DIY Faux Terrarium Tutorial

I’ma few days later getting this up than I’d originally planned, but better late than never, right?? You can click on any of the pictures to see them larger.

While my son was at daycare on Monday, I did one of the crafts from my to-do list: Terrariums. I didn’t want one that I would have to worry about though, so I made it out of fake moss and stuff.

I got this little container during a recent thrifting trip. I didn’t know what I was going to use it for at the time, but I’m glad I didn’t leave it behind in the store!

(I also used a small baby food jar that I’d been saving for who knows what to make the little panda terrarium.) I learned a lesson from the big one: You don’t have to use all of your space in there. Leave some room at the top so you have plenty of room to see your guys.

SUPPLIES

  • Container for terrarium: I used my thrifted container and a baby food jar
  • Rocks: I got mine from the dollar store. I used them in the bottom of the terrarium and as decoration on the top.
  • Moss: Again, from the dollar store. I have two different kinds in the big one, but I really think you only need one different kind. (See small terrarium…not much of a difference, right?
  • Dirt: Depending on how big yours is, you might be able to just grab some from outside. I was planting that day, so that’s what I did.
  • Fabric: Needed only if you’re going to cover your container cap.
  • Ribbon: Again, only needed if you’re covering your container cap.
  • Hot glue: Possibly optional…you’ll see.
  • Guys: Up to you, but you might want some animals or other creature hanging out in your terrarium. I got a plastic egg of random figurines in a thrift store grab bag, so I used those.
  • Accents: Again, up to you, but I chose to have a “pond” and garland in my terrarium. For the pond I needed a baby food jar cap, blue food coloring, and school glue. For the garland I needed two tooth picks, some string, scrap paper to make the pendants, and school glue.

ARRANGING YOUR BASE

I used this website to figure out which order I should put my supplies in. The ground-work of the terrarium goes like this: Rocks, lighter moss, dirt, darker moss, guys/accents. I found that I really couldn’t tell the difference between the lighter moss and the dirt, so I didn’t include the lighter moss or the dirt (I didn’t like how it covered up the rocks a bit.) in the baby food jar terrarium. Up to you.

THE POND

I would suggest doing the pond first, because the glue takes a surprising amount of time to dry. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if the duck I put in it was tipped over in my terrarium right now, because I eventually got frustrated that it wasn’t dry and stuck it in the terrarium so I could be done with it. If you don’t have a duck in yours then this might not be an issue. Anyway.

First, poor some glue into the baby jar cap. Add some food coloring, being careful not to dye the tip of your finger. I did this, and as a result, added too much blue. Blah. Mix the food coloring and glue until the color is even. If you’re adding a duck or something, set that in and prop it up with tooth picks. You can either set it to the side to dry, or set up an overly complicated drying system with your blow dryer. (See picture.) That’s it! The pond is pretty easy; it just takes a while to dry.

ACCENTS

For the garland, cut a piece of string the length you want the garland to be, and tie it to the tooth picks. Wrap any string hanging off the end from your knot around the tooth pick, and cover with glue to secure. Cut out little triangles from your scrap paper; enough to go across the width of your string. put a little glue across the top of your triangles, and stick to string. I would start in the middle and work your way out to get even spacing. Set to the side to dry, making sure you don’t glue the whole thing to your counter. (sideways eye glance…)

I had a bunch of rocks left over, so I also made some stacked rocks for good luck to put in my terrariums. I just found some that stacked naturally, and hot glued them together so I wouldn’t have to worry about knocking them over when I moved the terrarium.

THE CAP

If you’re using a jar that has a cap with a graphic on it, you might want to cover it. To do this, just take your piece of fabric, cut it into a square that is larger than your cap and big enough to cover all of the sides. Put a dab of hot glue in the middle of the top of the cap, and press the fabric onto it to keep it in place. Slowly hot glue fabric all around the sides, keeping the hot glue towards the top of the cap. I glued mine in little sections so I could make sure the fabric was secured as I went. Next, take some really sharp scissors and cut excess fabric off. Cut ribbon so that you have a piece that will wrap completely around the base of your cap. Glue that in place. I didn’t glue it all the way around, but I did put dots around the base, about half an inch away from each other to make sure that it didn’t slip off.

FINAL DETAILS

Now that you have all of your little projects done, you get to arrange your guys and accents! Take a look at your terrarium, figure out how much room you have and how you want your guys/accents arranged. I started out with my squirrels in the big terrarium looking out, but when I looked at it from the side, I thought it looked like they were trying to escape. So, I changed the scene so that they were all hanging out by the pond. Coincidentally, I didn’t mind that the pandas looked out. Go figure.

It’s up to you if you want to just lay everything in there, or secure it with hot glue. Since these are fake terrariums, you don’t have to worry about the glue killing anything. I laid the squirrels in there and they stayed just fine (well, I hot glued the one on the rocks to the rocks…) but the pandas kept falling over, so they got a nice dose of hot glue to the bottom. Once you have your terrarium(s) arranged, put on the cap, place on a shelf or table, and enjoy!

(View from inside the big terrarium)
If you make a faux terrarium using this tutorial, I’d love to see pictures of it! Just add a link in the comments and I’ll check it out.



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