Rue How-To: A Potted Fairytale

Is there anything more charming than a pint-sized plant peeking out of a vintage book? We didn’t think so either. We turned to our art director Katie Sarna, DIY guru of What Katie Made, for her tips on these potted fairytales.

Vintage fairytale book (find one for $2 at a thrift store)
Utility knife with a fresh blade
Rubber band
Paintbrush or sponge
Freezer bag or potting plastic
Elmer’s glue
Potting soil or small stones
Plant of your choice (ivy, a succulent, cactus, etc.)
Reindeer moss (optional)

1. Find an old, nostalgic-looking book and open to a section of your choosing.

2. Using a ruler and pencil, measure a rectangle in the center of the page to use as the cutout. The rectangle should stay at least 1.5 inches inside the edges to keep the book solid.

3. Using the utility knife, cut out the center, leaving about a half inch of pages at the back of the book uncut. Hint: A fresh blade will make it easier to cut through without tearing the pages.

4. Stretch a rubber band (or two) around the pages to secure everything in place while you brush a liberal amount of Elmer’s glue inside the cutout section. Before the glue dries, cover the cutout with a piece of plastic (we used a freezer bag and cut the seams so it was one large sheet) and push it around the edges and the bottom so it will dry in place. This creates a waterproof lining.

5. Once it’s completely dry (patience!), gently trim the plastic on the edges of the cutout hole – don’t worry about it being perfect – and fill halfway with dirt or small stones (depending on your plant choice). Then, gently tuck your plant in, fill the rest of the space with dirt, and water. Use the reindeer moss to cover over the dirt and hide any plastic edges.

Pin It

March 6, 2012


  1. Katie says:

    How does it hold up waterproof-wise? I would be worried about water damage and mold in the pages.

  2. kflynn says:

    Hi Katie,
    The plastic acts as a water-resistant liner keeping dampness away from the book. We’ve found that it holds up well, just be careful not to over-water the plant.

  3. Susan says:

    This is murder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for posting this awesome tutorial and inspiring idea. I have posted it on my blog and linked it back to you. Thank you again, Sarah

  5. Sarah says:

    Sorry this link works. Thanks again. My Grandmother is going to love her b-day gift this year:D