Goodwill DIY: Succulent Planters

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
July 26, 2016

DIY Succulent Planters

I’ve got a thing for turning everyday objects into succulent planters. Part of this was inspired by a friend who had tea cups and ash trays and cute little bowls filled with succulents as part of her wedding decor—the rest of it is because succulents are the only plants I’ve ever managed to keep alive.

I took some time to plant some new succulents in some everyday objects, including a small mason jar, a tiny moka pot that I found years ago at Goodwill—and have never actually used to make coffee—and I decided to try my hand at cutting glass bottles to turn a beer growler into a planter.

Replanting a small succulent is easy—all you need is some succulent dirt, a pair of gloves if you’re working with cacti, and the plants! Simply put a bit of dirt in the bottom of your container, loosen up the roots on your plant, drop it in, and add a little dirt to the top. It is really that easy when it comes to small succulents.

As for the growler, here are the supplies you’ll need:

  • From Goodwill: glass growler, cotton string or yarn, leather gardening gloves, metal tongs, hammer
  • Other supplies: 2–3 small succulent plants, succulent/cactus potting dirt, a 60 grit sand paper block, acetone, and a lighter

(In total, this project cost around $25—and I’ve got leftovers of everything but succulents and the growler for my next attempt!)

DIY Succulent Planter Growler Supplies

DIY Succulent Planter Growler

Be sure to do this in a well-ventilated area—with access to water. I used my dual-basin sink with my kitchen windows open.

The first step is to decide where you want to make the cut on your bottle. As you’ll see, my cut wound up much lower than where I had wrapped it—so plan accordingly. You can’t put the glass back on, but you can chip more off! Once you’ve decided where you want to make the cut…

  • Fill one side of your kitchen sink with ice water.
  • Cut a length of string that can wrap around the bottle 3–4 times, and soak it in a dish of acetone.
  • Wrap the string 3–4 times tightly around the bottle slightly above where you want to make the cut.
  • Set the bottle down in the empty sink basin, don your gloves, and get ready with your lighter and tongs.
  • Light the string on fire—it should burn for 30 seconds to a minute before you start to hear the glass crack.
  • Once you hear the glass begin to crack, and the fire burns out, pick the growler up with the tongs, and submerge it in the ice water.
  • Use the hammer to gently tap the glass just above the string—the top part of the bottle should begin to come off in chunks.
  • Use the hammer to chip away other unwanted pieces. (Tip: Hit them from the inside to keep the edge smoother looking on the outside.)
  • Once you have the rim to the basic shape you want it, (and you’re still wearing your gloves!) use the sand paper block to thoroughly sand the sharp glass edges.

Once you’ve adequately sanded your edges, use the same instructions above to arrange and plant your succulents. I opted to put the taller cactus toward the back, and the shorter plants toward the front.My growler was cut a little shorter than I planned—but I still like the gold accent on the brown—and it’s a nice little summery centerpiece for my kitchen table.



Kim fancies herself a professional communicator. She has experience in writing, graphic design, and social media, and is always looking to expand her knowledge base into other fields of communication. She loves people, coffee & Seattle (including the rain).

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