DIY terrariums

DIY terrariums

a couple weeks ago, the girls and i spent a day making terrariums together.

DIY terrariums

 we shopped the house for glass containers, then got a couple large ones from target.  we used vases (short and tall), mason jars, and lidded containers.


 then we hunted around the house for small objects to accessorize our terrariums:  shells, twigs, tiny bird cages, rocks, sea glass, tiny trinkets and memorabilia.


 terrariums typically begin with a stone base, but we had a huge bag of sea glass that i thought would be a fun twist!  lots of our glass was collected, but you can also buy inexpensive bags of sea glass at walmart.


because we were trying to do this on the cheap, we used supplies and made do with what we had lying around, or stored deep in forgotten cupboards.  these polished stones had been weighing down some vases, and were great for a variety of base material (other than the sea glass option).


 we started out with our base material (stones or sea glass).we needed at least an inch at the base.


 for terrariums with lids, we needed to add a good handful of activated carbon (also called activated charcoal).  the charcoal helps to fight off mildew issues with the covered terrariums.  another tip is to try to keep the leaves from touching the glass, which can also cause mildew.


the charcoal can be found at pet supply stores in the fish tank section.  i think ours was around $5?


 because i didn’t want to use all of our sea glass for the base, i just used common gravel stones for the center and surrounded the sides with the glass.




 then we added the charcoal.


 we also made 2 batches of soil.  we added the rest of the charcoal to the soil for the enclosed terrariums, and a regular batch for the other terrariums.


 we used a mix of tiny succulents, grasses, and mosses for our containers.


 i also got this really pretty fern for an old concrete urn in the house.  and i’ve already killed it.


 we added the soil with charcoal to the rock/glass base.


 then we played!  i used a chunk of petrified wood, a small glass bottle from a trip to paris,  all mixed with the plants.




 i even planted a little succulent inside a footed cup that my sister sent me from london.


 gracie used a tiny wire birdcage and tucked a succulent inside.

after we finished them all, we lightly watered them until the soil was saturated.

DIY terrariums

we made so many that we were able to make a little garden on our coffee table, some on our mantel, and another on our window sill!


i love the silverware the girls tucked into their creations!


these weeping grasses are a fun contrast to the curvy shells and soft moss.







the kids are loving the succulents.  can you see the tiny pony that has found a home there? ;)

so far, all of these bad boys are still alive (yay!).  i’ve been told that i should water the succulents once i see that the water has dried up from the rocks and sea glass below.  if you have any great tips, feel free to leave them in the comments.  thanks friends!

***edited*** after a while, we realized that succulents need to be in open air (dryer spaces) and not in the enclosed containers.  also, the starfish got pretty nasty in the enclosed jar as well.  so don’t do that ;)


  1. 1
    Jeannette says:

    Beautiful !!! I can’t wait to try this!

  2. 2

    These turned out great. You should commission Lisa to stamp those spoons with a fun saying:)

  3. 3

    So awesome! Love it!! Looks like a fun project to do with the kids :)

  4. 4

    I LOVE terrariums too. They turned out so cute…last time I did this I ended up with mold (eww..) even with the charcoal. I’m going to make some more – make great gifts too. My girls like adding tiny plastic animals to them.

    • 5
      lindsey says:

      any tips on avoiding the mold for next time?

      • 6

        Maybe I should go overboard on the charcoal? When the mold happens it is a mess! I’ve read many recommendations on plants that are “terrarium friendly” but have a hard time finding the ones listed, even checking florists…I wonder if there are plants less likely to have a molding issue?

  5. 7

    oh! these are wonderful! i saw some suclents at Lowes the other day and want to try my hand at it. I may just have to do this now! I love the biggest glass jar with the lid—where did you find that???

  6. 11

    Those are so cool and so pretty. I’m drawn to the succulant in the cup your sister sent you. So pretty. And I love the addition of the forks! Great idea!

  7. 12

    I’ve always wanted to make a terrarium!

  8. 13
    Lindsey says:

    Wow! Love these! I have been planning to make a terrarium and this post is the perfect inspiration! Thank you! Also – I had no idea to use the charcoal stuff. Great tip!

  9. 14

    So very creative and darling to look it. I’m inspired to try this.
    Heather from Friendship, Life and Style

  10. 15

    I cannot wait to try this…your post is very inspirational!!! Thank you!

  11. 16

    I love this idea! I am going to purchase succulents this weekend because I want to make them my centerpiece; I hadn’t thought of this creative way of displaying them. I love how you have spoons and forks and odds and ends decorating them.

  12. 17

    This couldn’t be more timely! I am just gathering things to make terrariums in my apothecary jars. Thanks for the tutorial. I didn’t know the tip about charcoal.

  13. 18

    I have always adored terrariums but have been hesitant to make them because I’m worried about killing the plants. I should give it a try anyway. One would be adorable on my kitchen window sill.

  14. 19

    You’re DIY terrariums are awesome. I really love how they turned out. So nice you shared the fun with the kid-lets too! ;)
    You’re blog is super cute. Glad I stopped by.
    Cheers to you and yours,

  15. 20

    Did you use regular potting soil or top soil to mix in with the charcoal?

    • 21
      lindsey says:

      honestly, i don’t know what it was. probably a mix of the 2. we just used what was in our planting bed and scooped it into a bucket to make our mixture!

  16. 22

    Hello there!

    :D I featured your tutorial on my blog so you might receive some traffic here:

    Please join my blog hop here:

    xo Michelle

  17. 23
    Nancy o says:

    This is my first experience with terrariums. I made two. One was in a glass jar with a glass lid, very similar to one pictured here. The other was an oval vase without a lid, so I used plastic wrap to seal the opening. The one in the jar with the glass lid is still alive 2 years after I planted it, but the one I sealed with plastic wrap died within 4 months. It seems to me that terrariums need a certain amount of fresh air to thrive.

  18. 25
    Charlene says:

    What a great tutorial, I will be trying this with my Grandchildren. I too did not know about the charcoal, thanks for the tip.

  19. 26

    I love your terrariums, i started making DIY kits and would love to post our site on here for the beginners looking for an easy way to build there first Terrarium. Also if you order now place promo code #Terrarium in the order notes and i’ll throw in another kit for FREE! Two terrariums for the price of one and might I add both gift wrapped so that they are ready to be given away!

  20. 27

    I love those, such a great idea. I just bought a tiny greenhouse with succulents in it but they are already getting to big, but…….. your post gave me an idea I always buy fragrant candles in glass jars with the lids. Use them for many things ie cotton balls,q tips etc. Still have tons of them, I think my little plants will get new homes tomorrow. Thank you for your post, I can teach the grandkids and they can sell them. Hmmm can’t wait. Again, thank you!

  21. 28

    Where did you find the plants

  22. 29

    lovely ideas… I have some lovely glass bowls that could be used for this… I will have to sort them out. thanks sue UK

  23. 30

    DIY terrariums — The Pleated Poppy

  24. 31

    These are awesome, I love what you have done with your succulent terrariums!

  25. 32

    How did the succulents do with the grasses and mosses you planted? I like the idea of a terrarium that has succulents as well as ferns, moss, and grass, but I’m not sure how well that would work considering both need such different environments.

  26. 33

    I love your ideas. I have a great big jar that is too pretty to throw away, and it is old. I also have several gallon pickle jars. Now I know what to do with them. My cats eat all my plants, (even though I grow them there own cat grass) so I can put plants inside jars with lids for safety. (for the cats and the plants) ;>) Thanks for posting your great idea!

  27. 34

    I found a great source for the round glass globes if anyone is interested……It’s and they have pretty good prices. I love making terrariums and have even bought some great air plants off of Etsy from various vendors.

  28. 35
    SheLovesToCraft says:

    Thank you so much for the great tutorial! I included a link to it, and to your blog, in a post I did about succulents. It can be found here:

    Thanks so much, again! Super cue!

  29. 36

    Great ideas! I found a cool website where you can get all your terrarium supplies including some hard to find accessories like colored reindeer moss and exotic little air plants!

  30. 37

    I’m curious to know how these fared over time. I noticed you combined moss-like plants with succulents which I would think wouldn’t get along well together since they require quite opposite environments. Are they still around?

    • 38

      great question! i definitely learned which plants liked the terrarium environments and which preferred drier air! this was a great learning experience for me.

  31. 39

    How do you water terrariums? How often? How much? Or do you spray the water? My soil settles into the stones.

    • 40
      lindsey says:

      i have since changed out my terrariums, but i watered them when the soil started looking dry, maybe once a week or so? my soil didm;t really settle much into the stones after the initial waterings – maybe add more soil and replant?

  32. 41

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  33. 42

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  34. 43
    Diana Pederson says:

    Don’t forget to check the dollar stores for glassware suitable for terrariums. DOLLAR TREE also carries bags of colored glass pebbles and bags of river rock. I find many accessories there even in the toy department. I use several of the buildings from their Christmas village in my large 20 gallon long aquarium terrariums. You cannot beat their prices.

  35. 44

    these are so beautiful :) saw the pictures on pinterest.
    Check out my terrarium

  36. 45

    So cool! I love using a mixture of succulents and air plants in terrariums. I have buy all my succulents locally but have been getting air plants online and have been happy with and their selection!

  37. 46

    Love the idea of using sea glass as part of the drainage substrate! I live by the beach and I’ve collected tons of it, but I never thought of using it in a terrarium! Might be best to combine it with air plants in a hanging glass terrarium, so that you can see see the beautiful sea glass!

  38. 47

    Beautiful! Can poppys be planted in teramiums? Thanks.

    • 48

      hmm, i’m not totally sure, but i’m guessing they are better suited for outdoors. possibly consult a specialist at a garden center.

  39. 49

    My glass jars always get water marks and stains. I love it went the glass is clear looking. How do I keep the glass clear?

    • 50

      hi charlotte! i am guessing you may have too much moisture in your soil if your glass is getting cloudy? maybe allow some air in with the lid slightly ajar and see if that helps.

  40. 51
    Charlotte Coker says:

    My glass containers always get cloudy. How do I keep the glass clear? Is it coming from hard water?

  41. 52

    So many ideas! thank you! Great tips for a beginner like me <3

  42. 53

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