Some may cry "sacrilege!" that I am cutting a hole in a book but I
believe this to be an artistic extension my design aesthetic of
repurposing and re-imagining: taking something beautiful and turning
it into something else beautiful. I also tell the nay-sayers that I
purchased the book on Itunes where it will live digitally and
eternally, so I am actually freeing the story from its physical shell.
I usually say this with a totally straight-face, and they have,
generally, no reply.
1 Vintage book.
2-3 small succulents. Any more than that will get really heavy. Home
Depot sells them for like $2 each. Be wary of "top-heavy" succulents
as they are hard to keep leverage in such a relatively shallow pot.
Even little miniature cactuses are nearly impossible to keep erect.
"Wide and flatter" work MUCH better than "tall."
Little bit of potting soil
1 exacto knife
Parchment paper or plastic bag
Dry moss or ground cover
1. The night before, rub a very thin layer of white glue against the
loose paper binding, just enough to make some of the pages stick. It
doesnt need to be precise. It just helps when starting to cut into
the book that the pages stay in one place.
2. Cutting the square in the book is the most time-consuming part.
Decide how big a square you want to have for planting. I find that
the smaller patches tend to look better. I like to leave some of the
text of the book visible. Using your metal ruler you will measure out
your square and cut through a few pages at a time, pull them out (you
will need to break the glued seal you made to get them out), and then
do a few more pages, pull them out, and work your way down the book.
You will need a hole that is at least 1 1/2 inches deep.
The hole does not need to be clean or pretty because the only page
that will be visible is the top page, so dont worry if it tears badly,
or seems jagged. You wont be able to see any of it and its going to be
filled with dirt. I also recommend you start with the page under the
Title Page and save the Title Page for last. By the time the rest of
the hole is made, you will have a better sense of how to make the
cutout for the Title Page the most centered and clean. Remember this
is the only page where the look of the cut out matters.
3. Line the hole with parchment paper or plastic. This just prevents
any watering from damaging the rest of the book.
4. If your book is very, very deep, you can put a layer of gravel at
the bottom of the hole. This will provide some drainage that your
succulents would appreciate. Succulents dont need much water but they
do prefer to not have their roots sitting in water so the gravel
provides a place for the water to drain that the roots wont touch. In
a regular sized booked you wont have room for gravel. Dont worry: the
succulents will still live even without the drainage.
8. About once a week I spray a little bit of water into the roots
with a squirt bottle. Like I said, succulents need very little water
but they do need a lot of sunlight so if you are keeping them inside,
make sure they are by a window or put them outside as much as
possible. When you water them, try to avoid getting water on the
Thanks for the lesson, Russell!