Archive for February, 2012

Tiny Terrariums
February 7, 2012

I have had this terrarium how-to on Handmadeology bookmarked for what seems like forever, and recently felt inspired while looking through the glass jars at Goodwill. I found the two larger ones for only a dollar each. Thrifting is the perfect way to look for terrarium cases because often you can find cool older glasses and jars, that may be faceted or in odd shapes. All you need is something with a lid – and if it comes with a rubber stopper attached to the lid to create a seal, as these two did, it is easy to remove with a small flat head screwdriver.

While the tutorial lists pea gravel OR sand as optimal water filters, I decided to use both because I really like the layered look. I got both the rose tinted pea gravel and the large granule sand at Lowes, where you can find all of the other necessary ingredients or any other home improvement store or garden center, like Home Depot. The moss is transplanted from my parents yard – I literally went out to their cement stairs with a fork and paper plate, and carefully peeled back chunks of moss. (Had to navigate around a few baby slugs D: ) It was especially ideal because the moss was already damp and ready to go. The deer figurine and chunk of amethyst I found recently at a part hobby, part antique store out at the beach. The other tiny agates and alligator and mice figures I had lying around my craft room.

Once I made the two larger glasses, I just wanted to keep going!  I found the smaller bottles amongst my supplies left over from a previous project. I actually really like the smaller bottles, I think they would be a perfect project for a younger crafter, or to give as a gift.

The beauty of this project is that it cost me under $12 for all the supplies, and each terrarium took me less than 15 minutes to complete. It’s pretty hard to mess up, too – the layers look even better when they are uneven terrain, and the moss can stack or squish up. They are super cute as decoration or tabletop focal points, and need minimal attention.

A few things to keep in mind:

– don’t fill your jar up too high, because you want to be able to look at it from the side to see the scene, rather than having to remove the lid and look down.

– it’s much easier to add than it is to take away – especially with narrow mouthed jars, it’s difficult to reach your hand inside to pick things out or rearrange. Once you start your layers, you can’t really tip the jar over to remove excess dirt or rocks, or else everything will mix. Add slowly, and use a chopstick or pencil to nudge things around and arrange as you go.

– less is definitely more here – I limited myself to two items per terrarium, apart from the natural elements.  You don’t want anything to appear squished, and with more space, the placement of charms becomes more deliberate.

– I have noticed it’s a little difficult to water them, especially the tall skinny jar, without dumping water all over everything. A small eye dropper or a turkey baster used sparingly will come in handy here.