The Lorax Planter

Decoupage with glue and fabric or paper scraps to turn the jugs and containers in your recycling bin into beautiful pots for plants, herbs, and flowers.

What you’ll need:

  • an empty, clean plastic half-gallon or gallon milk jug or other container
  • colorful paper, pictures from catalogs, wrapping paper, or other interesting bits of paper such as candy wrappers, canceled stamps, old maps
  • scissors
  • a nail or Phillips screwdriver
  • white liquid glue (and a paintbrush to spread, optional)
  • water and damp rag or sponge
  • potting soil
  • seeds or seedlings


Start by poking at least six holes for drainage in the bottom of your container using a nail or Phillips screwdriver. If you are using a milk jug, cut all around the jug just below the handle. Recycle the handle portion.

Cut shapes or images from your paper and experiment with arranging your cut pieces to come up with an overlapping pattern you like. You might cut shapes in pastel colors that look like Truffula tufts and alternate the colors; cut out pictures of flowers, fruits, or vegetables and then overlap them to make a beautiful garden collage; or put together a patchwork quilt pattern with squares cut from different wrapping papers.

To decoupage, you spread glue both under and over your cut paper. Spread your glue around the outside of the container using wet fingers or a wet brush.  (Thin your glue with a little water for smoother application.)

Add your cut pieces, covering each with a layer of glue until all sides of the container are covered. If your paper wrinkles, use a knife or Popsicle stick to smooth.

Wipe excess glue with a damp rag and let dry. When dry, you may want to add another coat of glue thinned slightly with water for reinforcement.

During the drying time, you can gather your planting materials and read with your child. The Lorax or Oh Say Can You Seed?: All About Flowering Plants from The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library are good titles for starting a conversation about how planting more plants and trees can help keep our air clean.

When your pot is dry, fill it with soil. Pots used indoors will need a plate or something else from your recycling bin placed underneath. Plant seeds or seedlings, water, and enjoy this green addition to your home.