These elephant garden planters are perfect for upcycling plastic bottles! Not only will you be giving new life to plastic bottles, but you'll also end up with some super cute elephant decor for your garden or indoor plants. Plus, these make great gifts for plant-loving friends and family. If you love flowers and you love elephants, then this is a great project for you!
Elephant Garden Planters
These elephant garden planters are an easy and stylish way to add plants to your indoor and outdoor space. They are made out of recycled plastic bottles, so they are eco-friendly and definitely budget-friendly. The best part is that these planters are versatile – you can use them as standalone pieces or add several of them together to create a unique look. You can make the elephants in different colors to give the planters a look you will love.
If you want a unique planter for your garden, you might also want to check out these unique DIY concrete hand planters. They are definitely something you won't see every day but add a unique statement piece to your garden. A rustic idea would be to make these DIY log planters for your garden instead.
What Can I Use for the Elephant's Nose?
For the nose or trunk of the elephant, you need to use something that is fairly flexible and tubelike in shape. You can use a simple dryer vent if making a larger planter. I used a plumbing pipe that was flexible and taped it into shape before gluing onto the elephant and painting it.
If this will be going inside your home only, you can make the trunk from an empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls that have been shaped and glued together.
For a planter going outside, you'll want something that won't fall apart if it gets wet. A garden hose can work but may be a bit small. You can also use a pool noodle that has been shaped and covered in tape to make it stiff enough to hold the shape.
Can These Plastic Bottle Planters Hold Live Plants?
While some homemade plastic bottle planters can only hold artificial plants, this one can hold live plants too. The plastic bottle can hold soil and water so you can use it as a planter for small plants and it can even be used as a vase.
To use it as a planter for a live plant, just add a few holes in the base for drainage. Fill with soil and plant seeds or small plants. You could also add smaller potted plants to the inside of the planter so they can easily be moved in and out if needed to change out plants for the season or plant elsewhere when they grow too large for the planter.
What Ways Can I Decorate My Elephants?
I love that these elephant planters are so versatile. You can customize them any way that you like. Below are a few ideas that you can use to customize this planter to make it unique for you and your personality.
- You can paint them different colors or even add glitter spray so it sparkles and shines in the sunlight.
- Kids might like to decorate it with decals or stickers on the outside.
- Draw or paint a name or saying such as "welcome", onto the side of the pig.
- Glue on googly eyes or use something plastic like a bottle cap or lid to create the eyes.
- Add a bow on top as a hair bow or around the neck like a bow tie to "dress up" the elephant a bit.
- You can even add a scarf or a tutu skirt to give it personality.
There are so many possibilities to make your elephant planter unique. I love the idea of matching it to the trim on shutters or railing on a porch so it matches your house.
What Paint Is Best For Use on Plastic Bottles?
I like to use spray paint when I am painting plastic bottles. It is cost-effective and the easiest to use. Another benefit is that it is the fastest way to paint the bottles. However, it doesn't work well for adding details.
If you want to add details to the plastic bottle elephant garden planters you will want to use acrylic paint. The acrylic paint stays in place, just like spray paint, but you are using a brush so you can add smaller details if you want.
If you find that the paint you are using isn't sticking to the bottles as well as you would like, you will need to scratch up the surface. This gives the paint something to stick to. Use a piece of sandpaper and rub the surface of the bottle lightly. Then try painting the bottles again.
- 1-gallon empty water bottle
- 4 (16 oz) empty water bottles
- Blue spray paint
- Purple spray paint
- White craft paint
- Yellow craft paint
- Googly eyes
- Flexible pipe such as dryer vent with a 2" to 3" width opening.
- Fake hydrangea flower
- Duct tape
- Craft knife
- Hot glue gun
- Hot glue sticks
How to Make an Elephant Planter
Remove labels from the bottles and clean them. I like to wash them air dry before using them for the craft. Once clean and dry, lay the gallon-sized bottle onto its side then trace and cut out a rectangle shape on the side. Remove the plastic and set it aside for other crafts. This opening is the space for adding flowers.
On the smaller bottles, cut the top ¼ of the bottle off, including the lid, and set them aside.
Flip the big bottle over so the opening is on the bottom, and then glue the four smaller bottles to the bottom as the elephant feet. Attach them with the cut side glued onto the bottle. You can also wrap duct tape around these to hold them into place.
Cut a curved piece of plastic from the scrap pieces and use it for the tail of the elephant. Glue this to the back of the bottle, the end opposite the lid.
Then, use a few other scrap pieces to make two large floppy ear shapes.
Glue those pieces onto the top of the bottle, just behind the lid, to create the elephant ears.
Now, make the trunk of the elephant by using a piece of pipe or dryer vent and curve it into the shape you want. Glue it into place or tape it so that it holds the shape.
Take one of the lid ends of the smaller bottles, and cut slits around the plastic around the neck, then fold them down to create a shape like flower petals.
Now, insert the pipe into or over the lid end of the big bottle.
Insert that flower shape into the other end of the nose piece and glue or tape it into place to hold it.
Once everything is assembled, spray paint the entire elephant the desired color. I chose blue and purple. Then, set it aside to dry.
When the elephant has dried, you can glue on googly eyes in front of the ears.
Add bits of paint to the feet, front of the elephant, and/or inside the ears.
Then, paint the petal pieces on the end of the nose pink.
When everything is dry, glue a flower into the end of the nose and then fill the planter with soil and flowers.
More Easy Plastic Bottle Crafts
If you have a bunch of empty plastic bottles lying around and want to turn them into something fun like this elephant, below are some great ideas. You can use these to make your own unique craft. Make sure to bookmark these ideas, print out the tutorials, or just pin them to Pinterest to make soon!
- Sparkling Plastic Bottle Rhinestone Vase
- Repurposed Plastic Bottle Bird Nest
- No-Sew Upcycled Plastic Bottle Pencil Case
- DIY Plastic Bottle Jet Pack Rocket
- Lay the gallon-sized bottle on its side then cut a rectangle out and set aside the scrap plastic. This creates a hole for the flowers.
- Cut the top ¼ lid end of the smaller bottles off and set them aside.
- Turn the gallon bottle over so the opening is on the bottom, and then glue the smaller bottles, cut side to the base of the larger bottle, on the bottom as feet to your elephant.
- Wrap tape around the bottles where they attach to the base.
- Cut a curved piece of plastic for the tail and glue it to the back of the bottle.
- Then, use the scrap plastic to cut out two large ear shapes.
- Glue these to the top of the gallon bottle behind the lid.
- Shape the nose from the pipe and glue or tape into the desired curved shape.
- Using the lid end of one of the smaller bottles, cut slits around the neck and fold them down.
- Insert this on the end of the nose pipe.
- Then, insert the other end of the nose pipe into the lid of the bottle and glue then tape to secure.
- Spray paint the entire elephant the desired blue or purple and set it aside to dry.
- Once the paint has dried, glue on the googly eyes just in front of the ears.
- Then, paint the front part of the ears white or yellow.
- Paint the end of the nose pieces sticking out pink.
- Once those dry, glue the hydrangea flower in place on the end of the nose.
Paint your elephants any color you prefer!
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Finished Project Gallery
Fill with real or fake flowers and display on your lawn or garden.