I’ve been wanting to make my own terrarium for quite some time now. I’ve never been particularly gifted in the flora department, but have always enjoyed having the plant family I’ve managed to keep alive around. This weekend, my grandma and I decided to try our green thumbs at making a couple terrariums. We ended up making four and have enough supplies left to make more! The hardest part was choosing which plants to use. Otherwise, it was a very simple process. As you’ll see, they turned out pretty well!

If you’re interested in creating your own terrarium, see below for the steps that I followed, with photos.


  • Container of choice, typically glass bowl or vase
  • Small rocks or pebbles
  • Activated charcoal
  • Potting soil
  • 2 or 3 small plants
  • Tiny decorations (figurines, stones, marbles, etc.)

Step One

Now that you have all of your materials assembled, set out the container(s) you’ve chosen to use. Since I was working inside, I put some paper down to catch the dirt that I inevitably spilled.

Step Two

Put a layer of small stones in the bottom of your container. This space is for the water to drain into since your container does not have drainage. The layer should measure about 1 to 2 inches. Be careful not to make this layer too thick as the space can get used up quickly in smaller containers and you’ll need plenty of room for the soil and your plants.

Step Three

Sprinkle a thin layer of activated charcoal in next so it just covers the small stones. This layer helps to keep the standing water from getting scuzzy. It’s important for the health of your plants as well.

Step Four

Using a spoon, add enough potting soil on top of the charcoal to place your plants in. This layer should be close to 3 inches or more, depending on the size and shape of your container and the plants that you chose.

Step Five

Take your plants out of their plastic cups and dust as much extra soil from the roots as you can. Using a spoon or your hands, create a well in the soil large enough for the roots to be covered and then set the plant in place. Be sure to pack the soil in around your plant so it has a steady foundation. Repeat with the other plants.

Step Six

You’re almost done! Your terrarium should be looking rather fabulous by now. Use whatever decorations you like to make your little world even more adorable. I used tiny figurines to embellish my own terrarium. You might make a little fairy garden. Or, perhaps, use some stones to create a path through your plants. Dust off that imagination and put it to work.

Caring for a Terrarium

I’m no expert, so it’s best to ask the staff at the greenhouse you visit or consult the tag that accompanies your plants to find out about their recommended care. Make sure the plants thrive in the type of light where you plan to keep your terrarium. Additionally, make sure the plants that you use are all compatible and need the same conditions.

Succulents are super cute and are the perfect vibe for creating a tiny landscape, but I was told that they are not necessarily ideal for a terrarium. If you’re relatively new to them or have had trouble with them in the past, it might be best to start with something easier to care for. Otherwise, do some research ahead of time on how best to care for succulents in a terrarium if you’re set on including them.

Have fun!



Have you made your own terrarium? Let me know how it turned out. Share your own tips or a photo below!

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2 thoughts on “How to Create a Terrarium”

  1. Hi Anna. All of your terrariums turned out so well and I love the tall narrow one you gave to me! What a great winter gardening project for those of us that miss digging in dirt. I’d like to made a hanging one for my kitchen window. It would be fun to invite a little fairy or gnome to take up residence like you suggested so I’m going to be on the lookout for one of them. Thanks for sharing the DIY. Love, Mom

    1. Glad you’re enjoying it. I have seen many hanging containers available. Depending on the shape, you might even be able to make your own using twine or something. Great ideas!

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