Whether you’re greening up your space or crafting a gift for a friend, a DIY terrarium is a great choice.
Did you know that you can even make a hanging DIY terrarium?
Believe it – DIY terrariums can be made out of almost anything. They’re easy to make too. As a result, you can have fun with it without spending loads of money.
Or, if you’re looking for something that requires a bit less effort, there are DIY terrarium kits available too. With these, all the supplies are sent to you – some assembly required.
So, in an effort to get you doing instead of reading, we’ll explain what a terrarium is, tell you why you need one, let you know what the benefits of DIY are compared to purchasing from a vendor, and then explain to you how to make a DIY terrarium yourself.
What is a terrarium?
So, you’ve seen videos of terrariums or your friends have one and now you think you want one too. You’re intrigued by how the terrarium is like it’s own little world – completely dependant on what you, the supreme overlord, do to sustain its life.
Obviously, you get the gist of what a terrarium is, but can you correctly define it?
A terrarium, by our definition, is a terrestrial micro-ecosystem that may or may not be sealed. It is also most suitable for tropical plants. Your definition was probably close, but it’s best to hammer out the correct one for science’s sake.
It’s also important to note that there are two kinds of terrariums – open and closed. In the case of the former, the terrarium is open to the environment, usually via an opening at the mouth of the housing or as a result of the housing including meshing.
When it comes to a closed version, it’s like you have to play Temple Terrarium on level extra hard. If you think about it, when you close off the terrarium to the outside world – including its air and other natural assistants – your creation must solve its own problems.
This means, that if the oxygen levels get out of wack, it’s the job of the organisms in the housing alone to self-regulate.
Why do I want a terrarium?
Are you somewhere post-pet rock but pre-puppy in your life?
If yes, then chances are you’re definitely in need of a terrarium.
While a terrarium does require some maintenance it does not require the attention needed by cat or dog. Think of it almost like having a fish tank without the tank being completely filled with water. The premises of care are still the same – keep chemical levels stable, maintain cleanliness, and simply attend to the world you’ve created.
But, instead of fish, you have plants and soil and stuff.
If you’re interested at all in plants or science, a terrarium can be a more entertaining choice than a fish tank. Not to mention a terrarium is going to be cheaper in the long run. Don’t worry though, you’re still going to have to utilize a lot of different scientific knowledge to keep your terrarium in prime health!
Benefits of choosing a DIY terrarium over purchasing a pre-made terrarium
So, why do we recommend completely DIY over a DIY terrarium kit?
Well, we just feel like the additional control afforded by making your own terrarium outweighs the time saved by buying a DIY terrarium kit. At the same time, we understand that your time is valuable and you may not be willing to spend the hours needed to plan out and create your own terrarium.
The choice of complete DIY or DIY kit, in the end, is your own. So, do your own research to figure out which method is best for your unique situation. We have the information you need regardless of which route you choose in a pro and con chart below.
|Pro DIY Terrarium||Con DIY Terrarium||Pro Terrarium Kit||Con Terrarium Kit|
|Most control possible in what's included||Terrarium is only as good as the construction||Terrarium comes with peace of mind as a result of being purchased||More expensive than the DIY terrarium route|
|Less expensive than a terrarium kit||Takes time to build||Can find some AWESOME stuff if you're willing to spend the money||No control in what is included|
|Can plan additions if considered from the outset||More likely to have issues||Terrarium kit includes everything (thus saving time)||No imagination or creativity necessary|
|Satisfaction of building a terrarium from scratch|
What you’ll need to make your own DIY terrarium
Chances are you can make an open DIY terrarium pretty easily from things you have laying around the house. After all, a sealed terrarium isn’t that tough to do.
For those of us that are a little more ambitious, the supplies below are a great starting point for a DIY sealed terrarium. If you have any questions about anything more in-depth, just let us know it in the comments section!
DIY Terrarium Housing –
Pretty much anything you can think of can be a DIY terrarium housing.
This list is exhaustive but nowhere near complete –
- orb necklaces
- shot glasses
- beer glasses
- coffee pots
- Christmas ornaments
- wine glasses
- hanging orbs
- recycled bottles (plastic and glass)
- glass-enclosed tables
And, the biggest pro of going the DIY terrarium route is the ability to control everything! Might as well choose an awesome housing, right?
Stones and/or Dirt –
How much does the ‘ground’ of your terrarium affect its overall health?
So, you’re going to want to choose carefully when deciding between stones, dirt, or a combination of the two. After all, this is how nutrients are going to travel in your little ecosystem.
Gardening tools –
KINGLAKE 12 Pcs Mini Garden Succulent Kit Transplanting Tools
- Plants – cacti, succulents, air plants
- Theme – beach, Christmas, rainforest, movies, books, bands
Best plants for your DIY terrarium
Now you’ve got everything you need to make your DIY terrarium and get it going, but need something else.
One of the best parts of making your own terrarium is getting to choose what goes inside. From plants to snails, you’re the boss! So, do some planning before you begin construction – you don’t want a snail that can’t coexist with your favorite plant.
Think about what kind of aesthetic you want your terrarium to have. Most importantly, think carefully about the science behind it all as you plan.
In case you aren’t a scientist, there are two easy rules to remember when choosing plants for your DIY terrarium.
- Choose plants that fit well within the vessel (i.e. they aren’t touching the glass)
- Select specimens that thrive in humid environments
As long as you adhere to these basic rules, the plants in your DIY terrarium should be happy as clams.
How to make your own DIY terrarium
- Drainage –
So, if your DIY terrarium has hopes of good health then you’ll have to have the proper drainage system. Fortunately, having the correct form of drainage is not all that difficult. It is the first step in creating your own terrarium.
The nifty image above clearly shows you what layers you should have in your terrarium. The breakdown is done by open and closed terrariums.
- Open Terrarium – pebbles, soil, charcoal, rocks
- Closed Terrarium – soil, charcoal, rocks
Top 5 DIY terrarium kits
Nautical Crush Trading Silk Air Plant Terrarium Kit (B06XHQQYXL)
Custom Terrarium Design Kit comes with:
- (1) Clear Glass Teardrop/Pear Shaped Terrarium (Height 7” – Bottom 4”) with 11″ Stand
- (2) Silk Artificial Air Plants- Plants range in size from 1″ to 2″
- Brown Sand;
- Sand – Natural
- (2) Natural Rocks
- (8) Small pcs Bark
- (1) Bunch Pink Flowers
- (1) Bunch White Flowers
- (1) Queen Anne’s Lace – White
- (2) Queen Anne’s Lace – Yellow
- (1) Bunny
- (1) Lime Green Moss
Everything included in this kit has passed inspection by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Bliss Garden’s Air Plant Terrarium Kit B00VVZITD8
- Air Plant ‘Ionantha’
- preserved Red and Orange Reindeer Moss
- 7″ Teardrop Glass
- White Mini Rocks 1
- Sea Fan
- Geode Crystal
- Plant Care Sheet and other Instructions
Soul Succulents Mollywood Hanging Vase Terrarium Kit