DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter

Today’s contributor is Lisa from Grey Luster Girl. All posts written by Lisa for Make It & Love It can be found HERE.

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Hello everyone! It’s Lisa from Grey Luster Girl and it is time for an installment of “raid your kids’ toy boxes for crafting and decorating purposes”! This practice clears excess toys while providing you with beautiful home decor so it is a win win (at least for you). For your current viewing pleasure is a DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter.

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter | Make It and Love It


Take any old toy and turn it into a modern succulent planter!

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter | Make It and Love It

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter | Make It and Love It


I was fortunate enough to find two of these little babies. One was found in a bucket of old toys and the other I found at a thrift store.  One elephant toy turned succulent planter is fun but two is purposeful and makes it look like I purchased these planters as a set.  No one would ever guess they used to be baby toys!

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter | Make It and Love It

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter | Make It and Love It


This project was a dive-in-and-hope-it-works kind of thing, so that means I improvised as I went.


  • Hollow toy
  • Dremel with cutting and grinding attachments
  • Caulk
  • Spray Paint
  • Succulent
  • Cactus potting mix


The first thing you need though is a hollow toy.  I loved these elephants because of their sleek lines and shape.

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter (1)


I had no idea what was inside them though.  I marked with a pencil around the top of the elephant.  This is the cut line and opening for the planter.

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter (2)


My husband is pretty handy with a Dremel.  In fact, he frequently offers up the dremel to fix a variety of home repair problems.  Even things that don’t need a Dremel, the Dremel comes out.  I knew he would jump at the chance of cutting open these elephants if the Dremel was involved.

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter (5)


Look away if you are squeamish when it comes to toy animal surgery.  Hold on little guy, you are going to be amazing.  Just you wait.  Now you will notice that the edges aren’t particularly clean.

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter (3)


Here are the two Dremel attachments that we used.  The the cutting was done with a cutting wheel along the penciled line and then cleaned up with a grinding stone.

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter (6)


Now they are starting to look better.  This is about the point where I started to say to myself, “maybe this will work after all.  Nice job self”.  “Oh and nice job husband too”.

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter (4)

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter (7)


The toy succulent planters were starting to take shape.  But I did have a problem.  There was a line that ran all along the elephant.  It was made in two pieces and then attached together.  I tried pouring some water into it and the water just ran right out.  That was going to be a problem.  Enter husband again with the idea of caulking the inside of the toy succulent planters.

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter (8)


It was kind of tricky to get the caulk all the way inside of the elephant because the caulking gun wouldn’t fit inside it.  Instead I squirted it in and used a pencil to make sure it was distributed over all the cracks.

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter (9)


Now that the caulk is in and dry, it is time for the fun part of the makeover.  The paint.  I spray painted the elephants white so that they could have a nice clean and crisp feel to them.

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter (10)

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter (11)


I am by no means a succulent expert.  I know there are many how to’s out there for planting succulents.  They have rock drainage and activated charcoal and special blends of cactus soil and moss coverings and who has time to get all those things?! Let alone the price of all that stuff.  I have planted a few succulents in pots in my home and they are all going strong.  I decided to just go ahead and plant them directly into my elephant planters.  I did use cactus soil but other than that I didn’t do anything special.

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter (12)

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter (13)

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter (14)


This project started out as a big “?”.  Could it work in the toys I chose? It ended up with a big heart.  I love how they turned out.

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter (17)

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter (22)


The only problem I have run into is watering them.  I have to be very careful because the planters are quite small and there isn’t a lot of room for me to pour the water in.  I have found that using a syringe works the best.  I only give them a little water every now and then.  Pretty much I just forget about them and they do fine until I remember them next.

DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter (16)


Now it is your turn to raid the toy box!  Go see what hidden jems (or planters) are awaiting you there!




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Re-purposing something old into a fabulous home decor item brings a special sense of accomplishment, am I right? Now that you are an expert toy-to-planter-maker, try your hand at a few of these home decor re-purposed projects:

DIY Light Fixture from an old drum

DIY Light Fixture...from a drum | via Make It and Love It

Hanging Storage Bins (made from recycled containers)

Dollar Store Burner Covers…turned into Art!

Dollar Store Burner Covers, turned into Art.....quick and inexpensive decor! | via Make It and Love It

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Filed under Crafts, Sewing, & Home Decor, Guest Contributor Lisa, Home Decor, Re-purposing


17 Responses to “DIY Toy Elephant Succulent Planter”
  1. 1
    Carli says:

    How cute are these???? You had me at succulents!! I will totally be trying this!

  2. 2
    Amanda says:

    Cute! I am propagating a bunch of succulents from one that got crazy leggy. I will have to start finding cute things to turn into containers for when they’re ready for planting! Bath toys could also be fun if cut with an exact knife.

    • 2.1
      Lisa says:

      Bath toys would be a great idea because they are hollow! I bet there are some cute little bath toys calling your name Amanda!

  3. 3
    Karen says:

    I just planted some succulents in some cute coffee mugs that I had gathered over the years. The elephants were super cute!

    • 3.1
      Lisa says:

      I bet the succulents would go great in the coffee mugs. Especially different colored mugs. I can just picture them lined up in a row. Super cute idea!

  4. 4
    Shelly says:

    Excellent results! What a fun theme. I can see several placed around the room for a baby shower.

  5. 5
    Cindy says:

    These turned out so good! I can believe what they started as. I feel like you could turn anything into an awesome planter now!

  6. 6
    nicaam says:

    I love that u painted them white. While I love hacking objects sometimes they turn out looking too homemade-shabby-sheek. Not a look I always want to strive for.

    • 6.1
      Lisa says:

      Luckily these turned out Nicaam but I too have had my fair share of projects looking a little too homemade myself. That is not stopping me though! I am bound to come up with a winner at some point :)! Thanks for your comment!

  7. 7
    Jeanie says:

    I have done this with dump trucks and farm trucks that were my husbands when he was a very small child he is now 65 :) the trucks were all metal and I didn’t want them to rust so I just put in a plastic liner and a little moss to cover the edges, Everyone that sees them loves them and always asks questions about them. A good repurpose for vintage toys that you don’t want to get rid of because of sentimental reasons. Some of them have held coasters for the tables and cards at Christmas time…… so they are not just setting on a shelf collecting dust.

  8. 8
    Jeanie says:

    O !! just read the comment about baby shower!!! These Elephants for baby shower are what bought me here in the first place,(my mind does wander a bit) but alas no elephants as cute as yours, but! I can lay my hands on lots of rubber ducks!! Those would be great shower favors!!! Ok off now to acquire a flock of ducks!
    Thanks for this cute tutorial Even though I am older I still find a lot of cute ideas from all you young gals!

    • 8.1
      Lisa says:

      I love what you had to say Jeanie! I would absolutely love it if I got this as a shower favor! Now I have a cute idea from you! I guess age has no limit on creativity!

  9. 9
    Lisa says:

    These are so cute! Love the modern, sleek look the all white gives.

Notes and Comments