DIY Ruler Succulent Planter (Fun Teacher Appreciation Gift Idea)

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crafting a diy succulent ruler planter as a teacher gift

Need a unique teacher gift idea?

Consider making this fun ruler succulent planter! It’s embellished with wooden rulers and makes a cute and stylish gift idea to show teacher appreciation. It was easy to create and such a unique gift to put together at home. It would also be fun to create for a craft night activity with friends!

craft supplies to make a succulent planter on the counter

Grab these simple supplies.

I am using an empty milk carton as a base, and it worked out great. I’m sure you could use any type of square container if desired. Painting the carton is, of course, optional, and I used gold spray paint for this one.

As for wood rulers, I bought some from Target, and they worked out nicely. I made a second planter using thicker rulers from Staples, and I honestly liked the 55¢ Target Up and Up ones better. FYI, my Dollar Tree and Walmart did not carry wood rulers, only plastic ones.

living succulents planted inside a milk carton on the table

I purchased living succulents and planted them in potting soil, but an alternative would be to use some faux succulents (keep your eyes peeled at Dollar Tree for inexpensive faux succulents). Adding Spanish moss to the top is a pretty detail, yet optional.

Hip Tip: Succulents are easy to take care of and require very little water. I suggest using a cactus potting soil to keep your succulents happy. If you first fill your container with a layer of gravel and then add soil, no more drainage hole is likely needed.

side view of the rulers cut for a planter

Prepping the rulers is easy but takes the most effort & time.

It’s easy to remove the metal portion of rulers using needle nose pliers first, so they will be easier to cut. To make our cuts, we found the easiest was by using a table saw, as it also results in clean-looking ends. You can alternatively cut rulers using strong tin snips, however, it was a little tedious and resulted in some split rulers for me. Other options for cutting include a hack saw, band saw, a miter saw, or a chop saw.

DIY Ruler Succulent Planter


Supplies Needed

  • 6 wooden rulers
  • table saw or tin snips
  • needle nose pliers
  • empty milk carton
  • spray paint *optional
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • potting soil
  • a few small living succulents
  • spanish moss *optional



Remove metal portion of ruler using needle nose pliers.


Cut rulers down into smaller pieces. Measure width of milk carton and cut to size. My milk carton was just over 4 inches wide. I cut down 6 rulers for enough pieces for all 4 sides, 16 pieces in total. 


Cut milk carton using scissors to the height that equals 4 of your rulers stacked. Spray paint container. This step is optional, but because the rulers had holes I chose to.


Starting from the bottom, hot glue the rulers to the painted milk carton. Place four going up each side. Make sure the numbers are facing out and right side up. 


Add potting soil to the planter and then plant succulents in soil.


Finally, add Spanish moss to the top if desired, and also a little water.

ruler planter with succulents and moss inside on a table

This DIY project rules!

Teachers are the BEST, and succulents are super stylish and make a thoughtful gift. I think this would look so great on any teacher’s desk and was a fun craft. We can’t wait to present these as a special surprise to my kids’ beloved teachers.

These FREE printable gift card holders for teacher gifts deserve an A+!

About the writer:

Lina has a Bachelor's Degree from Northern Arizona University with 11 years of blogging and photography experience having work featured in, Martha Stewart, Country Living, Fox News, Buzzfeed, and HGTV.

Join The Discussion

Comments 14

  1. Crissy

    How cute!! Thanks for all your ideas you share!!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Sure, I love doing it- thanks Crissy!

  2. Lynn

    I LOVE THIS!! Can any teachers weigh in on if they’d like receiving or not?

    • Laura

      Anytime a student or parent is thoughtful enough to give me something, I cherish it! Something handmade even more so!

    • Alaska Teacher

      I think this is adorable and I’m a teacher! I have some faux succulents in my class just so I don’t have to take them home in the summer but this would be worth taking home!

  3. Geo

    If using live succulents, be sure to add drainage holes. 🙂

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Or a few rocks at the bottom before the soil for drainage.

  4. candice

    Dose milk carton go soggy?

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Well succulents should never get soggy per say – so should be fine. You can use another container if concerned though.

  5. Allie

    This is such a good idea! Going to add this in with the free notepad you posted about for my daughter’s teacher!

  6. Raman

    Just wondering……. If you glue the rulers to the bottom too, you would’ve needed 20 pieces; 7 rulers would be needed?

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      I did not glue rulers to bottom on my example. – but yep 20 pieces needed 👍

  7. *Angela-Miles*

    I’ve gotta go hunt down some cactus potting soil tomorrow. Hoping walmart or a dollar store has it. Had no idea it existed and my cactuses alway die after about a year. I wondered what I was doing wrong. Thanks! 🌵🌵😊

  8. Julie

    Our local library had “classes” where the kids made succulent gardens, taught by the local botanical garden. The instructor said that you can make desert mix soil by using 1 part potting soil and 1 part sand. The kids containers were new nacho plastic containers or other plastic bowls (3 pack probably from Dollar Tree), with pebbles on the bottom.

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