How to DIY a Terrarium That You’ll Absolutely Love in 5 Easy Steps

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Last Updated on May 20, 2022 by Katherine

I have a confession to make – I can’t be trusted with plants! I always seem to not water them as much as they need. However, I have figured out a solution to that problem of mine. A DIY terrarium is the answer to my issue. 

Did you know ‌you can absolutely DIY a terrarium for around $30? The most expensive item for this craft is your container, so you can easily cut that price tag down to under $10 if you head to your local dollar store as well.

Terrariums are fun and low maintenance, as they don’t require a lot of water, usually just a spritz or two from a spray bottle when the soil gets dry is good. Plants also are great for your overall health as they often filter your air and create a healthier environment for everyone.

You can also create both a closed and open terrarium. Closed terrariums are perfect for plants that thrive in a humid environment (like African violets) and succulents and cacti thrive in the drier open terrariums.

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

Everything You Need to Get Started:

To get started with your own terrarium, you don't need a lot of materials!

The best part about making a terrarium is that you don’t need a ton of things on hand to get this started.

  • A glass container (almost anything goes here, but you definitely need glass so that the light can get through!).
  • Potting soil.
  • Rocks (for drainage) or aquarium gravel.
  • Activated charcoal (for more drainage and odor control).
  • Plants (rule of thumb is they cannot touch each other in your container).
  • Moss (optional).
  • Decorative objects like sea glass (optional).

Choosing Plants for Your DIY Terrarium

When picking plants for your DIY terrarium, it’s tricky to find species that thrive in the terrarium environment. Your choices will also depend on whether you are going to try a closed or open terrarium, as some plants will not thrive in a humid environment and vice versa!

Make sure all of your plants have roughly the same watering and light requirements, which you’ll find on the plant information tag when purchasing. If one plant needs medium light and the other bright, it’ll be very hard to keep them both happy, for example!

For a good comprehensive guide on terrarium plants, check out 20 Best Terrarium Plants for Every Type of Home from Country Living. I particularly love how they break down which plants will thrive in each type of light!

Start With Drainage

Begin by filling the bottom of your terrarium with some rocks or aquarium gravel for drainage

The very last thing you want to happen in your terrarium is for root rot to take over. So always start with a layer of drainage using your rocks and charcoal. Rocks go in first, followed by a layer of charcoal.

You should aim for around 2 inches of drainage, though if you have a shallower container, you can reduce this.

Time To Plant

Once you have your base, add soil and then your plants!

Once you have your drainage layer set up, cover it with a good couple of inches of potting soil and add your plants.

Your plants should not touch each other.

All you need to do for your plants is create a “plant-sized” hole in the soil and pop your plant into it. If your terrarium is harder to reach into, you can use chopsticks to dig out the hole you need.

Customization Ideas

Once your plants are in, now is the time to add in some custom features if you like. You can add in mosses, rocks or even little figurines if you’d like. This can be so much fun to do and will allow you to customize your DIY terrarium to suit your unique tastes and decor.

Some ideas to consider:

  • Shells.
  • Sea glass.
  • River rocks.
  • Figurines, like gnomes or mushrooms.

Caring for your Terrarium

Once everything's planted and set, find a bright area of your home!

Once you’ve finished putting together your stunning DIY terrarium, you can sit back and enjoy it.

Make sure that you pick a place in your home that has enough light for the plants. The plants for my terrarium thrive in bright light, so I picked a nice spot that gets loads of natural light in my home.

If you notice any sort of browning or yellowing of the leaves, that can be a sign that your plants are getting too much light. Stunted growth or stretching plants may be a sign of too little light (as the plant is growing to find some light!). Simply move your terrarium into a sunnier or less sunny spot as needed.

As for watering, terrarium plants do not require a lot of water and too much water can lead to root rot. Only water when your terrarium soil is completely dry. An easy hack is to use a spray bottle to mist everything down about once a month!

Final Thoughts

A DIY Terrarium is the perfect way to add a spot of green to nearly any space in your home. The best part about doing it yourself is you get to pick the plants and other decorative elements so that you can create that perfect look.

I also love how incredibly versatile this project is. All you need is a glass container, potting soil, charcoal and drainage rocks and you can create a place where your plants will live happily for years. You also will not need to spend a ton of money, as you can probably create a simple terrarium for around $30 or less.

Like this post? Be sure to share it on social media and pin it to Pinterest!

terrariums make a great diy project, check out my tips to make yours today!

Until next time, stay crafty, my friends!!

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