DIY Terrarium: Create a Mini Landscape in 6 Steps

Step By Step Terrarium How To - Discover, a blog by World Market

A well-constructed terrarium lets you enjoy the visual aesthetic of a beautiful garden without needing much space or maintenance. These fuss-free, oxygen-boosting beauties are easy to create and can be crafted to complement any decor style. Give this DIY creation as a hostess gift, or use it as your latest accent table accessory or entryway console table statement piece—and don’t forget to insert a little bit of your own personality and flair into your terrarium creation!

Step 1: Gather your materials. Wide-mouth glass vessels or large jars with removable lids let you easily work with and move materials as needed. There are so many materials to pick from: rocks, charcoal, potting soil, sand, succulents, small plants, and moss, to name a few. For this project, we chose crystals, twigs and smooth dark rocks to complement the greenery.

Step By Step Terrarium How To - Discover, a blog by World Market

Step 2: Place the rocks at the bottom of the vessel for drainage. As a general rule of thumb, the larger the vessel, the thicker the rock layer. You’ll want to leave enough space at the top of the vessel so the terrarium looks spacious and not cramped.

Step By Step Terrarium How To - Discover, a blog by World Market

Step 3: Add a layer of charcoal to absorb moisture and excess water. The charcoal layer also helps to keep plants from rotting (we used these scoops for moving charcoal and soil—very convenient!).

Step 4: Layer the potting soil deep enough to cover the plant roots. If you’re unsure about which type of soil to use, take a look at the plant’s nursery tag for guidance or call your local nursery for their recommendations.

Step By Step Terrarium How To - Discover, a blog by World Market

Step 5: Start adding plants! Begin with larger succulents and then tuck smaller ones in to fill in the gaps. We found using chopsticks to be very handy for maneuvering plants into place.

Step 6: Add decorative accents. We kept it natural with moss, geodes and pretty sea glass.

A few helpful tips:

• Never place a terrarium in direct sunlight.
• Do not over water your terrarium. If heavy condensation develops on the glass, uncover the terrarium for a while and wipe down the glass.
• If plants need more watering they will start to droop; this is your visual cue to water your terrarium.

Step back and enjoy your creation!


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  • Janie Mathis

    I have done terrariums before with wine bottles and also taken a piece of like driftwood that is uneven and has sone cored out places and layered a small amout of soil on the bottom and placed small ferns and other plants i found walking in the woods on the soil and placed different colored and textured moss around the plants and some stones and it was beautiful. I misted the entire thing for moisture but they didnt last long only a month or so but was a sure conversation piece for those who saw it.

  • Sus

    Any suggestions for crushing the charcoal? I tried several different tools but gave up!

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    Look in thrift stores!

  • Brigitte King

    If you realloy want to get adventurous in your terrarium-making, save a liquor bottle that is clear. The alcohol that was in the vessel will have sterilized it. If not, use some bleach and water and soak the inside for a while, rinse and let dry. If the inside of the bottle is not clean, mold and fungus might grow too easily in the moist environment. then, get some long knitting needles or untwist a wire coat hanger and use it as a tool. first put in some stones and charcoal, then a bit of sand, then some dirt. Just a little, as you don’t want the plants to grow too much! An uneven landscape can look better than a flat one. Then, find some plants (little offshoots from a spider plant or succulent work well). Maybe find a bit of moss from outside, and also an interesting stone or two. Work the little plants into the soil carefully so the roots are coverred. then, if you can find a trinket that fits through the bottle’s opening, you can add that as a decoration (frog, tiny deer, little fairy maybe!) This creation will not last forever, but can be enjoyed for many months. Place in a sunny location but do not place in direct sunlight, and cork bottle if losing too much water, or add a few drops more. Makes a great gift but must be transported without shaking, so that is a problem.

  • Kitty Nix

    Use air plants Then! Just getting a little more oxygen in a room helps!

  • Kristine

    Where did this awesome open topped vessel come from? Love the fact that you can remove it and wipe out condensation without disturbing the plants. Is it from World Market?

  • Mark David

    Great work has done for Mini Landscape. This is very decorative and look nice when we keep in our house.

  • Janet

    As a grower of succulents, I cringe when I see things like this. It’s cute for a while, but they GROW! There are way too many plants in this and succulents love sun! Maybe, do a few smaller ones that are slow growing. It’ll be easier upkeep as well.

    • Rachel

      I second that.

    • karen o

      I would like to do this. Do you have plants you would suggest (that are slow growing)?

    • Connie W.

      Succulents need sunlight to thrive; if you removed some of the plants (too crowded!), & put the dish in a really Bright room a few feet from a window… it might survive. At least put some tiny green plants that love Humidity– a local nursery could help you find the correct type to have success, & it will be as lovely as the one shown!

    • Stephanie

      Totally agree! They look pretty for about a month and than it would be too small. The only way this would stay nice is with fake plants. I also wonder if the water sleeps through the bottom of this container.

    • c lowrie

      Perhaps that is why they have fake succulents in their as???

    • Diann

      It’s according to where you live as to whether or not using succulents is a good idea. I live in the desert and the high temps wipe succulents out if they are not well shaded. Succulents would do well if not in direct sunlight and not overwatered. Like the article said though; it will not last indefinitely, so you will have to replant them at one point. I have had great success with succulents in diffused sunlight in the SoCal desert. DO NOT OVERWATER!

  • Abed

    How were you able to put that dish in the jar?

  • Lisa

    What do you do with the sand?

    • nmatt

      The sand was probably mixed in with the porting soil because those succulents like a dry sandy environment. They are naturally a desert plant.

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  • LaTonya Moore

    Good afternoon I’m in love with your things. But I do wish you would have more jars of different sizes with tops or corps. I my self am a crafter I love doing sand jars of different colors. I do have trouble finding jars of different sizes and shapes and think that your store would do perfect selling them. Thank You for your time.

    One of your faithful customers!


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