Monster Plants From Outer Space: DIY–Try It!

When I first saw Shirley Bovshow’s “Man-Eating Monster Plants,” I knew I had to make some of my own. If you haven’t been to gardening maven Shirley’s blog “Eden Makers,” please visit! She’s the go-to for all things growing. Or, in my case, all things dying. My thumbs are mostly black, not remotely green. But as this craft only requires inanimate objects, I figured I had a shot.

For full disclosure, I feel I should start by telling you that crafts can be difficult for me. First off, I’m not innately “crafty.” I’ve met those types of people. The folks who can tie a bow perfectly every time, or wrap the perfect present, or artfully put together a bouquet of grocery store flowers so they look like a hundred bucks.

That's one scary plant! Photo from E. Lillith McDermott
That’s one scary plant!
Photo from E. Lillith McDermott

Not me. My grocery store flowers look, well, like grocery store flowers. But, I am also a tad bit of a perfectionist. Okay, more than a tad. I’m a total and complete type-A perfectionist.

Generally, those two personality aspects add up to several days of stress when any craft project is undertaken.

This was no exception. The fabulous Bovshow only required an hour, plus drying time, to make her version.

Mine took three days.

How can you not love these? Photo from E. Lillith McDermott
How can you not love these?
Photo from E. Lillith McDermott

While I believe that a second attempt would shorten my timeframe, unless you too make picture perfect bows every time (in which case, I’m jealous of you already), this will take you longer than an hour.

Some of that time is simply figuring out the various supplies. While it is possible that spray foam insulation is a regular guest at your craft table, this was the first time I’ve ever it. Now that I know how to handle it, I think the general time required will be less.

I also made it more difficult by altering her original design. My Halloween décor is mostly purple and black with a few orange accents, so I decided to keep my monster plants in that color scheme. On top of that, I decided two plants per pot would look better in my living room, so I doubled the work per planter! This craft lends itself to personalization, so knock yourself out!

Needed supplies. Photo from E. Lillith McDermott
Needed supplies. Photo from E. Lillith McDermott

Materials: (as listed originally on – with my additions)

  • Tree branch (I found a local park getting a park department trim and liberated several recently cut limbs. This allowed me to trim off the perfect sections. I opted for green limbs for strength.)
  • Flower Pot (The brilliant Bovshow suggests repurposing flower pots you have around the house. I, however, had nothing around the right size so I found a nice selection of fairly inexpensive pots on Amazon.)
  • Spray Foam Insulation (First time for me with this product. I used Great Stuff Big Gap Filler.)
  • Artificial Pumpkins (I used two different sizes for my doubled up planters. The larger have more impact, but the smaller are much easier to work with.)
  • Spray Paint (My suggestion: Get double what you think you will need. I would have saved time if I hadn’t had to return to the craft store. Twice.)
  • Silk or Faux Leaves (I found several groups of these in the fake floral section of my local craft store, but they are also available on Amazon.)
  • Hot Glue AND Super Glue (Bovshow only suggested hot glue, but I needed both to hold my pumpkins on the branches.)
  • X-ACTO Knife (Bovshow suggests a pumpkin carver, but I broke mine within minutes. The craft knife worked much better for me.)
  • Decorative Touches (I used Spanish moss and skeleton parts.)
  • Duct Tape (Not listed on Bovshow’s original specs, but necessary to hold my pumpkins together.)
  • Painters Tape (Not needed for Bovshow’s original design, but required for my two-colored monster plants.)
  • Q-tips (This goes back to the perfectionist issues I told you about, see the last step.)

Instructions: (See for original instructions.)

  1. Obtain a tree branch. I found a recently cut, green branch that was over large. This allowed me to cut down the most interesting part. The green texture gives more strength.
  2. Find a flower pot. Bovshow suggests using an old pot you currently have. I didn’t have any around the house so I chose two off of Amazon. Due to cost and shipping I went with a faux ceramic option.
  3. (Not original direction) Bovshow suggests the next step is filling the pot with spray foam insulation. After several misfires, I altered the directions. As I chose to use a lighter pot, I filled the bottom with sand I purchased at my local hardware store. Dirt or gravel should work just as well.
  4. (Not original direction) Prop the desired tree branch in the dirt/sand/gravel and spray foam insulation around and in pot to fill remaining space.

    Spray foam will look frothy and white while wet. Once dry it will turn more yellow and glossy. Photo from E. Lillith McDermott
    Spray foam will look frothy and white while wet. Once dry it will turn more yellow and glossy. Photo from E. Lillith McDermott
  5. (Not original direction) Allow spray foam to dry overnight.
  6. Use a pencil to draw a large, open mouth with teeth along the length of the pumpkin(s). Make sure the stem is at the back of the mouth.
  7. Use either a pumpkin carver or an X-ACTO knife to cut out the mouth.

    Don't be afraid of making mistakes during the cutting. I made many mistakes, but they still turned out fine! Photo from E. Lillith McDermott
    Don’t be afraid of making mistakes during the cutting. I made many mistakes, but they still turned out fine!
    Photo from E. Lillith McDermott
  8. (Not original direction) As I wanted a two-tone pumpkin I sprayed the inside of the mouth with purple spray paint and allowed to dry for several hours.
  9. (Not original direction) Once the inside is dry, use the painters tape to block off the inside of the mouth. On the bigger pumpkins, I used newspaper balled up on the inside to help cover the inner mouth. This is easier done before the pumpkin is attached to the branch.
  10. (Not original direction) To attach the pumpkin to the tree branch securely, cut out a tree branch-sized hole in the stem with the X-ACTO knife, fill with hot glue, and insert the stem into the hole. Support pumpkin until dry. Fill spaces between the branch and stem with super glue.
  11. (Not original direction) Once glues are dry, firm up the connection with duct tape. I used black as my color scheme called for black stems. Chose the appropriate color for your pumpkins, although I did paint over the tape with spray paint.
  12. (Not original direction) Use spray paint to paint the outside of the pumpkin as well as the branch and the stop of the spray foam insulation.
  13. (Not original direction) Use whichever color spray paint you chose to spray one side of leaves. Once dry, flip over and spray the second side. I used purple on the leaves to accent the purple inside the monster plants and contrast with the black of the branches.

    Leaves during spray painting. Photo from E. Lillith McDermott
    Leaves during spray painting. Photo from E. Lillith McDermott
  14. Use hot glue to attach leaves along the tree branch so that the monster plant looks appropriately plant like.
  15. (Not original direction) Once the entire plant is dry, use Q-tips dipped in the appropriate paint color to touch up areas of hot glue or spots where paint doesn’t entirely cover. (I told you I was a perfectionist!)
  16. Spray the foam insulation with adhesive and top with Spanish moss.
  17. Add decorations or place in an appropriate spot.

I hope you have as much fun with these as I have! I love my Monster-plants-from-outer-space so much, I intend to replace our almost dead guest bedroom fern with one, or both, of my creations. These are exactly the right type of plants for me – ones I can’t kill!


Happy Halloween!

Add some Monster-plants-from-outer-space to your Halloween Decor. Photo from E. Lillith McDermott
Add some Monster-plants-from-outer-space to your Halloween decor. Photo from E. Lillith McDermott
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