Upcycled and DIY Ideas for Fake Plants

Upcycled and DIY Ideas for Fake Plants

Houseplants have become a huge trend in home decor again, but let’s face it: not everyone can keep plants alive. So, you’ve come to the right place if you need some DIY or upcycling ideas for fake plants. Because these plants require zero maintenance, look fantastic, and are completely unkillable.

Felt Succulents

Felt succulents

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

Fabric is a great resource when it comes to making plants by hand. And in this case, felt is the fabric of choice to make these lovely fake succulents that will always look this good. No under- or over-watering concerns for these little plants- and they can be “potted” in literally anything you’d like.

Crepe Paper Tropical Plant

diy tropical plant from paper

Photo source: Pillar Box Blue.

Believe it or not, this tropical beauty is made of paper. But not just any paper- heavy weight Italian crepe paper, to be exact. And doesn’t it look like a small banana plant “growing” in its broken-jar planter?

Cardboard Cactus

cardboard cactus

Photo source: The Crafty Lumberjacks.

Cactus plants are super popular right now, but they can be a little dangerous around little fingers and curious paws. But this faux version uses cardboard from your recycling bin to get a similar effect without the pain.

Pinecone Plants

pinecone crafts

Photo source: Sustain My Craft Habit.

If cauliflower can be made into pizza dough, then anything is possible. And here’s further proof of that: pinecones can become succulents for a sweet little dish garden that requires zero sunlight or water. This is such a budget-friendly plant alternative, too, since you can usually find pinecones for free.

Ceramic Cactus Garden

making a cactus garden with ceramic cactus figurines

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

Time to hunt through Grandma’s collection of salt and pepper shakers or ceramic figurines. Because if she’s got any little cactus versions available, they’re perfect for “planting” in a dish garden. Any base will work as your dish- a ceramic bowl, pottery, or even a low-sided basket like this.

Faux Topiary Trees

Artificial topiary trees in vintage candlesticks for Spring decor

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

Faux topiary trees are usually made from moss balls from craft stores, but you can also use fake succulent balls (from craft stores, as well) for an alternative effect. They can be potted in anything you like, too- small terracotta pots, glass jars, or in this case, vintage candlesticks.

Masking Tape Snake Plant

fake snake plant

Photo source: Sustain My Craft Habit.

Perhaps one of the most realistic versions of a fake plant you can make yourself is this DIY snake plant. Believe it or not, but it’s made from masking tape, the same roll of tape rattling around in your junk drawer.

Felt Eucalyptus

fake eucalyptus stems from felt

Photo source: The Yellow Birdhouse.

True, this felt version of eucalyptus stems doesn’t have the amazing fragrance that the real kind has. But it looks lovely all the time and will never make a mess. And you could even add the fragrance with some essential oils to really make the experience look and feel realistic… 

Denim Snake Plant

fake snake plant

Photo source: Pillar Box Blue.

When your favorite pair of dark jeans can’t be worn anymore, set them aside for a most unexpected project: a DIY snake plant. Snake plants add so much height to your houseplant decor and this faux version is certainly no exception.

Plants from…Legos?

lego plants

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

Yes, you read that right. The famous building block toy brand, Lego®, has an entire line of flowers and potted plant kits available. Geared towards adults, these botanical-themed sets are a quirky and eclectic way to add a little green life to your decor.

Cactus from Coasters

fake cactus from coasters

Photo source: Reality Daydream.

A set of wooden coasters turned into a cactus plant sounds a little crazy, until you see it. AND it’s practical since you can take it apart and use it under your beer bottles and water glasses, too. Truly pulling double duty: decorative and functional!

Plastic Bottle Cacti

craft projects with plastic bottles

Photo source: Reuse Grow Enjoy.

Plastic water bottles are an environmental nightmare when it comes to proper recycling. So, here’s an unorthodox idea: turn them into a fake cactus. Isn’t it ironic that the water bottles are empty and these cacti don’t need a drop of it to “live”? How harmonious (and crafty).

Sweater Succulents

making succulents from wool sweaters

Photo source: Pillar Box Blue.

Accidently shrunk a wool sweater in the dryer? Now that it’s technically “felted wool”, you can craft with it and turn it into little succulent plants like these.

Wooden Post Cap Cactus

Wooden cactus decor from post caps

Photo credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Post caps that go on your fence posts or deck corners are typically unremarkable. But a few of them sport the right shapes to turn them into- you guessed it- fake cactus plants. Is it possible that just about ANYTHING can become a cactus at this point?

Craft Store Succulents

wall basket with fake succulents

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

If an upcycled or DIY version of succulents isn’t really what you’re going for, the craft store has an endless variety of plastic succulents for you. And they really do look fabulous in planters and wreaths.

Botanical Prints

Botanical decor

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

And if fake plants won’t work, you can also cash in on the trend with botanical wall art or prints. It may be one dimensional, but it still adds the right color palette and a fresh touch of life to your space.

Eclectic Choices for Fake Plants

upcycling ideas for fake plants

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods and Pillar Box Blue.

So many fun and completely unexpected upcycle and DIY ideas for fake plants- it’s almost hard to choose a favorite. Either way, these project ideas are quirky alternatives to traditional fake plants. They look great, they’re maintenance-free, and they’re definitely conversation starters whenever someone comes over to visit.

Craft on!


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fake plants to make for home decor

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. I love a fake plant, they are so easy to look after 🤣. Thanks for including mine in your great round-up.

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