Pieced Pastimes: Terrarium Tutorial

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Terrarium Tutorial

I wanted to bring a touch of nature into our home and decided that terrariums would fit the bill nicely.
In the process of making these miniature gardens, I discovered a whole new world. There are books, classes and clubs devoted solely to the hobby of terrarium building. 
During the Victorian Era, terrariums were common in every home, but their popularity dwindled over time. We are currently in the midst of a resurgence of their popularity.
I can see why they are making a comeback. They are beautiful, unique and they require minimal maintenance - in fact they tend to thrive on their own. 
Now onto the tutorial:
Supplies Needed:
- Potting Soil
- Moss Sheet
- River Pebbles
- *Activated Charcoal (available in the fish supply section of pet stores) *only needed for closed containers
- Drainage Stones (not shown)
- A varied assortment of plants  (Ask your local gardening center which plants are best suited for terrariums.)
- Glass enclosure such as cloches, vases, canisters, etc...,.
- **Base for your dome - **not needed if your container has a top opening
(I used dollar store cake pans. I sanded the coating off them and soaked them in a vinegar and peroxide mixture to give them a faux aged patina.)
Begin with a layer of stone on the bottom to allow for drainage.
Follow with a layer of activated charcoal and then a layer of potting soil mixed with activated charcoal. The charcoal is only needed if you are using a closed container like mine. The charcoal filters the air.
Arrange your plants as you would like and fill around them with potting soil. Create paths with the 'River Rock'.
Use an assortment of textures and colors to add visual interest. I thought this 'Earth Star' (Cryptanthus) provided just the right pop of color to the mixture of greens.
The placement of miniature objects such as this sweet nesting bird add an element of surprise to the enclosed oasis.
Finish by placing moss over any bare spots. Lightly water your newly planted garden with a spray bottle. Terrariums naturally recycle their own water, so they require minimal watering. 
Carefully place your glass enclosure over your plantings. Place in indirect sunlight. Do not overwater. For further information on terrarium care, visit Horticulture Magazine.
I will be doing a post on these faux vintage enamel tags that I made in the future.  A humble piece of jute tied onto the tag added some a bit of bling.
Every garden needs a fairy to bless your home and bring good luck.

Have you had the pleasure of a terrarium in your home? If not, maybe you should give it a try. I am enjoying this little touch of nature, while I await the arrival of Spring.

PS - Have you linked up to Saturday Sparks yet?  Hope to see you there!

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  1. Fabulous tutorial -- easy to follow, even I can do this (black thumb and all!)
    Thank you for sharing -- found you from Get Schooled Saturday! New Fan :) swing by my Humblenest when you have a moment, thanks!

  2. This was such a good idea and very pretty. Love it

    Have a nice day

  3. Thanks for the tutorial! I love terrariums and now I'm jazzed to make my own!


  4. I love this tutorial!
    Would you please share this at my blog hop going on now?

  5. These are just beautiful! I love the tags and metal pans-the look is awesome. I pinned this and will be trying it out for myself soon!

  6. What a sweet little garden! I love it. I might have to give this a try.. with my brown thum!
    I found you today at Under the Table and Dreaming's Linky. I hope you can stop by my blog and leave a comment, too!
    ~ Megin of Vmg206

  7. These were popular a long,long time ago! I enjoyed making one and tending it. I’ve noticed our garden shop here is offering a class on how to make them. Great tutorial and photos.
    Thanks for sharing.

    The French Hutch

  8. This is really great! Such a nice idea. I love the natural look. It brings some colour into the home.

  9. Great project! Can't wait to see the faux enamel tutorial!

  10. These are so sweet. I always love when I see them, and have wondered how to do it myself... I'm not much of a green thumb

  11. OMG thanks for sharing this!! I love cloches and this is such a good idea. I needed a tutorial ;)
    Jamie ~ somuchbetterwithage.com
    PS: I'm having a giveaway on my blog right now!

  12. Oh how lovely!! You make it look so easy!
    Thanks for the tutorial.

  13. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous terrarium's. I used to have a few, many, many years ago and forgot all about them!! Great tutorial... I think I may have to start one again, thanks!

  14. I just love these! I recently bought some mossy ferns and would like to make a terrarium with them. Thanks for the tips!

  15. These are so beautiful, love the use of cake pans as a base.

  16. Oh my Goodness!!! Thanks so much...I have been wanting to do this for well over a year now and never did a thing to figure out what was needed. I am going to the Depot/Lowes tomorrow....have a great weekend!!


  17. This post brought back memories! We had several of these in the late seventies, early eighties. Yours look awesome!

  18. These look amazing! These would look right at home in my house. Will have to put it on my project list.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing this diy! When I can get my materials around I will be trying this for myself and who knows even maybe a gift! Dianntha

  20. I just love terrariums.....always have!! Yours are so cute, I think I will just have to make one!!
    Thanks for the inspiration,

  21. Where did you get the fairy? I'm looking for one like that for my pond.

    1. I found her at a local greenhouse. She is only 1 1/2" tall, so I am thinking she may be a bit too small for a pond ; ) .

  22. Just wondering, what was your vinegar/peroxide ratio, and how long did you need to soak the pans?

    1. I used about a 50/50 mix of vinegar and peroxide with 2 tablespoons of salt and let it soak overnight. I then put it in the sun to dry. The 'patina' is more of a 'rusty coat', but it took the new curse off the pans!

  23. I LOVE cloches and this is such a great idea. The creations you've shown are absolutely fascinating! Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial and all the step by step photos! You make it look so easy!
    Thanks again for the inspiration. I'll be back!!

    Gaby xo

  24. Hi, I love this tutorial, I've pinned it and I would like to share it on my blog. It will be included in my treasure chest Thursday post if that's ok?


I love reading each and every comment and welcome any questions or feedback you may have.

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