{Post} Growing Goodness: A Terrarium DIY

Posted by Sooz on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 | 12 Comments

Our world is full of infinite beauty. Learning to draw Goodness from our natural surroundings is key in the fight to Save Goodness. In this fast-paced chaotic world, we must maximize every opportunity to garner the Good. When you improve the quality of the space where your heart lives, what we call your “nest”, then you improve your capacity for Goodness. As you take in Goodness and nurture your own heart, then you are better able to pass it on to others.

one of the best sources of goodness is nature

One of the best sources of Goodness is nature. There is so much beauty and inspiration to be found in the natural world. Unfortunately, we seldom slow down long enough to take it in. One of the fascinating things about nature is that, hidden in its grandeur are thousands of tiny microcosms – worlds within worlds. If you stop and look closely you will find miniature landscapes everywhere. Moss, leaves, lichen, and tree bark become a living scene on the forest floor; seaweed, drift wood, shells and sea glass make a stunning vignette on the craggy shore. Beauty is everywhere, layer upon layer of it.

What if you could feed your heart by bringing some of that beauty into your home? What if you could create miniature natural landscapes of your own?  You can, and we think you should. Creating terrariums is a great project to do on your own or with family and friends. Here are some of the benefits from a Goodness perspective:

  • Bring life and beauty into your home
  • Awaken your creative skills
  • Invest in something that will need you to show it a little love and attention (but not too much)
  • Have something you can watch grow and change
  • Create something living with the people you love and make a sweet memory

In this Goodness DIY we will walk you through the steps of how to create your own open terrarium. This project is perfect to do with kids and requires no “green thumb.” The only up-keep is misting your plants to keep them moist. Follow along with us and get inspire to Grow a little Goodness!

List of Items you will need:

  • A clear glass container with a mouth large enough to reach inside
  • Small plants of differing size/color such as moss, Swedish Ivy, cactus, mini African violets, Button fern (an odd number is best)
  • Fresh potting soil and small stones/pebbles or other foundation material
  • Spanish Moss – available at craft outlets
  • Chopsticks or other kitchen tools that will help you secure the plants in the soil
  • A spray bottle with water
  • Additional touches like a miniature gate, bridge, figurine or a favorite stone, shell, or other memento from nature

Hint: Old wrapping paper makes a great surface to work on. Use several layers to protect your table then throw it away when you are finished.

choosing a container

Step 1.  Choose a container.

A clear glass container is best so that you can see your creation and it can get sufficient light. Almost any kind of container will do – a canning jar, cookie jar, apothecary jar, or even a wine glass will work. Clean the container well and make sure it is dry so that the soil does not stick to the sides.





Create a beautiful foundation

Step 2. Create a beautiful foundation

A terrarium needs a good foundation of a small solid material so that drainage can occur. Pebbles, small shells, sea glass, and gravel all make good choices. Choose something that will compliment your plants and add to the beauty of the terrarium. Place at least one inch of foundation on the bottom of your container. If your jar is large you may wish to add more to give a greater visual impact.



Create a barrier with Spanish Moss

Step 3. Create a barrier with Spanish Moss

To keep the soil from draining down into your foundation, place a layer of Spanish moss on top of the foundation. It must be dense enough to trap the soil that will be above it and it should cover the entire surface. This step keeps your soil from ending up at the bottom of the terrarium. It also adds a layer of visual interest.




Spread the Soil

Step 4. Spread the Soil

Add a layer of soil at least 2 inches thick. Depth depends on the size of your container. Your potted plants will have some soil with them but it is advisable to add enough soil to give the roots sufficient room to grow. Spray the soil with water to add sufficient moisture for the roots. You will spray it again when your plants are in place.








Arrange your Landscape

Step 5. Arrange your Landscape

Hopefully you have been able to find plants that will fit well in your space. Moss is a wonderful filler and acts like grass in these tiny microcosms. It is often possible to separate plants to get a smaller sample. Look to see if the plant appears to have multiple shoots, if so, you can pull them apart and use a smaller portion. Note: If possible, water your plants very well the night before you plant them. The more refreshed and hydrated they are the better.




Add the Personal Touches

Step 6. Add the Personal Touches

Once you have your plants in place, add your special touches. A terrarium becomes a showcase for little things that you love or that strike your fancy. One of these terrariums was created for Meri Lee and she loves bike riding so we added a sweet little red bike and a bridge to “ride over.”


Love, Water, and Enjoy

Step 7. Love, Water, and Enjoy

Open terrariums are very easy to care for and are such a pleasure to watch grow. Simply place you terrarium in a well-lit area but avoid direct sun. Spray the interior with water to keep it moist. Many plants like ferns can be trimmed back if they become overgrown.  Enjoy your creation and when it lives out its life, simply start over with a new landscape in mind.







The terrariums in these pictures were created as Christmas gifts. They were an absolute delight to make, but the best part by far was doing the project with my husband and enjoying the creative process. Now it’s your turn to Grow some Goodness!

(all our plants and personal touches were purchased in Franklin, TN at Yarrow Acres)

Online Plant Resources:

www.mossacres.com  – moss for terrariums

www.miles2go.com – cactus and succulents

www.violetbarn.com – miniature & exotic terrarium plants

www.terrariumplantsonline.com – miniature, rare, and exotic terrarium plants

Wonderful Books on Crafting Terrariums:

The New Terrarium: Creating Beautiful Displays for Plants and Nature   by Tovah Martin

Terrarium Craft: Create 50 Magical, Miniature Worlds by Amy Bryant Aiello  – (a personal favorite)

For more Ideas See our Pinterest Board : Terrarium Goodness  via the link below

A "Good" Idea:
Grow Some Goodness! Make your own living landscape with our Terrarium DIY.


12 Responses

  1. Wonderful entry and reminds me of the beautiful winter dish gardens my Grandmother Verrill did every year.. couple for herself and many for friends, shut-ins and hospitial visits

    • Sooz says:

      Thank you so much for stopping in! I love this idea of dish gardens as gifts of encouragement. Your Grandmother Verrill was a woman of Goodness. I often see you comment on the impact she had in your life. This is the beauty of Goodness – it keeps on giving! You are a source of Goodness in my life James. Thanks for your support!

  2. traci bailey says:

    this reminded me of when i was a kid and would go “help” my dad cut firewood, i would wander off into one of the “hollers” on our property and inevitably end up with jacket pockets-full of sticks, moss, pretty leaves, ferns, fossil-rocks and the occasional salamander and would make shoe-box “gardens”. of course i would have to put the salamanders back where i found them! and glass containers are much better than shoe-boxes:)

    • Sooz says:

      A shoebox garden! I love that idea. Traci, I remember sitting in a tunnel of pine trees with you. The ground was a carpet of brown needles and it felt like we were in a church. I know the love of nature and the “hollers” is deep in your blood. Thank you for sharing that with us. Goodness!!

  3. Nadi Gray says:

    Okay I am not sure I could pull this off. I have six plants and they are of the variety that if I water them once a week, even I cannot kill them. I love the idea though and it looks like a fun way to make a gift with real meaning. I wish we made more gifts as they are trully the most special “keepers”. Love the new site and will become a founding member for sure. I will also promote your new site on our wall and invite you to come there often to tell our crowd about anything you post related to building One Family.

    Thanks partner,
    Scott Nadi Gray
    co-founder, imagine1.org

    • Sooz says:

      Nadi is the father/co-founder of a beautiful Goodness movement to help all of us remember the truth that we are One Family. He started this effort several years ago and has recently launched a new website and social networking surge to get people on board. If we change the way we think about the world, then we can change the world. Please take a moment to look him up @ http://www.imagine1.org

      thanks for your lifelong support Nadi(River)

  4. Melanie Hall says:

    So excited for this relaunch day to come! Love your products! Looking forward to what is to come. Let there be goodness spread throughout this world!

    • Sooz says:

      Thank you Melaine. I know you are doing your own Goodness work at your job. Thank you for being a supportive part of this effort!!

  5. Great idea for a family craft project. Not only can this be a great gift idea it can also make a great school project for the kids.

  6. Cindy says:

    Love the terrariums… I must make one soon. The new launch and site look great also …. great job! :D

  7. Angela Sadler says:

    I was sooo blessed to receive one of this terrariums and I absolutely LOVE it. I have to be honest and say that, I’m not so great at keeping it alive (working on that part), but my favorite part was the added personal touches. I love flowers and gardening, so they added gardening tools!! I look at those almost every day.. Also love the beauty of the rocks layered with the soil.. Great act of goodness!!

  8. Ben Christy says:

    Just wonderful! The steps were clear, the story terrific and the product fabulous…thanks for sharing.

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