DIY Terrarium Building - Design Inspiration and How-To Steps

DIY Terrarium Building - Design Inspiration and How-To Steps

Craft Your Own Miniature Indoor Garden With These Simple Terrarium Tips

Terrariums are a fun DIY project that allows you to create a self-contained little world of plants, textures, and decor. They also make great gifts!

Below you'll find everything you need to know to make your own DIY terrarium at home, including steps for layered soil, choosing plants, accessorizing, and care.

Terrarium Design Inspiration

First, think about the overall look you want to achieve. Some terrarium ideas include:

  • Tropical terrarium with moss and tropical foliage
  • Desert with cacti and succulents
  • Woodland with ferns and baby tears
  • Whimsical with miniatures and found items
  • Zen with rocks, sand, and simplicity

Spend some time on Pinterest or in gardening shops to gather visual inspiration of plant combinations and designs you're drawn to. This will help guide your plant and accessory choices.


Selecting Your Vessel

Terrariums can be created in anything from clear glass jars to geometric planters to hanging bubbles. Select a container with an opening wide enough to allow planting.

Make sure your vessel is clean. Then place a layer of activated charcoal in the bottom to help absorb odor and moisture. Top with a thin layer of gravel for drainage.

Choosing the Right Plants

Opt for small, slow growing plants suited to tropical environments. Good choices include ferns, pilea, ivy, moss, orchids, succulents, and more.

Consider height, foliage texture, and growth rates. Select 2-4 complementary plants for variety.

Potted plant being prepared for a terrarium

Adding Soil and Plants

Add activated soil up to about 1 inch from the top. Move soil around pipes or hardscapes if adding. Water lightly until soil is damp but not soaked.

Use tweezers or tongs to gently place plants inside. Start with the background, then midground, then foreground plants. Nestle them in and cover roots with soil.

person building a terrarium 

Accessorizing Your Terrarium

Add finishing touches like mini pinecones, pebbles, figurines, found sticks or other small items. Focus on one or two statement accents.

You can also mist the interior with a spray bottle and wipe any dirt from the glass walls with a paper towel.

preparing plant

Caring for Your Terrarium

Place your completed terrarium in indirect light. Lightly mist walls and plants every few days as needed, depending on condensation.

Leave the lid ajar for a few hours each week to allow fresh air exchange. Trim/remove any plants outgrowing the space. Enjoy your mini indoor oasis!

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