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Make Your Very Own Living Picture with Succulents (Here’s How)

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There’s no conversation piece quite as great as a living succulent frame. Your guests will be raving about your DIY craft project, and it will provide a stunning element for your interior decor. Even though it may seem trickly, putting together a succulent frame is incredibly easy if you follow these 8 simple steps.

What you’ll need:

  • Small pruning snips
  • Hammer and nails
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Paint brush and paint, if desired
  • Clean cloth
  • Chopstick or pencil
  • Succulent cuttings (these need to be prepared at least one day ahead of time)
  • Shadowbox made of redwood or cedar 1x3s, cut to fit the back of the frame
  • Picture frame with back and glass panel removed
  • 1/2-inch hardware cloth, cut to fit the inside dimensions of the frame
  • 1/4-inch plywood backing, cut to fit the back of the shadow box
  • Potting soil (succulent potting soil works best)
  • Sturdy picture hooks and wire (you can skip this step if you simply want to lean your frame against a wall)

Step 1: Prepare succulents

A few days before you want to complete your succulent framing project, snip small cuttings from your succulents. Remove leaves so that there is about a 1-2 inch stem remaining. Choose a variety of succulents that you think will look nice together in your frame and let the cuttings dry out on a tray until you are ready to make your frame. This will give the ends time to callus, which is necessary for growth. 

Step 2: Paint frame

If you want to paint or stain your frame, do it right after gathering your succulent clippings so that it has time to dry. 

Step 3: Staple the hardware cloth

Staple the hardware cloth to the back edges of the frame. Make sure that it is firmly attached.

Step 4: Attach the shadowbox and plywood

Use nails and wood glue to attach the shadowbox to the back of the frame. This provides a little depth and gives your succulents room to root and grow. Then, glue the plywood to the back of the shadowbox. You should now have a closed-in area to fill with soil through the mesh panel.

Step 5: Fil with soil

Once the glue has dried, pour soil over the metal mesh until it fills the shadowbox behind and touches the grid. You may have to shake it a little bit or use your fingers to push the soil through the holes. 

Step 6: Plant succulents

Use a pencil or chopstick to poke small holes through the grid and into the soil and stick one of your succulent cuttings into the hole. Repeat until the frame is filled, or all of your succulent cuttings are gone.

Step 7: Let them root

Don’t get too excited, and immediately hang your frame on the wall. It is essential to leave the frame flat in a place out of direct sunlight for at least three weeks to give the cuttings a chance to root. Don’t water until the third week, and even then, only a light drink. 

Step 8: Display your art

Hang your creation on the wall or set it on a table or decorative shelf and prop it against the wall if you are worried about stability. When it comes time to water (about once a month), simply lay it down, water, and let it dry for two days before rehanging.  

Tips:

  • If you don’t have any succulents, you may be able to find small cuttings online or speak to a friend how has succulents. Taking cuttings will not harm the existing plant, so it is a great way to share the joy of these easy, adorable plants. 
  • Keep your frame in bright but indirect sunlight. Succulents can get burned if they are exposed to too much direct light, but it can be placed near a south-facing window.
  • If you aren’t the DIY type, but still want to enjoy a succulent frame, you can purchase a pre-made kit with the wire and shadowbox already attached. You simply have to fill it with soil and succulents, and you’re good to go.

Have you ever made a living picture? How did it go? Share your thoughts and experience in the comments below!

-Taylor Ramsey

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