My house is full of houseplants, real ones. I love how they liven up a room. But I like the idea of a paper plant because I can put it in a room where I’d probably forget to water it if it was real. Like in my basement, or on a tall shelf in a dark corner. I have so many spots like this in my house that could use a death-proof plant. And I want more options than the ZZ plant. (No disrespect to the ZZ, I have one😄)
This plant is something I created accidentally. I had designed the leaves to go with another project but I really liked how they looked on their own so I decided to build a whole plant out of them, just for fun.
I’m not going to lie, this plant takes time to make. Mine took just under two hours to create. You don’t have to finish it in one sitting though. It has several parts to it so you can split them up over several days. And the nice part is that this is a very forgiving project. None of the steps in this project have to be done perfectly, and your plant will still look beautiful.
Admittedly, there is one thing that turns me off about paper plants, and that’s the dust that will collect on them. So just remember to dust yours off once in a while, to keep it looking not so fakish. Also gravity may make the branches sag on you so when that happens you can give the branches a lift just by pushing them up with your hands. But I’ve had mine for over three weeks now and so far it’s still looking good.
PAPER PLANT TUTORIAL:
Container (I used a coffee mug)
An Awl or any sharp, thin object
Green Cardstock Paper
Here are the files you’ll need to make your paper plant (SVG, PDF, EPS, PNG, SCUT):
PART 1: Creating plant leaves
In your SVG file, you will find 5 different lengths of branches. Rather than cutting out all my plant leaves first, I actually cut them as I was creating my plant so I could see which leaves I needed and cut accordingly. So this isn’t really a “Part 1”. More like a “Part Throughout”
Step 1: Cut out your leaves
Depending on how lush you want your plant to look, you will need to cut out multiples of each size. If you want longer branches than what I have, you can easily glue them together end to end.
I used a total of 15 pages of 8″x11″ green card stock for my plant. That’s probably about 70 to 80 branches and most of them were the second longest branch in the file.
Step 2: Twist each leaf
Twist each leaf on your branches. It may seem tedious but it really doesn’t take long at all. Hold each leaf between your thumb and fore finger and give it one quick twist.
I randomly switched the direction in which I twisted each leaf, just so it wouldn’t look too uniform. Make sure not to skip this step because it will give your plant a more realistic look. Once you’re done, set them aside while you move on to Part 2.
PART 2: Creating The Container To Hold Your Plant
Before we do these next steps, have a look at the image below to see what we are building. I used a simple white mug for my container. The green paper you see is the part we will be making next. The bamboo sticks sticking out of the green paper is what you will use to attach your leaves.
This contraption is something I came up with really quickly, so I’m sure it’s not the best method in the world. If anyone has a better solution or improvements, please share!
Step 1: Trace the top of your container
Place your container upside down over some green cardstock. (It’s not absolutely necessary for it to be green, since your leaves will be hiding it once you’re done.) Trace around the outside of your container. The mug I used is about 3.5 inches in diameter.
Step 2: Cut out circle
Cut around your traced circle, leaving about a 1/2 inch space around it. This does not need to be exact.
Step 3: Cut out wedges in your circle
Cut wedges into your circle as pictured above. Since my mug tapers a little, I cut my wedges past my traced circle so that when I fold up my “tabs” the paper will fit into my container. If your container is perfectly vertical, you can stop the tip of your wedges right at the traced circle or near it.
As I mentioned previously, my mug is about 3.5 inches in diameter so I cut each wedge about 1.5 inches apart. If your container is larger, you can space your wedges further apart. This step is simply creating a way to attach the paper to your container, so the wedges do not need to be perfect.
Step 4: Fold paper
Fold each “tab” that your created with the wedges, and try fitting the remaining circle into your container to see if it fits. This doesn’t need to be a perfect fit, you just need to make sure that the tabs are touching the edge of your container enough so that they can be taped down.
If it doesn’t fit into your container, you will need to cut your wedges a little deeper to get a smaller inner circle. If your inner circle seems too small, just refold your tabs to create a larger inner circle.
Step 5: Cut tabs and poke holes into paper
Cut every other tab off your circle, as pictured above. I created an odd number of tabs so I ended up with a wonky shape but it’s ok. With this step we are just creating space between the tabs where tape can attach to your container.
Next, poke holes into the inner circle. I used an awl but if you don’t have an awl you can use any sharp object like a nail. Your bamboo sticks will be going into these holes so just make sure your holes are wide enough. Space the holes evenly apart. If you want a denser plant you can make more holes. I ended up with a pretty dense plant and I didn’t end up using all the bamboo sticks in my container.
Step 6: Tape paper to mug and insert bamboo sticks
Place your paper back into your container and tape it down with your masking tape. Those spaces of the tabs that you cut off is where your tape should attach to the container.
Then insert your bamboo sticks into each hole. My bamboo sticks were too long so I just estimated what height I needed and broke them with my hands. It’s ok if they are not the exact height of your container.
Now we end up with the container below, which I showed you earlier. Next we will be creating the plant, the fun part!
PART 3: Creating Your Plant
I really enjoyed this part and I hope you will too. There’s something very calming about watching this plant come together. At the end I had to trim a few leaves off my plant, just off of some areas that looked too full. As I mentioned before, this plant is quite forgiving. No matter what you do to it, it will still look great!
Step 1: Hot glue your leaves into small bunches, about 3 to 6 in each bunch
Using hot glue, glue a few branches together. Start with the longest branches because you’ll be building the plant from the bottom up.
After you create each bunch, with your hot glue gun, glue it to your bamboo sticks right way. This way you can keep an eye on how your plant looks, and decide if you need longer or shorter branches for your next bunch.
In the image above, I placed my container where I knew I would want my plant to sit, and I built up the plant there. This way I could see how the leaves would look in that spot, and whether I need longer or shorter leaves in certain spots.
In the next few images you can see how the plant looked as I was building it. Since I knew my container would be sitting against my window, I put shorter leaves towards the back. Keep adding more and more leaf bunches, working from the outside in towards the center. As you get towards the center add the shorter leaves to get a fuller center.
When you think your plant is done, sit back and pat yourself on the back! This one takes some time to make but you’ll see that it’s worth it.
I tried putting mine in a hanger and it looked so pretty! Don’t forget you can trim this baby however you like. Just round off the edges that you trim so that you don’t have harsh edges.
As always please remember to tag us on Instagram @chaivdesign so I can see your plants!
Free Paper Plant SVG: