Living Painting Made From Succulents




Introduction: Living Painting Made From Succulents

Again an outdoor instructable. A living wall painting made from succulents. 

List of ingredients:
  1. An old van Gogh with frame or only the frame
  2. Some scrap plywood
  3. Some scrap batten or whatever you have lying around
  4. An old plastic shopping bag
  5. Wire mesh
  6. Nails
  7. Staples
  8. Paint / shoe mitt / spray paint / oil 
  9. Bonding adhesiv
  10. Succulents
  11. Soil
  12. Substrate
Let's Go!

Step 1: Dismantle Your Van Gogh

First you want to dismantle your van Gogh and make sure the back is more or less clean

Step 2: Make a Shadow Frame

Next thing to do is prepare a shadow frame from batten and a piece of plywood. this will act as the tray later on. 
The pictures are pretty self explaining. Measure well. or you will face the slight difference in size as I had (see picture) 

Step 3: Prepare Your Basket Aka Shadow Frame

When your basket is ready it is time to prepare it. 
As my batten was still blank and I had plenty of shoemitt left, I applied some shoemitt. Probably not the best Idea but lets see how it holds up :) 
Next thing I did was drilling some de watering holes as succulents store their own water and don't like wet feet

I made a lining of an old plastic bag and glued it in with the bonding adhesive. (any multi purpose glue will do)  I also made some holes corresponding with the dewatering holes in the frame once the glue is dry you can cut it to size. In the mean while the succulents have to be taken apart.  nice job :)

Step 4: How to Get These Succulents Smaller??

While the glue of the lining is drying in you can start taking the succulents apart. 
The come as one plant in a pot that is wayyyy too large to fit. 

Good news, Succulents are having shallow roots and usually these succulents are propagates as a single small plant that grows in the pot. 

some good tips can be found here

What you basically do is to take them all apart into smaller pieces and put them grouped apart for the next step

Step 5: Filling Your Shadow Frame With Soil and Succulents

OK. Now that the lining is cut to size, your succulents are divided into smal fragments it is time to  fill your shadow frame. 

Succulents don't like wet feet so I took 60% soil and 40% substrate  and mixed it up. 
Make sure you have the shadowframe filled up right to the edge but try to keep the edges clean as we need to glue on our frame there

once your frame is filled water it a little so the soil is damp

Then next step is to staple the wire mesh on the frame 

Once this is done you can start arranging your succulents the way you want.  I choose to group them for the visual effect. 

Step 6: Finish It

Once you have arranged all your succulents into the shadow frame, you can glue on the frame. 
Once all is done you have to keep the frame fleat for a couple of weeks so the succulents can set root again 

Once the succulents have set root (means you can tilt it without falling apart) you can hang it on a sunny wall. 

When watering don't give them too much as they store their own water. 

Good luck

p.s. You can spray your frames with transparent varnish to make them a little more dureable.. 

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    9 Discussions

    Cris DIY
    Cris DIY

    2 years ago

    Very nice! I think I will give it a try! Thanks for the instructable!


    5 years ago

    My daughter and I finally finished our version of the living painting. we went for.a.larger one to put outside her bedroom. Still needs to fill in a bit but we love the idea!


    6 years ago on Step 6

    Thanks for this. I was looking online for "living walls" as they call them (basically what you did) and most of them are between $60-100 without the plants or soil. Woah.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Looks wonderful ! We have a lot of different mosses where I live - will try it with those :)

    This is great! I've been wanting to do something like this for a while and hang them up around my backyard. How long do you have to keep it flat? How do you know when you can hang it up?


    Reply 6 years ago

    that is trial and error, i would keep it flat for a week or 3 and then tilt it to see whether everything stays in place. if it does so you can fit some lugs an wire and hang it on a wall that catches a lot of sun.