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Living wall art

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I’ve been wanting to make one of these for a while but didn’t have a good enough reason to – until Christmas that is! I made two as gifts, they were more work than I had anticipated but still really fun to make and worth it overall. Thanks to my Dadsie who did much of the hard labour with the frames <3

Materials:

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  • Succulents of choice
  • Picture frames
  • Weedmat
  • Chicken wire or gutter mesh
  • Shadow box (premade or your can make your own)
  • Potting mix
  • Tacks and nails
  • Hooks and hanging wire
  • Scissors
  • Hammer
  • Nail punch
  • Thin tool like a pencil or end of a spoon etc.
  • Water

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Many years ago my family acquired quite a number of these vintage cheese boxes. They have come in handy for so many things over the years! They’ve been used for many a DIY project and met even more storage needs. I’m pretty sure this one I claimed is the very last unallocated box (when I say unallocated I mean full of random junk in the shed that I felt better belonged scattered over Dad’s workbench). Dad measured them up and then helped me to cut them to size – I’m not allowed to play with power tools yet! He also fixed a new backing on the middle cut to make a second shadow box.

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While Dad was doing that, I set to working on the frames. I really wanted to use repurposed/vintage frames but I just couldn’t find two of the right size and it was getting all too difficult so I had to go with these fairly plain frames I picked up from a junk store. I decided to sand them back to give them more of a distressed look – that was as good as I was going to get out of these and I’m happy ith the result overall.

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Back to the shadow boxes – once they were all cut to size and sanded back on the top I used weedmat to line them – this helps to retain water and more importantly prevent leaking through to the wood that may cause rot over time.

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Chicken wire is the preferred choice for some with projects like this but at my Dad’s ingenious suggestion I decided to use gutter mesh instead – worked a charm! And won’t rust like wire might either.

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Once the mesh has been tacked onto the shadow box we went ahead and attached the frame to the top.

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One last piece of hardware – hooks and wire in the back of the frame so they can be hung when they’re done!

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Next I laid the box on a flat surface and filled with soil, shaking to even out and then added water evenly over the top to let the soil settle. I filled the frame to about 80% capacity – needed to leave myself some wiggle room for when I was putting the plants in place. Oh and almost forgot! Activated carbon is the magic ingredient to any mini garden.

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And then I started filling! I snipped holes into the mesh/wire to fit root systems and stems with ease and made sure to fix plants in a downward angle so that when they stand upright they don’t fall out. This is where the pencil came in handy to push things into place through the mesh.

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And voila! It look probably about an hour for each one to put the plants in. My fingers were most tired by the end.

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If you do have a go at making one of these, at least for the first couple of days leave your planter sitting on a flat surface to let the roots and soil settle. Leaving it up to a couple of weeks would be the most ideal. Hang in a shaded but well-lit spot and lightly water with a spray bottle about once a week – more in warm weather.

Enjoy :)

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4 Comments

  1. Debbie says

    Loved the detailed commentary Jen. Now I know what was going on outside the window all afternoon! I wish I was on the receiving end of one (or both) of those. Fantastic gift.

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