We've all seen this gorgeous book planter doing rounds on the Internet (ahem! Pinterest), and it had become sort of a borderline obsession for me. Last week, I got my shipment of mini succulents and the project was good to go.
It looks near impossible, but honestly, it was easy peasy! Not to mention how adorable they are! I cannot take my eyes off them!
As a book lover, the idea thrilled and hurt me at the same time. So I picked an old book, on a boring subject, and this way, it seemed to me like giving it 'new life' again!
And succulents don't need much water at all, so no worries about watering daily. They need just a few teaspoons of water about once in two weeks. They are happier in dry soil! Aren't they super-nice?
This project has been entered into the 'Low water Gardening' contest. If you like it, please vote!
For this project, you will need:
1. An old hardbound book, atleast 1.5" thick - the length depends on how many plant you want to fit in. I got mine from Goodwill ($2).
2. an X-acto knife or a good quality box cutter. ($4)
3. Elmer's glue ( or any other liquid glue) ($1)
4. Plastic sheet ( decently thick, or double line it). I cut off a roll of plastic drop cloths (98c). Just a thick plastic bag will do.
5. a brush (to spread the glue evenly) (98c)
6. Medium sized pebbles from Dollar Tree ($1)
7. Succulents from Succulent Source ($15 for 5 plants incl. shipping costs)
8. Fairy garden accessories (optional)
Note:I made the accessories myself by gluing tiny branches to make benches and doorways. The pathways are wood chips from the playground. The make-believe well is an empty tealight. Butterflies are from an old earring. Blue rocks are from potpourri mix.
Step 1: Glue the Sides of the Book
1. Open the book to the page where you want the plants to 'pop out of'. Choose a pretty page. This will now be your planter's top / first page.
2. Pour a decent amount of glue on the three unbound sides of the book (excluding anything before and a few pages after your selected top page) and using your brush, spread it evenly and let dry completely.
3. Place weights on the book as the glue dries. Makes for a better bond.
This is quite an important step. The pages won't move while you're cutting out the insides of the book, making your work SO much easier!
Step 2: Hollow Out the Book
1. I measured 3/4th of an inch off the top, bottom and outer sides of the book. For the inner side, I left a margin of 1 inch. Draw out the shape using a pencil
3. Flip over the 'top' three pages, you'll be cutting these last, you want them to look the neatest as they are the only ones that will be visible.
4. Using your x-acto knife or box cutter, cut out the insides of the book. This part needs patience, took me almost two hours, but wasn't that difficult. Just remember to 'clean' out the shreds as you go, and keep the edges neat. You'll have most trouble at the corners, just turn the book all four sides to reach the corners efficiently.
5. Finally, with care and precision, cut out the 'top' three pages you set aside in the beginning.
6. Flip back the first three pages over until you fill the hollow with plants. After the hollow is filled and messes cleaned, you'll cover it up with the top three pages.
Step 3: Line the Book With Plastic
1. Take the plastic sheet and line the hollow you've made in the book. This will prevent water getting into the pages and decaying the book. The sheet should be bigger than you actually need: don't trim the edges just yet, we'll do it in the end after all the soil has been set down.
Remember to line the hollow excluding the 'top' three pages.
2. Using a stapler, bind it in place on all sides.
Step 4: Fill the Base With Pebbles
Line the base with pebbles to give some sort of drainage to the planter. You may also top the pebbles with activated carbon pellets to keep the soil and water fresh and free from bacteria.
Step 5: Add Soil and Plants
Use fast-draining soil for succulents, they do not like sitting in wet soil, let alone having their roots sit in water.
Add soil over the pebbles, packing it down, and adding plants as you go. This is the fun part, get creative, and just enjoy the process!
You may also add more pebbles/sand over the soil, after you've added the plants to prevent soil from dislodging in the future.
Step 6: And You're Done!
1. After adding the plants, trim out the plastic wrap.
2. Spread a little glue on the plastic and all around the sides.
3. Flip over the top three pages you set aside carefully, without damaging the plants. Let the glue dry.
Enjoy your pretty book planter succulent fairy garden. Water sparingly with a small syringe (maybe once in two weeks), put it in a place that receives indirect sunlight and you can enjoy this planter for a long, long time.
When you see the succulents have grown, and the planter has become crowded, shift some plants to other planters and make room for the others.
If during planting, a few succulent leaves fall off, don't throw it away. You can propagate new plants from these leaves.