Monday, March 23, 2015

Tutorial: Book Planters

I saw these magnetic book boxes at Michael's and knew they had to be turned into bookend planters. The English ivy planter above was the first one I made and it got such an overwhelmingly positive response when I posted it in a craft group that I knew I had to make a couple more so I could photograph the process for a tutorial.

This project is very simple and doesn't take much time. I made both the London and the butterfly book planters while sitting outside waiting for the school bus. 

These are the materials you will need:

  • cardboard book-shaped box with a magnetic edge (I found these at Michael's)
  • potting soil
  • gravel
  • small plants
  • two storage bags (I used quart freezer bags for the larger box and sandwich bags for the smaller. If you're using a larger box you may need gallon freezer bags)
  • clear packing tape
  • scissors
  • box knife
  • small shovel

Pick a small plant or two that will be happy growing in a small container. I put English Ivy in the first planter, which I think will look amazing once it grows in. For this tutorial I chose succulents. These are Blue Elf Sedeveria, Hummel's Sunset Jade, and Firestorm Sedum. Book plants, meet world. World, meet book plants. 

This is one of my book boxes. It has a magnetic strip along one edge to keep it closed. Now we get to transform it from a confusing object of unknown purpose into something pretty and useful.

Take your box knife and carefully score around the top edge of the box.

Cut along your score and removed the panel, leaving a small width on both of the narrow ends.

Cut the zipper edge off the storage bags.

Place one of the bags inside the other, lining up the top edges. The double layer will reinforce the planter pocket and hopefully keep water from leaking through if one of the bag seals fails. 

Tape the bags together around the edges, then nestle the bags into the book. Tape around the top edge, overhanging the tape on the outside of the book to make the top edge water resistant. At this point, you'll probably want to close the book and tape along the top edge of the magnetic side but I left mine open for now to illustrate the next step.

Pour a 1-2 inch layer of gravel into the planter for drainage. Fill the planter most of the rest of the way with potting soil.

Add your plant or plants and fill in around it with potting soil within about 1/4" of the top of the planter.

Fill the last 1/4" of the planter with gravel. In addition to being decorative, this will help with moisture retention and keep gnats from moving in.

All done! Brush off any stray dirt and bring your new little friends inside.

Give them a little water (make sure to water slowly so it doesn't overflow the planter) and set them up on a sunny shelf so they can enjoy the view.

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