This all started months ago, when my friend Stephanie emailed me a link to this Etsy store and their awesome Dinosaur Planters. She challenged me to come up with a DIY version, and you know I love a challenge. :) We tested six different paints, two different types of dinosaurs, and ultimately I am proud to report that we were able to drive the price down to either $3 or $5 per planter (depending on the size of the dinosaur). And for those of you who like to use coupons at Michaels, you could spend even less!
So first - the dinosaur. You will need to find a semi-pliable dinosaur of the correct size (we used two sizes - one about 20 cm (around 8 inches) long and one about 24 cm (around 9.5 inches) long. I'd say that 20 cm/8 inches is probably the smallest size you could pull this off with. You could probably find several dinos that fit the bill at garage sales or Goodwill, but we found ours at Michaels. The smaller dinosaurs are $1 each and the larger are $3. They are in the toy bins with the other models and loose toys at our Michaels. The smaller $1 dinosaurs are pictured below. They are pretty pliable, so, away from your children (both because you don't want them accidentally cut and because it kind of looks like you are murdering a dinosaur) take a box cutter/utility knife and cut out an approximate opening for your plant. I found that the $3 dinosaurs were a bit tougher, so I soaked them in some hot water before using the utility knife and drill and that increased their pliability quite a bit.
Next either using a drill (easier) or a nail and hammer (harder), make holes in the bottom of the dinosaurs so that water/mold won't accumulate inside and the plant roots can get air.
Then present to your child for painting. Please note that this paint is permanent, so it might only be a project suitable for older children. We tried SIX different brands of paint. Seriously. At one point I thought I might be insane, but then the last brand we tried nailed it, so I'm glad I persevered!
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Though the dinosaur you see S painting below is primed, we finally found a paint where you could skip that step and therefore save a lot of time and money! You want to use any shade of Americana Multi Surface Satin Acrylic Paint . Don't try any of the other brands - they don't work. We tried them for you. :) Americana Multi Surface Satin Acrylic Paint is the only one that works without a primer and without horrible streaks! One container of Americana is enough to paint two coats on two dinosaurs.
Once your dinosaurs are painted, you'll need the plant that goes in them. The succulent that will give you the most mileage for your money is the one pictured below: Crassula argentea cv 'Gollum'. That one has multiple shoots in one container and it can be separated into individual plants. One pot of it was $2.98 at our local hardware store and we were able to plant four dinosaurs with it.
And here are the finished dinosaurs. This guy is one of the larger $3 Michaels dinosaurs; completed cost under $5.
This is one of the $1 Michaels dinosaurs; completed cost under $3.
And this is another $3 Michaels dinosaur; completed cost under $5.
And there you have it! A fun, easy and inexpensive project. Wouldn't these make great gifts, too?
If you love dinosaurs, you can find all of our dinosaur activities here! :)
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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children. As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family. I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision. Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies). Observe caution and safety at all times. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.