Cardboard Gardening: Animal Cracker Planter Box

Jill Staake

The little red animal cracker box is an iconic symbol of childhood for many of us. My mom used to buy me a box in the grocery store if I’d been good, and I remember carrying the box by its string and eating the animals one by one. Occasionally, I still pick up a box just for a bit of nostalgic fun, and the last time I did, I started thinking about whether I could use it to make a little decorative planter. Below, you’ll find the steps I used to create this small succulent planter box, filled with a plant known as “Elephant Bush”.

Even though succulents don’t need a lot of water, I still wanted to ensure that the box wouldn’t disintegrate the first time it got wet. So my first step was to use Outdoor Mod Podge to seal the box inside and out.
  • I took the box apart and saved the wax paper bag. Once I flattened the box, I used a sponge brush to cover one side of the box thoroughly with Mod Podge. I let it dry for 5 minutes, then turned it over and sealed the other side.
  • I then allowed the box to dry overnight.
In the meantime, I prepared the plant tag, using the lid from the box and the label from the plant.
  • I cut off the lid of the box and used Mod Podge to seal the top side.
  • I carefully removed the label from the plant and glued it to a piece of white notecard, which I then trimmed down and glued to the backside of the lid, sandwiching a wooden popsicle stick in between.
  • I decorated the back with a few elephant stickers, then covered the entire thing with a coat of Mod Podge.
  • After allowing it to dry overnight, I used red vinyl electrical tape to seal and finish the edges.
Once the box was dry, it was time to reassemble and plant.
  • I used a hot glue gun to put the box back together, minus the lid. I sealed the seams with red vinyl electrical tape for security.
  • I replaced the flimsy short string handle with a piece of raffia, holding it in place with hot glue.
  • I trimmed the wax paper bag and used it to line the box for a little extra protection. I then placed a layer of decorative pebbles in the bottom.
  • I tucked the plants into the box, adding decorative stones around and on top to hold them in place.
  • Finally, I pushed the wooden stick of the label down into the box, to appear as it the lid of the box is open and plant is bursting out.


A Few Notes:

I think it would be fun to do several of these to decorate a child’s room, or as part of an animal-themed baby shower. Do you think you’ll give this project a try? If you do, let us know how it goes, including any improvements you make and the plants you use!
  1. Cheery Chickadee says

    I haven’t tried this yet, but I have a tiny pencil cactus in a foam cup and it is one of the best pots! There are several drain holes in the bottom, and I have it set in a bigger plastic cup. I just put a sprinkle on the cactus and fill the plastic cup with water so the Styrofoam cup floats. The cactus draws water through the bottom and is always green. By the way, I saw this animal cracker box in the newest Birds and Blooms.

  2. says

    Hey that ia a great idea for planting small plants,
    Thru Fall & Winter I have saving these 2litre bottles and other plastic containers
    to plant in.
    I think I picked up this idea of the Grit websie,
    Thank you,

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