May Day Gifts: Fabric Wrapped Potted Plants

Who doesn’t love a sweet Viola wrapped up in vintage fabric and baker’s twine? 


It’s hard to believe May is nearly here.  I usually give little bouquets of lilacs to our neighbors for May Day—trimmed from our massive lilac in the back yard. But this year my tree is looking a bit put upon. Every time I venture into the backyard with shears it says, in what I imagine to be the most perfect of southern drawls, “You’re friendly with HOW many neighbors? You’re planning to cut HOW many bouquets?” 

My lilac tree might have a point this year. New energy has moved onto our street and we’ve mended fences with others. The number of May Day gifts are growing past what my tree can endure without feeling naked when I’m done. Clearly, it’s time to plant more lilacs!

So, this year for May Day, I decided to wrap up some adorable violas in a stash of vintage hankies and pocket squares I’ve been hoarding. I love the result, don’t you? It’s an easy project to do! And you could just as easily use a bit of fabric if you don’t have hankies floating about. (Just pink the edges for a pretty touch and keep the edges from fraying too soon.) 

I still need to find small tags to put on these lovelies; but then, I have until tomorrow. Nothing like a bit of procrastination.

Want to know how I made these? There’s a wee tutorial below the jump. And really, you still have time to spread a little joy in your neighborhood tomorrow.

Fabric Wrapped Potted Plants


  • Potted plants. Smaller plants in square planters work best. I’ve used an assortment of violas in 4″ containers. 
  • Tin foil. I like to use tin sheets. They’re easier to work with and are the right size!
  • Vintage hankies or pocket squares. Or you can use regular fabric and cut squares the right size to fit your container. My pieces were assorted sizes. 11″ square worked best for my 4″ containers.
  • Baker’s twine (or any ribbon to tie off)
  • Scissors
  • An extra pair of hands doesn’t hurt. I’ll show you how to do this on your own, but if you can convince someone to help you tie the twine, that’s a good thing! 


Step One: Cover with Tin Foil

Gather your supplies and start by covering your plant containers with tin foil. This will keep the moisture of the plant from seeping out onto the fabric. 



It doesn’t matter how you choose to cover with the tin foil, just make sure it’s a snug fit.


Step Two: Cover with Fabric

Place your fabric, wrong side up,  so that it is a diamond shape and set your foil wrapped plant as a square in the middle. Cut a piece of twine long enough to wrap around your plant at least two times. I prefer to wrap mine three times.


Next is the tricky part.  Set the string down beneath your fabric. This photo actually shows both sides so you can see how the fold works. You hold up the point of the fabric on the edge furthest from you. And then fold the side pieces so you create flaps that overlap below the point. Lay the plant down on top of the sting so that the table and weight of the plant holds the fold in place. Then fold the side closest to you (and will now be facing up) the same way.  It takes a little practice, but once you figure it out, it’s not to difficult. 


Step Three: Tie with Twine

Finally, pull one side of the twine so that just enough is left in the front to tie. Then wrap around your plant 3 times, making sure you hold on to the folds so that they do not come undone. Tie in a bow. You can then tug a bit on the folds to tighten up the fit. 

With larger hankies, the edges tend to “flop” down a bit, so you can always reverse it, so that the pattern is facing up when you wrap your plant. Then the print will show when the fabric flops and it will look like you meant it that way! 


Step Four: Wow Your Neighbors and Friends

I adore the tradition of giving flowers on May Day. And a flowering plant is just as sweet. Why not help revive a vintage token of friendship and give a plant  to one or two of your neighbors?! Happy May Day! 

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