Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DIY Living Succulent Wall

Alright! That little blip from awhile ago (check that out here) has finally happened!! I love it!

Disclaimer: This was probably THE hardest DIY I have ever done.  To the point where my dad basically did the whole thing for me and I'll just buy the box next time. But it was a good experience nonetheless.  

I'm not going to be like all the other DIY living succulent wall tutorials out there.  I'm not going to lie to you and make it look like the easiest thing ever. No big deal.  Those are the tutorials I found and I was really frustrated when I learned otherwise.  

I will however tell you that it's not particularly cheap, hardware cloth is not easy to work with, if you build your own box you need a bunch of tools and nails and glue, BUT it's totally worth it. Now I can say "I made 'dis!" when people ogle over it.

Junk you need:

  • Picture frame with removable glass
  • 1/2 inch hardware cloth
  • 1" x 3"x 6" wood (we used pine)
  • A clear, waterproof paint of some kind to help the wood stay water resistant
  • Nails
  • Wood glue 
    • Or buy a shadow box, knock the glass out of it and call it good

The first step is to build that STUPID shadow box.
  1. Figure out how long you need the pieces of wood cut for the sides of the shadow box.  We made ours a half inch in from the edges so about a 7" x 9" box.  
  2. Find a Dad, husband, boyfriend, someone who knows how to make shadow boxes and have them build one if you are at a loss like I was.
  3. Attach it to the picture frame. We (my Dad) made these cool slanted holes so that we could attach it to the frame from the inside so we wouldn't have to put nails through the front.
  4. Once it's attached it's time for the hardware cloth.
  5. Wise words from my Dad about hardware cloth, "It WILL cut you and you WILL bleed." Turns out he was right. Its super sharp.
  6. Start forming that box.  If you have an easier way, by all means. We took a ridiculous series of steps.  They went like this:
    1. Box making.
    2. Hammering.

    3. Pushing really hard.
    4. Cutting things off to make it fit. 
  7. Then! The genius struck me! Take the piece of glass from the picture frame and trace it giving 1 extra square on 1 side of the glass or 1/2 of a square all the way around.  However makes more sense to you.
  8. Fit it in the shadow box and start stapling.

  9. Attach the back.  We used plywood. Nothing special.
  10. If this is something you are going to be hanging and you are like me and dropped the ball on buying brackets. Grab that genius person of yours and have them use the brackets from the back of the picture frame that you will no longer be using.  Turns out you can get those hooks out in one piece. It just takes a bit.
  11. Wallah! You now have the box.
  12. Start filling it with dirt. Succulents like well draining soil so I use cactus soil.

  13. Start adding the succulents.  I bought mine from Succulents Galore on Etsy.  They were prefect! She sent me an array of sizes, shapes and colors.  She sent be about 45 cuttings but I ended up needing probably closer to 50-60. I just went to my local Fred Meyer and bought some more. 

  14. Water your living succulent wall every 6-8 days so the soil is moist. After a month, you can cut back to monthly watering.  LEAVE IT FLAT UNTIL IT FORMS ROOTS!!! If you pick it up to hang it, all the plants will fall out.  

    I'll add better pictures once it can stand up.
  15. ENJOY!!
  16. I had to pull some of the leaves off to make some of the plants fit better/to make more of a stem on the plants so I'm attempting to propagate them. I'd give you instructions but I'm still learning how as well. If you want to give it a try this is the site I'm using.  Good luck!