Friday, February 24, 2012

d.i.y-not? Terrarium fun!


I love terrariums so much- I think they're beautiful and classic.
And there's something about a happy, thriving, little self-contained world that just makes me feel relaxed.
From Victorian Belljars, to unconventional modern shapes, to mason jars... the possibilities are endless.
And endlessly fun!

I've been so inspired by these guys and this little upstart in the heart of Brooklyn. I love that they're not taking themselves too seriously. They've really elevated the process to a whole new level of living artistic expression.
I mean, look at this:



A few weeks ago, Beverly's had a great sale on large-scale glassware, so I thought... why keep dreaming about my own little terrarium world? It was time to act! Wanna know something about me? I love all things teensy and petite. So anything in the diorama-family is right up my alley. I had so much fun painting tiny people, creating outfits and expressions on them... inventing scenarios, and arranging them.


As you can see, I actually made two terrariums. One enclosed, and one open-topped. I gave one to a friend. In her terrarium-scenario, she and her husband are dressed up for a night on the town- but they end up in a beautiful park instead. He's arranged music, and lights, and a private glittering dance floor just for them, but it's behind her and she hasn't discovered the surprise just yet.

***FYI: My friend keeps hers on her desk at work, and even though
she's usually a plant-killer, her terrarium is thriving and looks gorgeous! YAY!

In my terrarium scene, Jeff and I are holding hands, hiking around the Mountain behind Madonna Inn. The last time we did this in real-life, it kind of turned into a cluster-cuss, so in my perfect mini-world we just hold hands endlessly (superglue, yo) and enjoy the view. We never get tired and my dumb cesarean scar never aches or burns and makes me whine and walk back to the car 5 minutes from the top of the mountain. Ahhh, to be the diorama-me.

This project has made me so happy. You know how watching fish swim can make you feel calm and relaxed? That's what my terrarium does for me.

Ready to make your own? Here's what you'll need:

1. Glass container. Any size and shape works, but make sure you can fit your hand into it for easy workability.

2. Plants. I used Scottish Moss, which is a really basic and common terrarium grass. I also put a little baby cypress in mine- crossing fingers that it will thrive.

3. Rocks. These are your bottom layer. Larger than the charcoal pieces. Decorative. Sand works for succulent variety terrariums.

4. Moss. Some people like to add the moss between layers, and I think that looks great- but I chose to just use it around the top edges of my terrariums.

5. Activated Charcoal. This is so important. It acts as a drainage barrier between the water and the plants, to keep them from molding in the warm, moist air.

6. Soil. Nothing fancy. I just used a potting mix I had leftover from my window boxes.

7. Plants! This website was an excellent resource for determining the best plants for a terrarium and the lighting conditions each plant needs. If you're planning to do a succulent variety terrarium- you'll find a great tutorial here.

8. Diorama! This is the super fun part. I bought the 1.5" men and women mix. They start out completely stark white, but clothed- and from there your imagination can just run wild! I also used a package of very tiny flowers in multiple colors. They were kind of like the icing on my terrarium cake. :)

9. To lid or not to lid... Care is slightly more complicated for the enclosed terrarium, but I really enjoy the look of the lid. More info here.

I hope you have a chance to make one too!  


  1. I thought you'd enjoy this great selection of terrarium supplies from the over-the-top fabulous store Terrarium. (though you can't use your Michaels coupon)

    1. Thanks, Kay! I loooove Terrain. Aren't those terrarium supplies SO gorgeous? I've had my eye on them for a while, but I just couldn't resist the bargain at Beverly's! Have you been to the Terrain brick and mortar shop? I so badly want to visit them in real life- but Philadelphia is pretty low on my travel-plan totem pole.

  2. I'm going to make one tomorrow as long as I find all the stuff! I'm so excited! A friend of mine made one and found a miniature gnome and mushrooms!!! Eeeeeee, so excited!!!!!


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