farmhouse wedding decor

How to Upcycle an old typewriter new life – DIY

underwood typewriter keys

I recently found an antique Underwood No.5 typewriter that was so far gone, I couldn’t even salvage her for parts. I found her in an old barn that, well, let’s just say, it wasn’t exactly a weather-tight structure. So while it wasn’t left outside, it was pretty close. I considered using her as a planter, but two things prompted me to rethink that idea

First issue was that I left the typewriter outside, I figured it was already rusty.  But more rain made it your guessed it  rustier, and now the letter keys were illegible. So I knew that if this was to be kept outdoors, it would need some sort of topcoat to seal it and stop it from rusting anymore. It’s hard to spray poly on evenly, and I just didn’t want to deal with that. 

Type me an old letter
rusty typewriter keys

The second issue I had was that the open cavity in the typewriter would only hold one plant at best. And I was envisioning the typewriter overflowing with different types of cactus.  I love plants too much to put them in this cramped space, they won’t thrive in a space like this.

faux succulents michaels
The fix was to go with faux flowers and keeps it as an indoor decorative arrangement. Faux succulents, actually. I had found some great succulents at Michael's and was excited to get started.
diy faux succulents typewriter

Even rusty and dirty, she is a beautiful typewriter. I mean, I don’t know about you, but when I think of an antique typewriter, I think of a No. 5 Underwood typewriter.


The Underwood typewriter was invented by German-American inventor Franz X. Wagner in 1873. In 1906, the company was bought by John T. Underwood, who changed the name from “Wagner Typewriter Company” to “Underwood Typewriter Company.

What you need:

  • 8 stems of succulents
  • Hot Glue
  • Wire clippers
  • Reindeer moss

So here is the easiest tutorial you have ever read or watched. The hardest part of this DIY was finding the typewriter. A No. 5 Underwood might be hard to find in any condition, so don’t feel you have to find the same one.


For this simple DIY, it is really just a matter of cutting the stems (in some cases pulling the tops off is easier) and gluing the faux succulents in place.



Starting with the larger succulents first, I focused on the top cavity. I also made sure to have some of the trailing succulents drape out the front and side of the typewriter.  If your typewriter is in better condition and you are concerned with damaging it with hot glue.  You could just place the stems in the cavity without gluing the stems.  That way you are not hurting the typewriter and also you could swap out the flowers with the seasons.


As an after thought, I also added reindeer moss (not shown in the pictures) it filled in any holes or mechanics that were showing.

I think this would look great on a entry table at a country or farm style wedding.  If  you really like this look and you are really ambitious, this would be a fantastic centerpiece on a table.  That would of course require you to source a lot of old typewriters, which could be a daunting task.  Or you could intermix the tables with a typewriter centerpiece and book centerpiece.  If faux isn’t your thing you could create this look with fresh flowers and that would be so beautiful as well.

I hope you enjoyed the process.  I really love how the typewriter turned out.  I have displayed on a desk in my booth and I am really happy with the transformation.

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