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Before & After: TV Variety Show

July 27, 2013


Finally, something worth watching on television!  I bought the corroded metal face from a vintage TV set months ago from my neighborhood junk gatherer, Susan. And at that time I had no idea what I’d use it for; I just had to have it. At home I’d look at it, set it back down, sigh; no inspiration. Then earlier this week it fell and I was taken with the convex shape of its profile … could it be a planter along the lines of my vintage fan project from last December (click here)? I checked, and although it wasn’t quite as deep as the fan’s blade covers, it seemed workable. I gathered my materials and got to work and whattaya know, it was actually perfect! Now succulents put on a variety show — in dazzling color and hi-def 3D — where black-and-white images once flickered … and missing volume and on/off knobs are replaced by matching echeveria rosettes. I really love my updated vintage TV. How up-to-date is it? It’s as flat as most modern wall mounted TVs and I put it up myself, all it took was a nail! Here’s the story …

° ° ° ° °


This project ended up being even easier than earlier planters. Basically, the project involved filling the face-down open screen area with small-grid wire mesh and securing it in place; easily done by anchoring it with wire onto metal clips welded inside. Then sheets of dried floral moss were used to cover the entire area, followed by a layer of cactus soil mix. Next I placed a sheet of lightweight corrugated plastic (think real estate lawn signs) over the metal frame and using a marker traced its shape. I cut it out with a utility knife, and using rust-colored paint, sprayed the entire shape. Once dry I positioned it onto the frame, and using aluminum tape secured it all around the edge. For extra security I then taped the entire backside, first horizontally, then vertically, with more tape, overlapping the frame a 1/4″ on the ends. Tape done, I sprayed the silver tape overlap with rust paint. When dried I turned it over and had a perfect gridded area in which to begin planting. Using metal snips I selectively cut openings into the mesh, folding back the cut mesh and sliding plants into the openings. Using mesh flaps, and additional moss when necessary, I was able to ensure plants fit snugly. Largest plants went in first followed by ever smaller ones, until the screen was filled to my satisfaction.

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As you can see, the frame itself is not very deep, 3 inches at most. By pushing in, and varying the direction of entry, I was able to fit in quite a few plants, including their stems and roots. This multi-directional positioning helped make the composition livelier, providing a layered effect.

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Of course, the real stars of this TV show, are the succulents: In amazing shades ranging from coolest aqua to fleshly mauve and hottest red-orange; with perfect rosette foliage made of petals and ruffles and scoops … with can’t-be-contained flower stalks ending in pink trumpets, no 3D glasses required.

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I suppose that with the vintage fan blade covers, and now this vintage TV face  project, I’ve begun a series: Succulent planters and other gardens made from rusty cast-offs. What’s next? Dunno. But I’m on the look-out …

25 Comments leave one →
  1. Sam Cowell permalink
    July 27, 2013 6:24 am

    I’ve got to complement you on your ingenuity, it actually made me chuckle when I saw this after reading your tag line. What a cool idea! I really love the way you take objects and take an abstract look at them and come up with such great ideas. Many times, I set back and think, why didn’t I think of that! Very cool, I love it! Although I don’t comment on many posts, I always love the stuff you put on your blog, it never fails to give me fresh ideas and new ways to look at objects that are “outta the box” concepts! Keep it up, they’re great!

    • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
      July 27, 2013 6:31 am

      Sam, thanks — For taking the time to comment and for being so complimentary … I appreciate it!

  2. July 27, 2013 3:19 pm

    Reuben!!!! I love this so much. You continue to inspire me with your creativity and ingenuity. I can see myself buying that rusted metal television frame. One question…will you use a spray bottle to water it, or do you have another plan?

    • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
      July 27, 2013 3:26 pm

      Thanks, Lori … For watering I’ll use a spray bottle, spritzing between plants directly toward the roots. I want to avoid waterlogging the piece, making it too heavy. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who would ask, “How much for that rusted-out ol’ TV front?!” 😉

  3. July 28, 2013 1:21 am

    I love how you give us the step by step instructions. I’ll be honest, I’m not always a word for word reader, sometimes I skim the paragraphs and then move on to the photos. However, when I have a question that I’m going to ask you, I inevitably tell myself to go back and read what you wrote and low and behold, the answers already there. You’re so good. I’m still waiting for you to hold some classes in your awesome outdoor studio/garage. I would sign-up for sure.

    • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
      July 28, 2013 5:22 am

      Good to know, WF! Both that you’d enroll in one of my tutorials and that you read them online! I really try and this makes it all worthwhile! 🙂

  4. Vickie Perez permalink
    July 28, 2013 5:02 am

    Love it!! It’s a joy when we finally hear what a piece of rust is telling us what it wants us to turn it into. You kinda make me want to get some of my starteds to finished. Have been having a lazy problem lately.

    • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
      July 28, 2013 8:35 pm

      Vickie, just so you know that it’s because of you that I even know how to do these things!! Now, get to work! I want to come over and see some new stuff! 🙂

  5. Vickie Perez permalink
    July 29, 2013 3:47 am

    I thought that I’ve told you that you’re always welcome! Just give us a call!! I’ve been piddling along but only looking at the completion of a couple three pieces. Nothing too exciting. For some reason I just can’t quite get my motor started past the idea stage.
    Oh well, all happens in it’s time.

    • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
      July 29, 2013 4:09 am

      Agreed; I’ve been known to languish in the valley of non-completion, too! See you soon … 😉

  6. Val Rubida permalink
    July 29, 2013 1:58 pm

    Reuben, I would love to visit your studio, but I live so far from you….Costa Rica. So, I really enjoy seeing the lovely things you you come up with. Your ideas are truly inspiring. I want to try the one you did with the dried branch of the palm tree and succulents.
    Wish me luck!!

    • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
      July 29, 2013 4:05 pm

      Thanks, Val … I’m glad you find my projects inspiring! Email me a photo of your completed project and good luck 😉

      • Val Rubida permalink
        August 6, 2013 3:22 am

        I would love to send pictures of some of my projects, but I don’t have your address.

      • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
        August 6, 2013 3:24 am

        Great, Val! Please send them to my personal address:

  7. Dave in Toronto permalink
    August 1, 2013 1:53 am

    Genius as always, Reuben. I did a double-take when I saw it. Fabulous.

  8. August 10, 2013 4:39 pm

    Reuben ~ This DIY is absolutely gorgeous! It one of the most beautiful arrangements I have seen. I love the creative use of an old TV. Just fabulous.

    • Reuben Muñoz permalink*
      August 10, 2013 4:47 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Naomi … it was a fun project!


  1. succulents make us do the strangest things « A Growing Obsession
  2. succulent diy projects | round up | My Fair Olinda
  3. RR’s Most-Read for 2013 | Rancho Reubidoux
  4. Repurpose Old Electronics into Planters | Planet Green Recycle
  5. Sukulent TV | Çevreci Bahçem
  6. The Return of Vickie | Rancho Reubidoux
  7. Çeşitli Sukulent Uygulamaları | Çevreci Bahçem

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