Saturday, May 21, 2011

ET, The Extra-Terrestrial?? Nah, Just a TT As In Terrarium Tutorial.

I promised earlier this week in my post Cool Terrariums, For Only Cool People, that I would write a quick tutorial about my terrariums.  Since it is Saturday morning, I knew you might have a little time during your weekend to fit this little project in!

Make a terrarium is pretty darn easy.  You need a few supplies, with one very key ingredient. 

Glass, lidded jar
Assorted Stones and Whatnot
New Potting Soil
Activated Charcoal (key ingredient)
Moss (can be the bagged Spanish)
Assorted mini plants sold in the indoor plant area
Small spade, trimmers.
Optional chopsticks to help place stuff down narrow necked jars

Take a handful of assorted stones, shells, marbles.....whatever you have laying around. I have a tendency to pick up a lot of bags of this stuff when on clearance at my favorite stores, like Pier One.  I put them away until something like this project begs me to bring them out. I also collect stones, rocks and shells whenever I am visiting nature on vacations or outings.  Place a few handfuls in the bottom of the jar.  If there is ever an over watering issue, the rocks will help with drainage.  This is key to not killing your plants! 

This will help with drainage which is a key to growing a successful terrarium. 

Over the rocks place some old, dried moss. This layer keeps the soon to be added dirt from leaking down into the rocky area.  I also like the visual layer that it creates.  Then add a layer of activated charcoal.  Activated charcoal is the 'secret ingredient' that makes this project work.  It helps keep odors away.  
Moss over the rock bed.
Put a good layer of soil into the jar.  It should be deep enough so that your plant bases can be buried completely.  Start to work the plants into each jar, trimming off long pieces.  I really work them around a few times before settling on a layout in each jar.  It's kinda like my paintings....something I have to re-work them to get them they way I want them.  Make sure that the soil is packed down tightly around each plant.  In the image below, you can see my pot of spider babies that I harvested and highlighted on my blog post, The Happy Accident Hospital and Rescuing Babies. Don't forget to look around your own garden and fields around your house for interesting specimens to try.

Fern, Moss, spider plants.
This process is messy, so I am hoping you have set yourself up in a good location for clean up!

After getting the plants in their proper places,  add little accent stones, shells,sea glass, mancala beads, marbles.  Whatever you got laying around will look cute. I have seen people use little miniature people and animals in their decor.  Put your own twist on the project!

Water the plants down by spraying them with water. I prefer to spray them heavily instead of pouring water because I can add more.  It is difficult to get the water out, once you have put it in the terrarium.  Here are a few images of the terrariums that I completed this week.

I hope these simple instructions help inspire you to create your own terrariums.  I will be giving these as gift throughout the summer, so they will be resting here in the shade under my care until then.  I am also working on a few gift tag accents that I think are pretty darn sweet! Get planting.

-The End-


ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Lesley your terrariums look beautiful!! Love them! Martina

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

PS- you should share this at Debbie's newbie party:)

tofubeast said...

Beautiful!!! Like the added touch of the stones w/ messages!