It's usually the silvery, flower-like echeveria imbricata (aka hens and chicks) that most people get excited about… especially brides and bloggers. We have these guys and their cousin, agaves, planted throughout our backyard and they do really well in our mild, drought-like, Mediterranean climate.
Since I have an abundance of egg cartons and, with Earth Day coming up in April, I thought I'd try my hand at making a flower-like succulent out of a plain ol' egg carton. It's not easy copying Mother Nature, but I figure a handmade version is better than killing off another one of her offspring. ;)
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Egg Carton Succulent
papier mache egg carton - one carton makes 2 succulents
green acrylic paint-- I used this forest green
white acrylic paint
strong glue-- I used a hot glue gun
If you saw the Egg Carton Roses that I made earlier this month, then you'll notice that this succulent is very similar. The only difference is that the "petals" have pointy tips and there are 7 layers instead of just 4 for the rose. Now I went a little too pointy and, with a color change, this "succulent" can easily be transformed into a flower. If I were to do it again, I would make the petals more rounded with just a tiny point at the tip.
Then cut out the egg cups. There are 4 petals on each layer. If there are any natural, petal-like forms, try to keep those intact.
Sort through your egg cup pieces. I saved the pieces with "nicer", tall, formed petals for the bottom layers. The inner layers will be have shorter petals, and will be cut down to size, so the form doesn't need to be as perfect for those pieces.
not to be confused with the anatomy of an egg carton rose ;)
layer 1: Use two egg cups. Cut the petals into pointed tips*. Then cut the cup in half so there are 2 "petals" on each piece. This will be the bottom layer of the succulent.
layer 2: Use one egg cup. Cut the petals into pointed tips*. Cut a "y" shape for added flexibility and smash it down so the petals lay flat.
layer 3: Use one egg cup. Cut the petals into pointed tips*. Smash it down so the petals lay flat.
layer 5: Use one egg cup. The petals on this layer should be slightly shorter than layers 1-3. Cut the petals into pointed tips*. Use the pad of your thump to shape the "petals". Since this layer needs to fit inside layer 4, you'll need to "massage" the carton into the desired shape. The material is pretty strong and resilient so don't be afraid to really shape and mold it so that it nests properly.
layer 6: Use one small tip. Cut the petals into pointed tips*. The petals on this layer should be slightly shorter than layers 4-5 but longer than the petals on layer 7. Got that? :)
layer 7: Use one small tip. The petals on this layer should be shorter than layer 6. Cut the petals into pointed tips*. Cut it a little shorter than layer 6 and "massage" it into the desired shape so that it nests properly.
I stopped at 7 layers, but you can add more layers to the bottom if desired. I would use the top of the carton to cut longer petals and round off the tips so that the end result is more circular in shape.
*I went a little pointy with the "petal" tips. If I were to do it again, I would make it more rounded with just a small pointed tip at the top.
I went to the most honest person I know, my 7 year old, and asked him if it looked real. He said "No, not really… But if you put it next to the other plants and just glance at it… you really can't tell." Well, okay then… It's good enough to hang out on our window sill with the rest of the succulents! :D