Our June cover star Elle Franco, from the DIY with Elle YouTube channel, decided to do a fantastic DIY project just for the Essentials readers. So if you want to learn how to make a succulent shadow box by our favourite DIYer then keep scrolling…
As usual with most DIY projects, I saw this particular project online and thought to myself ‘I have to have this, because how pretty does it look.’ And the décor trend of bringing the ‘outdoors inside’ is really trendy.
I love to DIY, but lately, I am not that talented at keeping succulents alive indoors. Especially since the real, alive succulents need a lot of sunlight, and some rooms in my home don’t offer that.
I opted to use an artificial succulent from Distinctive Spaces, because these artificial plants look so real and with absolutely no effort required for the upkeep. That means no bad feelings as this artificial succulent plant will not only look good but it won’t die either!
Read more: How to create a succulent arrangement
This DIY is also great for a gift, for a study or office, stand alone on a table or hand on the wall. Let’s get started.
You will need:
- 1 x small Galvanised 4×4 bucket (R19.90 available at West Pack Lifestyle)
- 1 x artificial succulent (available at distinctivedesigns.co.za)
- 4 pieces of 20mm thick pre-cut pine wood to the measurements below (width x height/length):
(2 x 100mm x 240mm)
(2 x 100mm x 280mm)
- Paint brush & string
- Rust-Oleum ultimate wood stain in weathered grey colour
- Drop sheet or newspaper
- Soil and gravel stones
- 8 x 4.0 x 30mm wood screws
- Clear sealer or hard Varnish (optional)
- Pencil, measuring tape and scissors
- Power drill
- Driver bit (to driver in the wood screws)
- 4mm drill bit for wood
- A thin nail
- Hand gloves
- Safety glasses
How to make a succulent shadow box:
Wrap a piece of sandpaper around the sanders block or a scrap piece of wood and start sanding the pieces of wood to smooth the surfaces and rough edges. Depending on the state of your wood use gloves while sanding to protect your hands from wood splinters while handling the wood pieces. Dust and wipe the excess sawdust off the pieces of wood.
Lay down a drop sheet or newspaper down to protect your work surface. Read all the instructions on the Rust-Oleum Ultimate wood stain, to prepare and use. Open the can and dip the paintbrush and cover the wood pieces in the stain. Be sure to paint with the wood grain. I only painted one coat to allow the wood grain to show through the grey colour stain. Allow to fully dry.
While the wood pieces are drying. Focus on making the succulent bucket. First, fill your bucket with Soil and then push in the artificial succulent stem in the centre of the bucket and pat down the soil to tightly secure the artificial succulent.
Pour some small gravel stones over the top of the soil and around the artificial succulent, so that the soil is covered and the gravel stones are seen.
Optional step, to glue the top layer of stones to avoid a possible spill, as handling this project the bucket may tip over (tried and tested by yours truly). Pour some clear sealant or hard varnish over the layer of gravel stones and when that dries it will stick the gravel together and to the sides of the bucket.
Allow to fully dry.
Assemble your painted pieces of wood into the shape of a rectangle, longer pieces of wood for the sides and the shorter pieces of wood for the bottom and top.
Insert the 4mm drill bit securely into the chuck of your power drill and grab a scrap piece of wood to place under the project wood while drilling. This protects your work surface and helps the wood to not split.
Drill two pilot holes on either side of the 2 x 240mm (shorter wood pieces).
Measure and mark a point in the centre of the top wood piece, this will be used later to hang the
succulent from. ( 240mm / 2= 120mm mark).
Insert the driver bit to drive in wood screws into the chuck of your power drill.
Add some wood glue to the butt joints of the rectangle and drive in the wood screws. You can use a clamp to hold the pieces of wood together in place or ask a friend for some help.
Cut a piece of string and tie one end in a knot to the bucket handle and feed the other end of string through the centre drilled hole in the top piece of wood. (Make use of a thin pointed object or nail to feed the string through the drilled hole).
Determine the height you want the artificial succulent bucket to hand from and tie a knot in the string at that point and cut the excess string off with a pair of scissors.
Your beautiful DIY succulent shadow box is complete, to gift to someone special or to put on your home or office regardless of how much sunlight enters the room. You are welcome!