Succulent Wall Art




I decided to make some living wall art with succulents. This time around was more of an experiment to see how it could be done. I have compiled a step by step instruction as to how I made my own living art box to hang on a wall.

As a note, I made this prototype with the concept of making more with better materials. I have a slew of ideas and creations, but I wanted to get a better grasp on how easy it is to build them.

So, here are my notes on how I built my first living art 12"x12" frame box.

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Step 1: Materials

Materials: Scrap stained 1"x6" Redwood, old picture frame, scrap wire mesh, scrap 1"x12" Redwood, caulk, cactus mix soil, moss and succulent cutlings.

Tools: Table saw, finish nail gun, wire snips.

Step 2:

To start I cut the frame box and made each side 12".

Step 3:

Then I finish nailed the box together and made a "top" and "bottom". The top and bottom pieces were the areas where I nailed the box together so you wouldn't see the finish nails as easily once the box was hung on the wall. When you put the planter box together, keep in mind the sides that will show and place the best sides of the wood facing the exterior of the box.

Step 4:

I cut the back piece and finish nailed it on the inside of the box.

Step 5:

Then I caulked the back and all the corners of the box to seal the planter frame up.

Step 6:

I took the scrap frame and cut it down in size to secure the wire mesh to the frame box and give the box a more finished look. I used finish nails in order to secure the picture frame to the box.

Step 7:

I put the cactus soil in the box and compacted it down. I put a very think layer of moss on top of the cactus mix in order to hold the soil in and retain a bit more moisture. The moss is more of an experimental idea, but it seems like a good one...

Step 8:

I have quite a few succulents growing in my yard so I cut a bunch off in order to make my living art. The ends of the cutlings should "scab up" after a couple of days and then they are ready to insert into the soil and frame box. The cutlings will branch out new roots once planted in the box and essentially make a new plant.

Step 9:

I arranged the succulents how I wanted to make something interesting and beautiful. They will take root in about 6 weeks and at which point, I will put the planter box vertical.

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    40 Discussions


    3 years ago

    and also, does it {the box} have to be so deep. I really love the Hens and chicks....I want to hang some living art at my front door entry way on the brick wall...i love yours it seems to be flourishing. And looks beautiful!


    3 years ago

    Can you use any kind of wood?


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Would the plants survive if you watered it by misting with a spray bottle? I really don't know anything about caring for cactus-type plants.

    Here is a great site for beautiful and well priced succulent cuttings. They ship all over the US.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I found your instructable very interesting, congratulations :)

    Could you tell what kind of plants did you use? Because I've seen them in Spain and since then I'm courios what was it :P They're very nice (those with leaves looking like flowers).



    7 years ago on Introduction

    I know it's already been said (many times), but very cool! This might be the first thing I've found on this site that I may actually build. I think these would make lovely presents. If you're gonna give someone something alive, it's nice to make it low-maintenance!

    Thank you!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    this project reminds me of a beautiful installation from flora grubb i saw at an open house.. SOOO BEAUTIFUL... they actually have one diy project you can purchase with all the materials.

    1 reply

    Yeah there are a few companies around the world that make boxes for you and all you need to supply are the plants. They make amazing pieces!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I used to make some hanging boxes similar to yours--Love the picture frame idea on yours..
    My suggestion would be that at the top --drill 2-3 holes slightly towards the back in order to water the plants-- We left our tops open and inserted PVC tubes- bottom closed- and drilled very small holes up and down the sides- which helped to get the water down to the bottom...
    Great Job!


    7 years ago on Step 9

    Your succulents sure do look like what we always call "Hen & Chicks" or maybe "Ghost Plants"....... (Graptopetalu paraguayense), Okay, can't type with broken wrist and forget spelling.

    And I would use MORE moss than dirt, and just spritz with the hose in the hot summer once in awhile. I guess you do need to take it down once in a blue moon to water & feed it..... but just let the moss dry in between waterings.

    I use MIracle Gro in a very weak solution.


    7 years ago on Step 7

    "I put a very think layer of moss on top"

    Just to clarify, thin or thick? I figure thin but want to be clear.

    2 replies

    I meant thin. You don't need the moss, I just had wider chicken mesh so I used it to assist on holding the soil back.


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 7

    Really? I was sure you would have said a thick layer of moss. Why? Because you have a deep box and succulents mostly only need moisture.... oh well.

    I first saw this technique in a major magazine... and I have always like it.

    I live in Florida and yes I still need to shelter or cover my succulents in a freeze that lasts more than a short time.

    If you have any old wooden drawers, you can use them as well.

    Oh yeah, why do you caulk the seams? I am thinking to hold the box frame together? I still would recommend drilling some air holes in the bottom. \

    I do love this idea and a good one to build your own frame.


    7 years ago on Step 9

    Beautiful. I always wanted to make one. So far, does it leak or what happens to the wall it is on? Or do you keep it outside? Where I live, it is snowy and cold, so we would need to keep it indoors. Thanks.

    2 replies

    In order to water it, you have to take it down off of the wall. Give it a day to absorb the water and then put it back on the wall. Making the box out of sheet metal would be the best, but not very easy to do. I live in California so these plants thrive in this environment.

    Thanks! I grew up in CA, but this snow stuff is quite a challenge - things just stop for fall and winter gardening, whereas in CA we had kitchen gardens all year, etc.

    what are the dimensions on the box you made? how shallow do you think you can get away with? thanks!