Want to add the beauty of a terrarium to your home, but lack the green thumb to keep it alive? Here are my tips for making a maintenance-free DIY terrarium that can be customized to accent any type of decor.
A DIY Terrarium in Several Steps
Step 1: Choose a Container
First, choose your terrarium container. My favorite picks are these metal, brass, and copper geo terrariums; glass teardrop, round, and footed terrariums; and glass and cement terrariums. Today I’m going to be working with a large brass geo terrarium and large glass footed terrarium.
The good news: you’re not making a live terrarium, so you can also use other containers, such as mason jars, apothecary jars, glass candleholders, curio boxes, or cloches. The possibilities are endless!
Step 2: Fill it with Layers
When building your DIY terrarium, I find it easiest to think in four layers. Build from the bottom up and remember to vary the height of your objects. Here’s how to do it:
Layer 1: Base
I prefer sand to start with sand. I like how pliable it is and how it tends to look “soft” compared to harder substances like rocks. But there are a lot of options, including:
Layer 2: Larger Elements
To create dimension and a focal point in your terrarium, use larger items to create height. You’ll want one part of your design that is taller than the rest. The other elements in your terrarium will visually support the tallest elements. This gives the eye somewhere to focus on, instead of darting around trying to land.
Some larger items include:
- Rocks in different sizes and colors
- Large shells
- Driftwood or sticks
Layer 3: Add Life
I particularly like the hanging twigs with air plants. It gave me both my layer 2 large element in the twig, as well as my layer 3 “life” in the air plant.
Other great faux plant options include:
- Preserved moss
- Faux air plants, cacti, or succulents
- Faux succulents with rocks (these give you your layer 2 large element as well)
- Faux flowers (separate from bunch and use singly)
Layer 4: Add Details and Interest
Little details can make a decorative terrarium really special. I love natural elements like beach glass and shells, but go with what you love!
- Shells and beach glass
- Dried starfish and urchins
- Agates, geodes, or other stones
- Decorative accents (like balls, paper mache eggs, or animals)
- Found objects (like drawer knobs)
- Fairy lights
When you’re all done, the only maintenance required is an occasional dusting! We’d love to see your finished terrariums. Post your finished photos to social media and tag us #worldmarket!
Pop over to our Terrarium shop for some fresh finds!