How to Make a Terrarium

September 21, 2012 — 2 Comments

How to make a terrarium:

1) Go shopping and buy:
a) A glass or plastic open container. I got mine at HomeGoods for $15.
b) Rocks (I wish I could have just gotten these from my yard but it’s amazing how few rocks are in my yard).
c) Activated charcoal… this one is a little hard to find but they should have it at any nursery.
d) Soil. I buy Miracle Grow: Moisture Control, but pretty much any kind works
e) Succulents. It may help to have your container with you so that you can see how your plants will all fit inside. My particular container is about 15″ in diameter and I fit three succulents in it.
d) Miniature animals because it’s a terrarium and it should be awesome.

2) Put a layer of rocks on the bottom of your container (I saved a few to put on the top layer). This is for drainage.

3) And then a layer of activated charcoal (about an inch of the charcoal). This charcoal, as far as I understand it, is for smell. I guess these terrariums can get moldy so this charcoal is supposed to keep the mold and moldy smell away.

4) Add soil (I filled my container about half full)

5) Plant your succulents!

6) Add a little more life to it. I added rocks and teeny tiny baby deer that I bought on Etsy.

7) Take care. Terrariums are very low maintenance but that only applies if you set them up right to begin with. Also, I can’t stress enough how much terrariums need sunlight. If you forget to open your blinds even a few days in a row these little babies will start to die. On the other hand they can go weeks without water. I sprinkle, emphasis on sprinkle, them with water every 10-14 days.

I made this terrarium about a year ago and it has kept well. One of the plants died which was my fault because I left it too long when I was on a trip without sun or water, but like I said earlier if you do a few things they should keep for a long time. I don’t remember the exact amount I spent to make this but here is my best guess on how much this project cost me:

Container: $15
Deer: $5
Soil: had on hand
3 Succulents: $16
Rocks: $5
Activated Charcoal: $8
= $49 … yes, that is expensive but have you ever tried to buy a pre-made terrarium? They are over $100! Like this one and these.

Here are few ways you can save on terrarium expenses:

– Use dirt and rocks from your yard… why not??
– Use coupons!
– Use a container you have on hand. The only real criteria involved is that they are usually clear (but don’t have to be) and they should have an open top (closed top terrariums require different care). I have a couple of shallow vases right now that would work.
– Share actived charcoal with a friend. I only used a small amount so there is no need to buy a whole bag… go in with a friend and have a terrarium making party!
– Buy plants on clearance. They may look a little sad but nothing a little repotting and love can’t fix.
– Use little miniatures you have lying around or make your own.

Happy terrarium making!


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I'm a single female homeowner who loves all things interior decorating. Especially if it involves thrifting.

2 responses to How to Make a Terrarium

  1. I’m adding this to my weekend projects list. So easy!

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  1. New plants, Part 1 of 4 | Little House Design - October 20, 2013

    […] many years (the oldest is seven years old) but some aren’t so lucky. I planted a terrarium (my ‘how to’ here) about two years ago and since then all but one of the succulents have died. What can you do? Plant […]

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