Inside: A free pattern and tutorial to make a unique fake snake plant from upcycled jeans denim.
It lasted less than a month! I let my husband put my large snake plant in his newly re-decorated loft office. And within weeks, it was dying. I tried in vain to rescue it by returning it to its original home downstairs.
So when he asked for another snake plant, I made one out of his old denim jeans that he couldn’t kill! And he preferred the faux snake plant to the original.
Making a denim snake plant from an old jeans leg is a fun and unique project. And it will add personality to your indoor garden.
What Is A Snake Plant?
The snake plant, known as Sansevieria or mother-in-law’s tongue, is a supposedly low-maintenance houseplant beloved for its striking appearance. It gets its name from the long, thin leaves resembling a snake’s skin.
The beauty of making a faux denim snake plant is that it’s fun, creative, and budget-friendly. Plus, you get to add a personal touch to your home decor by choosing your shade of denim fabric and customizing the shape and size of the plant.
It may not have the same air-purifying qualities as a real one, but a denim fake snake plant is just as striking.
The snake plant is also known as viper’s bowstring hemp, African spear plant, and Saint George’s sword.
These denim snake plants would make a lovely homemade gift idea. After seeing my creation, friends and family have put their orders in, those with and without green fingers.
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What You Need
- The legs from a pair of old jeans – You want jeans in darker denim as you will bleach them. Also, you will get more leaves from straight and boot-cut jeans than those with a skinny cut.
- Household bleach and a small brush for applying it.
- Craft/garden wire about 16-18 gauge. The wire must be thick enough to stand up and pliable enough to twist and shape easily.
- Corkboard – I used a round IKEA trivet.
- Decorative plant gravel
- A plant pot of your choice
- Sewing machine or needle and thread.
- Scissors and tweezers.
How To Make A Denim Snake Plant
I used denim for this faux plant, but the craft would also work well with other fabrics. You might use a patterned fabric rather than bleaching denim or upcycled sweaters. The following instructions should work for whatever material you choose for your fabric snake plant.
Making the Fabric Leaves
Step 1: First, decide how big you want the snake plant to be. How long the tallest leaf will be, and how many leaves? Then either draw and cut out a template for the leaves or print out my pattern (here). My fake snake plant had eight leaves in a couple of different sizes.
Step 2: Cut the legs of the denim jeans just below the pockets. Then cut down the inside leg seam of the jean and open out the fabric to make one large piece.
Step 3: Lable each side of the paper leaf templates, one L for left and the other R for right. You will need two denim leaves to make one fake snake leave. Draw around the paper template onto the denim, flip the pattern over, and draw around it again. Label each side L or R depending on which way the paper template was facing.
Depending on the size and style of the jeans you use, you should be able to make about four fake snake plant leaves per leg.
Step 4: Pin the leaves’ right sides together and then sew up the sides. Leave the bottom of each leaf open. You can use a sewing machine or hand sew each leaf if you don’t have one.
Step 5: Cut the excess fabric from the tip of each leaf. This will make it easier to turn them right sides out and ensure they have a pointed tip.
Step 6: Turn each fake snake plant leaf the right way out. This can be a little tricky; I find that a chopstick and a pair of tweezers help when trying to push and pull the fabric the right way around.
Bleaching the Leaves
Step 7: If you notice snake plant leaves are either variegated or have a lighter stripe around the edges. To mimic that look, I bleached each denim leaf. I just used household bleach and brushed it along the edge of each leaf with a stripe down the centre.
Step 8: Once I was happy with the bleaching, I thoroughly rinsed each leaf with hot soapy water to stop more bleaching.
Tips For Bleaching Denim
- Bleaching denim is not an exact science; how quickly the fabric changes colour will depend on the colour of the denim to start with and the strength of the bleach. I suggest playing around with a scrap piece of denim and bleach first.
- The denim took a few hours to change colour with neat bleach. The bleached fabric had more of a yellow tinge to it than white.
- The fabric would have been whiter if I’d used a diluted bleach solution for longer.
- The jeans I used were stretched, which makes the bleaching effect more likely to be yellow.
- Also, washing your jeans with a fabric softener can affect bleaching.
- Rinse the jeans thoroughly in water without detergent to stop the bleaching; a hydrogen peroxide rinse can also be used.
Assembling The Fake Snake Plant
Step 8: Cut the corkboard to fit snuggly into the top of the plant pot.
Step 9: Cut a piece of wire just a few centimetres longer than twice the length of the leaf. Fold the wire in half so that it has a pointed tip.
Step 10: Push the wire into the denim leaf and stick the ends into the corkboard.
Step 11: Add the wired leaves to the corkboard individually. I clumped them all around the centre of the corkboard. The wire inside each leaf allows you to bend, twist and shape them like an actual snake plant.
Step 11: When all the leaves have been placed, brush glue over the exposed cork and pour on some plant gravel.
The Finished Faux Plant
This denim snake plant looks good in my husband’s home office. And there is no chance of killing this one with kindness by overwatering it.
I used a blue ceramic pot for this fabric plant, but you could go for double denim and use an upcycled denim planter instead!
Other Related Craft Ideas
This imitation of nature is not limited to plants and flowers; I’ve even made denim moths & butterflies.
- Old pair of dark denim jeans (not skinny)
- Household bleach
- Round cork trivet
- Craft wire
- Plant pot
- Indoor plant gravel
- Brush for bleach
- Scissors & tweezers
- Sewing machine or needle and thread
- Cut the legs off the jeans just below the pocket. Then open them up at the inside seam to great one large piece of denim fabric.
- Print out the snake plant leaf template or draw and cut out your own leaf templates.
- Place the template onto the denim and draw around it. Flip the pattern over and draw around again. You will need two leaf shapes for each leaf. You should be able to make four snake plant leaves per jeans leg.
- Pin the denim leaf shapes right sides together and sew around the outside, leaving the bottom open.
- Snip the excess denim from the tip of the leaf before turning them right side out. A pair of tweezers will help pull the fabric through.
- Brush bleach onto the outside edge of each leaf. When you are happy with the bleaching effect, rinse the leaves under water to wash away the bleach and leave them to dry. It may take a few hours for the bleach to work ( it depends on the denim and strength of the bleach)
- Cut craft wire so it is a few centimetres longer than twice the length of the leaf.
- Fold the wire in half and place it inside the leaf.
- Cut the cork to fit the top of the planter. Stick the wire hanging out of the bottom of the leaf into the cork.
- Add wired denim leaves to the corkboard until you have about eight. Bend, twist, and shape the wire, like real snake plants.
- Paste glue onto the exposed cork and then sprinkle on plant gravel.