Imagine this. You love houseplants, you’re crazy for them, but you can’t keep one alive for the life of you. Do you give up on your dreams for your indoor jungle? Absolutely not. Sure you can invest in some expensive faux plants, but there are other ways to fill your home with beautiful greenery even if you don’t have a green thumb.
One of those ways is by adding handmade paper plants inspired by your favorite types of houseplants around your home. We found a few artists who specialize in creating beautiful paper plants of all species and sizes. We learned more about their love for plants, their craft, and what inspires them. Prepare to be blown away by these paper houseplants because at first glance you’ll have no idea they aren’t real.
Northumberland, UK-based Catherine Dodds (@quillsbycatherine) started creating her paper plants about two years ago. “I didn't intentionally focus on one area," she said, "but looking back my work has been mostly inspired by natural subjects such as flowers, plants and insects.”
Inspired by her own plant collection, she has created mini versions of string of hearts, cacti, monstera, and a variegated rubber plant, which she says is one of her favorite as she used a “simple technique of layering colours” to make it look real.
Her Favorite Plants
“I have some house plants that sit by my desk, so provide brilliant references and inspiration.” But she doesn't exactly have a favorite. “Parents shouldn't have favourites, so I'll have to pick 3. A string of hearts, because I got a couple of cuttings from my friend, and since then it hasn't stopped growing, and I love how I can now pass cuttings on to others. A calamondin citrus tree, because it produces the cutest little oranges, and it came back from the brink of death (losing all its leaves) earlier this year like a trooper. And finally a rubber plant, which was also a gift, and has a constant stream of unfurling leaves.”
Find Catherine on Instagram at @quillsbycatherine.
Brisbane, Australia-based Sophie Courtney (@paperthumbart) has been creating paper plants since June. She said that she started making them after having her third baby. “I realised after having 3 kids under three and seeing all my plants dying that I needed to change my thinking around keeping plants," she said.
Her Relatable Inspiration
"My inspiration to make paper plants comes from not having the time to take care of real ones and understanding the fact that so many women are in the same position.
"Having the ability to help others bring plants back in their lives gives me a strong sense of fulfillment.” She said she always wanted to have a green wall (don’t we all?), but the cost was too substantial when it came to real plants. So she created her own and it is so lifelike. You’ll have to take a really close look to see that it’s in fact made out of paper.
Anna Gaseitsiwe (@apaperflorist) lives in St. Paul, Minn., and has been making paper plants since the spring of 2018. She said that she was really inspired by her own plant collection. “This spring, while we were all voluntarily quarantining, I made my way through many of my house plants, since they were the only live specimens I had access to.”
“This is always such a hard question and it frequently changes," Gaseitsiwe said. "I made a purple blooming african violet for my mother which I really enjoyed making and love seeing when I visit her house. A tie would be with a paper geranium I made and placed inside of a glass dome to showcase.”
Columbus, Ohio-based Michelle Lawrence (@prettypapel) started creating paper plants a few years ago as a way to get creative for a special gift. “I wanted to give my friend-who-has-everything a cheerful and unique gift," Lawrence said. "She loved plants, but could never quite keep them alive. So, I decided to create a small group of paper cactus using cardstock, which was always on hand since I managed a stationery shop. I had fun with the process and the gift was a hit, so I kept going!” She loves plants because they spark joy “and are very beneficial for your home environment and mental wellbeing.”
Her Unique Twist
Her paper plants are unique because she actually plants them. “My favorite way to arrange my paper succulents is in vintage milk glass containers. I love thrifting and antiquing for the perfect pieces to 'plant' my paper succulents in, making one-of-a-kind arrangements.”
If you’re looking for something tiny, you have to check out Nashville-based Jessica Saylor’s work (@tiny_towns). She started creating her paper plants in April. “I wanted to work on a fun project just for myself in the midst of the chaos going on in the world that was different than the typical work I create,” she said. Saylor loves plants because of their ability to transform a space and she draws inspiration from the many plants she has collected throughout the years.
An Unexpected Tiny Plant Family Connection
She even discovered she has a previous connection to miniature plants that she didn’t know about. “I found out after I started making the paper plants that my maternal grandmother, who passed away in 2005, used to make miniature plants out of quilling paper in the 1970s—finding that out was pretty special,” she said.
Her Favorite Paper Plant
Her favorite paper plant is also her favorite plant in real life, a Christmas cactus, “because they bloom right before the holidays and are very easy to care for and propagate.”
San Diego, Calif.-based Jennie Lynn (@hippie.houseplants) creates lifelike paper plants that even come planted in their own mini terracotta pots.
She started making them this year because “there are so many rare plants that collectors want but can't get our hands on, so I made these mini paper versions so we can have our wishlist plants," she said.
In fact most of her paper plant collection is of rare plants that would be out of her price range if she bought the real thing. Her favorite real plant is her Monstera deliciosa. “I have a few in my collection including one that belonged to my great-grandmother. I love that they're so easy to care for, they're quick growers and every leaf is different,” Lynn said.
Corrie Beth Hogg
Corrie Beth Hogg (@corriebethmakes), author of Handmade Houseplants, lives in Brooklyn, NY, and has been crafting with paper since 2005. She started creating her paper plants in 2014, inspired by her own plant collection.
"I have had a long love affair with plants," she said. "Many years ago, I worked as a floral designer, and in 2010 I spent a season on an organic farm. I have always found a way for plants to be a part of my life.
"I live about a 10-minute walk from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I think of the garden and nearby Prospect Park as my 'backyard' and visit often for respite and inspiration,” Hogg said.
Her favorite paper plant creation is the Rex Begonia Vine, “It is one of the first paper plants I made, where I carefully painted each leaf. Even though they take quite a long time to make, I enjoy the process, and the final sculptures look great! (Side note: it is not a begonia at all, but part of the grape family!).”