Upcycled Giftgiving: Little ‘Stained Glass’ Potted Plants

Crosspost DIY Featured Holidays

It seems like everything from cookies to Christmas decorations comes in a clear plastic box, and although they are convenient, they leave a lot of bulky waste behind.

Fortunately, these are great materials for upcycling. With December and giftgiving time now upon us, I’ll share an easy kid-friendly DIY for holiday gift giving or decorating each week this month.

This week is small “stained glass” plant gifts. These are inspired by a beautiful trend I have seen of stained glass artists creating floral designs and placing them in real pots. The effect is very pretty and simple.

By using clear plastic sheets cut from everyday packaging that is easy to paint and cut, kids and beginner crafters can make a simple and inexpensive version of these works.

Draw our print out some simple plant images or leafs shapes and place plastic over them. Color with marker or paint, cut out and trace with metallic or black felt tip marker.

In addition to some plastic sheets, you will need some cheap glass paint alcohol markers or felt tip makers, a metallic or black felt tip marker, and some sort of small pot or container.

Find any large, flat piece of plastic, like the lid of a container, and a nice plain surface to draw on.

On a regular piece of scratch paper, draw your simple plant idea, or find a printed illustration as a pattern. For best effect, draw very simple leaves separately. These are both easier to draw and give the plant a more 3-dimensional effect when completed.

Place the plastic over the image, and tape the edges down on the surface to hold them in place. Paint each piece with a thin, smooth layer of glass paint and let it dry. It is easier to pick pattern or ideas where only one or two colors are needed per piece. Once dry, cut them out.

Use a metallic maker (I like silver) to outline each piece on both sides, to make it look more like a stained glass, or a black marker to give it a cartoonier “cel shaded” effect. Draw in details, if there are any.

You can make “real” plants like succulents, or fantasy plants like the cool garden in Plants vs Zombies. These can be both colorful and simple.

These can be placed in a miniature flowerpot, old vitamin bottle, or any small container you can find. Paint them, cover them with paper or cloth or just leave them as they are, depending on how simple you want you arrangements.

Glue a small pompon, cotton ball or ploy fiberfil inside the container, Then glue the bottom end of the finished plant pieces  on it, making sure to arrange them to look nice, as if you were arranging a real plant. Fill you pot with some cotton or polyfiberfill, and glue each "leaf" or plant piece on it separately. Glue on some small pebbles, sand or other surface cover, to make it look like a potted plant.

Fill the container in with small glass or plastic beads, pebbles or even sand to fill it out, and then place near a window or anywhere that needs a little “care-free” plant accent. If you are planning on giving these as gifts, make sure you use filler that won’t spill everywhere. Add plenty of glue over the surface before adding the filler. Then layer the pebbles or beads on top of the glue to hold it in place. If using something like sand, make sure the tilt the pot and lightly tap it to get rid of the excess.

From plastic container to stained glass looking plants, easy to take care of and to enjoy.

One of the nifty things about these items is the can be made in different sizes, including little miniature shadowbox size versions.

The smaller ones are particularly cute if you make a few of them to place together like a little potted garden.

A little “Plants vs Zombies” garden with upcycled materials. All images: Lisa Tate

Now, you can have little window or desktop garden that need no water or pruning, and help cut down on plastic waste at the same time.

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