DIY Dinosaur Planter


It is the time for giving but buying lots of gifts can mean spending lots of money so I love a budget friendly DIY that looks like a million bucks.

This year I was looking for a cute gift for my son’s teachers and I ran across some super cute animal planters online some of which cost as much as $40.  After doing a little research I found a way to make them myself for around $10 a piece. With a few basic supplies and less than an hour of effort you can make them too, here’s how…


  • Molded plastic animal with hollow body
  • Sharpie
  • Exacto Knife
  • Spray paint that is compatible with plastic (Krylon Fusion is my favorite)
  • Small succulent
  • potting soil
  • sand

The more you make the more economical they are since your paint, sand and soil will be enough for more than one planter.

I started with a molded plastic dinosaurs I found at Micheals for $11.99 but of course I used a 50% off. They also have other animals so you are not limited to dinosaurs, do what ever animal you like. If you are able to find more options at another store just be sure that they are hollow that there room in the body for planting.

PicMonkey Collage

The first step is to draw a line along your animals back with a Sharpie showing where you want to cut your hole, if you purchase your plants first you’ll have a better idea of how big your hole needs to be. Then using an Exacto knife cut along the line you have just drawn. The animals I bought were not super hard and were very easy to cut. I cut along the ridge of the back first where the plastic was thickest and then worked my way around.DSC09614

Once you hole is cut it’s time for paint. I chose metallic gold but these animals are cute in bright neon or even white to give the look of porcelain just make sure you choose a spray paint that works with plastic. I like Krylon Fusion best but it does not come in metallic so I used Krylon Cover Maxx which also works on plastic.

Using several thin coats of spray paint coat animals from all angles. I painted all my dinosaurs gold.


Wait the proper amount of time as indicated on your paint, once your animals are completely dry you are ready for planting…


Start with a layer of sand filling the legs and tail if they are hollow and the bottom of the body. This will allow for better drainage away from the plants roots.


Now your ready to insert the plant. I bought my succulents at Lowes for about $3 each but any garden center should have them. For the planting soil mix potting mix half and half with sand.


Now plant your plant into the hollow of the dinosaurs back being sure to fill all the empty spaces with soil.


Now  your dinosaur is complete. It’s that easy!

Since I am giving mine as gifts I will include care instructions for the recipient so their succulents can have a long happy life.

  • Avoid intense, direct sunlight until plant has become accustom to its new environment. – Water when soil is dry to the touch, which is approximately every 7 – 10 days, indoors. Water less frequently during winter months, as this is the natural dormancy period of many plants.


If you’d like you can make a whole herd.

DSC09656Now you have a one of a kind gift for your favorite teacher, or friend. I think I may even make one for myself.


Who wouldn’t love that beautiful face?

Linking with DIY Passion and The Heathered Nest


  1. Alice says:

    Love ’em. So much fun! Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Thehomeicreate says:

    How creative! I would love these for my sons room!

  3. Shelly says:

    Loooove these !! I’ll have to make these asap

  4. Super cute idea!

  5. Eek! These are so cute!!!

  6. I think this is the cutest idea! I actually already tried to do it myself, but my paint never dried, it just stayed tacky and rubbed off. Were the dinosaurs you used soft plastic? I got one that looks very similar to yours from Michael’s, but it was squishy (for lack of a better descriptive word)… I’m going to try again with a different paint, but wanted to see if your dinosaurs were maybe a harder plastic?

    • The plastic was firm but hollow in the middle and yes they took a while to “dry.” Using a spray paint intended for plastics like the Fusion spray paint will also help although it doesn’t come in gold.

    • Amanda says:

      I know you commented a while ago, but I had the same problem with the dinosaurs from Michael’s, and I thought I would share my fix with you and future readers! I sanded the gloss finish off the dinos, and they dried ASAP after a light light coat. I think that gloss has a plasticizer or some other chemical in it that reacts even with “plastic friendly” paint. Happy painting!

  7. The spray paint isn’t toxic to plants? What about adding a clear coat to avoid chipping?

    • The spray paint will not harm the plants in this case because it never comes in contact with the plants being on the outside only. You could apply a top coat if you wish but most spray paints intended for plastic actually fuse to the plastic surface so chipping should not be a problem.

      • Okay thank you! I’m just starting to dip my toes into DIY projects and I figured planters was a good place to start since spring is coming!

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