner of your shape press your knife in and cut down and pull using the ruler to keep yourself on the line… turn the book and work around cutting from corner down each line…


…once you get a little ways into the book you can ditch the ruler and use the edge of the cut pages to keep your knife straight while you work away… take your time… press with moderate pressure and cut slowly… there’s no rush… be safe… take your time… you will be much happier if you take your time and keep your cut work clean….


…as you work down through the book extend your blade to match the depth of your hole… don’t extend too much blade at once as this can increase the risk of cuts… don’t lose patience… if you find it helps to stand while you cut then do so… I find, to get the best out of the elbow grease that I have, standing works best for me when cutting down through a book…


…still with me?!… did you make it down through!? A W E S O M E  J O B!… Y O U  G O T  T H I S!

Now using the ruler measure the width and height of the shape that you cut… and measure your hole depth as well!… we’re going to make a little freezer paper box that keeps the book planter dry when you water your darling little succulents…

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It’s freezer paper time… this stuff is great!… papery on one side and plastic coated on the other…


…using the dimensions you took above transfer those onto your freezer paper – plastic side down – papery side up… the depth of the hole is the border that you see below… and the rectangle in the middle is just a smidgen smaller than the length and width of the shape that I cut into the book…


Cut out the outside shape and then fold along all of the lines…


Now we’re not going to get too fancy here… fold up two adjacent sides and pinch that extra piece of paper that ended up in the corner in half… this will make a little triangle shape… do this with each corner…


…then fold those little triangles in and press the triangle to the side of the little box that you are creating…


…like so…


Take out your white glue and paint brush one more time…


…apply glue to the triangle… then glue that sucker to the side of the box… do this with all four corner triangles…


Now there will be some looseness where these triangles are glued to the box from the folds inside… don’t even fret about these… these are inside the book, covered with dirt and you’re never going to see them… the main thing is that we’ve got a little water resistant liner for the hole that we’ve cut into the book… thats it!…


I tend to always make my little liner boxes taller than the hole…


…and then I trim it so that it sits just below the top of the hole in the book…


It’s time for just a little more white glue… using the paint brush apply glue to the sides of the hole in the book… This will hold the paper liner box in place…


Pop that freezer paper liner into he book and press it into the glued sides…


If you have great patience you can wait for it to dry… or you could go right onward with planting… the glue being dry at this stage isn’t imperative to continuing the process…


…also the freezer paper liner in the succulent book planter doesn’t have to be a super perfect fit… you’re not going to see it…

Take out the activated charcoal, pea gravel, soil, plants, and the decorative dressings for the top of the soil…


We’re getting so close now!… its going to get a little messy again before we’re finished… but it’s going to be worth it 😉


Drop a layer of the activated charcoal into the book planter… this will help keep it fresh… really it’s not going to get tons of water but better safe than sorry here… nobody likes a stinky planter… Next goes in the a small layer of the pea gravel for drainage… again it’s not going to see THAT much water but best do it right for the plants…


Then… yep… you guessed it! SOIL! Try to work with fairly dry soil as to not create a muddy mess on your book, which will dirt stain your top pages… if the soil is dry you will be able to brush or blow away the dirt once your plants are planted and the soil in the planter has been covered with your decorative toppings.


It’s time to plant!… give the root ball a little squish to loosen up the roots…


…and then nestle that little babe down into the soil…


Go with one… add in a second… this is entirely up to you… what do you like? a little cluster? just one in the middle?


You can see the messiness that happens… roll with it… if the soil is dry the clean up will be a breeze.


Pull out your decorative options for the top… here I have bark chips and moss… I tried the chips and didn’t like them and opted for an all moss topper to seal in the soil and to add some visual interest to my planter…

Okay, it doesn’t look like much because it is still wearing its tinfoil jacket and there is soil, moss, and bark chips everywhere…


Gently blow, vacuum, or brush away the soil and moss that may have gotten aaalllll over your book planter and likely also aaallll over the place.


Now… that’s more like it… one very fresh and oh so clean succulent book planter!


These plants are oh so easy to take care of… they require just a little water every now and then… how’s that for non specific watering instructions?  Checkout the internet for the specific watering instructions for your particular succulent… then when you water be sure to water the centre of the planter hole, and use an instrument that gives you control of the amount of water that you give to your plants!… a small measuring cup or spoon, or even an eyedropper!


Book planters make great conversation pieces for your home or a unique and thoughtful hostess gift!… or perhaps even a great maker night item to make with your book gang club!


If you have pet jerks cats I do recommend that you use a little bell jar on your book planter to cover the plants… our cats love to pluck the succulents out and bring them to us while we’re asleep! They’re so thoughtful.  The plants are so dry that I’ve never had an issue with moisture under the glass done causing the pages to wrinkle…


So there you have it!… an old book turned new book planter!… I CAN’T wait to see yours and where you put it in your home or who you gift it to!  When you get yours made please come on over to the Feathering My Nest Facebook Page and share a photo of your creation!… and if you would like to receive blogposts like this one right to your inbox pop your email address into the little subscribe box up at the top right of this page! And Hey! Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think of the succulent book planter!

Checkout this video of me showing some of this DIY on CTV Morning Live Marketplace!




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