DIY Terrarium!

I haven't been painting lately because I've been too busy collecting succulents around NYC to build my dream terrarium. Plants make me happy and are obviously evident in my artwork so I figured..what better way to brighten up my home :)

While browsing online, I came across some "Terrarium Kits" but most of them were overpriced. Google is amazing and I realized that these are extremely affordable and easy to make at home vs. paying over $100 for the materials and then still having to build it yourself once it arrives.

This walkthrough today isn't really art related or a painting step-by-step but more of a DIY guide to build your own lovely terrarium!

Step 1) Prepare your tools. You'll need the following:

  • Organic Cactus Soil Mix
  • Pebbles or River Rocks (you can buy from Home Depot or at a pet shop)
  • Active Charcoal (optional if you're building an open terrarium so I excluded this)
  • Glass bowl, glass jar, goldfish bowl, glass mug, glass..anything really. (Marshalls, Crate & Barrel, local 99cent stores/dollar stores, any glass container will do!)
  • Variety of Succulents! (Home Depot, local plant shop, online mail order)

While not mandatory, would also be useful to have:

  • Plastic spoon - poor man's shovel for a terrarium
  • Chopsticks or tweezers - extremely useful for getting in small/tight spaces & maneuvering rock or plant placement
  • Cheap paintbrushes that you won't mind dirtying with soil - used for brushing leftover dirt off the plants to keep them looking clean & fresh (since I paint, I already have a ton of these lying around)

You can also include cacti or a cactus in your terrarium but unfortunately, the one I chose was much too tall for my glass globe. Let's begin!

First, please do cover your nice glass table with some sort of newspaper or magazine pages to prevent scratches before setting down all your ingredients.

 Ah, a beautiful mess is about to happen! See the cactus? A gorgeous orange moon that I eventually realize won't fit in my small glass globe...

Ah, a beautiful mess is about to happen! See the cactus? A gorgeous orange moon that I eventually realize won't fit in my small glass globe...

Make sure you wash your glass globe and wipe dry completely before starting any of this. Same goes for the rocks and any other materials you are planning to have in your terrarium. 

Step 2) Pour 2-3 inches or river rocks to fully cover the bottom (this is for drainage) and then another layer of soil on top.

Step 3) Start taking your plants out of their pots and loosening up the dirt from the roots. Begin digging with your plastic spoon and planting. I highly recommend that you have some sort of design plan before you start. A great rule to follow: tall plants in back, short and small plants in front. Decor rocks or seashells can fill gaps.

 Filling up the glass globe. Don't worry about the mess..it will be ugly and messy until everything is planted and cleaned.

Filling up the glass globe. Don't worry about the mess..it will be ugly and messy until everything is planted and cleaned.

 Closeup of how this mess truly looks.

Closeup of how this mess truly looks.

Step 4) Continue planting, flatten soil. Pour layer of gravel or charcoal over it when done planting.

 Lookin' good so far!

Lookin' good so far!

 A peek inside

A peek inside

Step 5) Finish final layer with decor (river rocks or gravel) & feel free to add some seashells or giant shiny rocks. Make sure all plants are somewhat bunched together and not touching the glass to avoid sunburns.

Behold, my precious.

The other side. A beauty ain't it?

And there ya have it. Tada! 

The masterpiece.

In a few days, I'll show you how to make a terrarium out of a Mason Jar! Super exciting and looks great for any home.