Learn how to create your own DIY terrarium in this step-by-step guide. From choosing the right container to selecting suitable plants and providing proper care, this article covers everything you need to know. Bring the beauty of nature into your home with a unique and creative terrarium project.


Are you looking for a unique and creative DIY project? One that brings the beauty of nature into your home? Look no further than creating your own DIY terrarium. Terrariums are miniature ecosystems enclosed in glass containers, giving you the opportunity to create a lush and vibrant world within a small space. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced DIY enthusiast, building a terrarium is an enjoyable and rewarding project that allows you to express your creativity while bringing a touch of greenery to your living space.

In this article, we will provide you with step-by-step instructions and tips for creating your own DIY terrarium. We’ll explore the materials needed, the process of building a terrarium, suitable plants for different terrarium types, and care tips to ensure your terrarium thrives. So let’s dive in and discover the world of DIY terrariums.

Materials Needed

Before we begin, let’s gather the materials needed to create a DIY terrarium. Here’s a list of essential supplies:

  1. Glass container: Choose a glass container with a wide opening that allows for easy access and a clear view of your terrarium. You can use a repurposed jar, a fish tank, or purchase a purpose-built terrarium container.

  2. Drainage layer: Create a drainage layer at the bottom of your terrarium using gravel, pebbles, or porous materials. This layer helps prevent waterlogging and promotes healthy root growth.

  3. Substrate/soil: Select a suitable substrate that drains well, retains moisture, and provides nutrients for your plants. Use a potting mix specifically formulated for terrariums or create a custom mix by combining materials like peat moss, sand, and perlite.

  4. Activated charcoal: While not essential, activated charcoal can help keep your terrarium fresh by filtering the air and reducing odors.

  5. Plants: Choose plants that will thrive in the environment you create. Options include tropical plants that love high humidity and temperature, ferns, foliage plants, vines, moss, and air plants. Select plants based on their compatibility with the container size, lighting conditions, and personal preferences.

  6. Decorative elements: Enhance the visual appeal of your terrarium by adding hardscape elements such as rocks, driftwood, or small figurines. These elements can create interesting landscapes and add a personal touch to your terrarium.

  7. Spray bottle: Use a spray bottle to water your terrarium, providing a light mist that dampens the soil without saturating it.

  8. Terrarium tools: Gather basic tools such as a long spoon or fork for planting and arranging, long tweezers for delicate positioning, small gardening scissors for pruning, and a brush for maintenance.

Now that we have our materials ready, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of creating a DIY terrarium.

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a DIY Terrarium

Step 1: Choose a suitable container

Start by selecting a suitable glass container for your terrarium. Consider the size, shape, and style of the container to match your desired aesthetic. Ensure that the container has a wide opening for easy access and enough space for the plants to grow.

Step 2: Prepare the container

Thoroughly clean the glass container before starting. Wash it with mild soap and warm water to remove any dust or residues. Dry it completely to avoid moisture buildup inside the terrarium.

Step 3: Create the drainage layer

Add a layer of gravel, pebbles, or porous materials at the bottom of the container to create a drainage system. This layer helps prevent water from sitting at the bottom and promotes healthy root growth.

Step 4: Add activated charcoal

Sprinkle a thin layer of activated charcoal on top of the drainage layer. This will help filter the air within the terrarium, keeping it fresh and reducing the risk of bacterial or mold growth.

Step 5: Add the substrate/soil

Pour the potting mix or custom substrate mix into the container, leaving enough space for the plants to be planted. The substrate should be deep enough to support root growth while providing proper drainage and moisture retention.

Step 6: Plant selection and arrangement

Start planting from the tallest or largest plant to the smallest, creating visual levels within your terrarium. Use the long spoon or fork to create holes in the soil and carefully place the plant roots into the holes. Arrange the plants based on their compatibility and aesthetic appeal.

Step 7: Add decorative elements

Enhance the visual appeal of your terrarium by adding hardscape elements such as rocks, stones, or pieces of driftwood. These elements can create natural-looking landscapes within the terrarium.

Step 8: Moss layer (optional)

Consider adding a layer of moss on top of the soil to enhance the natural look of your terrarium. Moss can prevent soil movement and add aesthetic appeal to the overall design.

Step 9: Light watering

Give your terrarium a light watering using a spray bottle. Dampen the soil without saturating it to avoid waterlogging. Use the mist setting on your spray bottle for an even distribution of water.

Step 10: Seal or cover the container

Depending on the type of terrarium you’re creating, you can either seal the container with a lid or cover the opening with Saran Wrap. Closed terrariums create a high humidity environment and require less frequent watering, while open terrariums allow for better airflow and require more regular watering.

Step 11: Provide adequate light

Place your terrarium in a location with bright indirect sunlight. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight as it can heat up the container and harm the plants. Monitor the light conditions in your home and adjust the terrarium’s position accordingly.

Step 12: Terrarium care and maintenance

To ensure the health and longevity of your terrarium, follow these care and maintenance guidelines:

  • Keep the terrarium in a spot that receives bright indirect sunlight.
  • Water the terrarium appropriately to maintain even moisture. Be cautious not to overwater, as terrariums require minimal watering.
  • Deal with mold issues if they arise. If you notice mold, remove the affected plants and spray the terrarium with a mixture of 1-part hydrogen peroxide and 3-parts water to control the mold growth.
  • Consider introducing beneficial microfauna such as springtails to help control mold and decompose organic matter.
  • Follow specific care guidelines for the particular plants in your terrarium. Research their light and water requirements to ensure optimal health.
  • Trim plants as necessary to maintain the desired shape and prevent overcrowding.


Building your own DIY terrarium is a fulfilling and creative endeavor. By following the step-by-step guide we provided, you can create a beautiful miniature ecosystem that brings the natural world into your living space. From choosing the right container and materials to selecting suitable plants and providing proper care, each step contributes to the success of your terrarium project. Remember to pay attention to lighting, watering, and maintenance to ensure the health and longevity of your terrarium.

So why not embark on a DIY terrarium adventure? Let your creativity flourish, and watch as your terrarium thrives, bringing a touch of nature into your home.


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