As satisfying as a well-written recipe, a smart and thoughtful DIY is our kind of lunch break reading. Bonus points if it’s an easy project AND teaches us how to make something beautiful.
The first rule of making a terrarium is that you don’t talk about making a terrarium — you just go buy one. But who likes following rules? If you’ve got a spare half hour, enjoy saving cash, and like the idea of customizing your own, consider building a terrarium from scratch.
What You’ll Need:
A glass container (we used a Cylinder Vase 8×8″)
Pumice, 1 part for every 4 parts soil
A wooden spoon
A wine cork
A stiff paintbrush
Succulents and cacti of your choosing
Sand, moss, and larger pebbles (optional), for decorating
How to Build Your Terrarium:
1. Pick your plants: If you want your terrarium to survive in addition to looking nice, choose plants that grow in similar native conditions. Since the weather in California is abominably dry, I decided to work with succulents and a rogue cacti, since they don’t need much moisture to thrive.
2. Choose your container: Select any glass vessel that has a large enough top opening to stick your hand through ; it doesn’t need a hole for drainage on the bottom. We recommend our cylinder glass vases or our terrarium glass vases. They can be both purchased on our WGV International’s Webstore.
3. Blend your soil: The ratio of soil to pumice (the crumbly white pebbles of volcanic stone you’ve seen in your mom’s pansy planters) determines how much moisture your plants will retain, so measure accordingly. Succulents do well on a blend of 1 part pumice to 4 parts soil, and cactus like to be even drier: use 1 to 1 or 1 to 2, pumice to soil. Tropical plants, like ferns, do fine on straight potting soil. Measure enough dirt to cover the roots of all your plants, adding more if you want a thicker layer, and mix with pumice if using. (For a large container like this one, I used about 10 cups total.)
4. Layer the base: Start off with a half-inch of pebbles, followed by a half-inch of activated charcoal (which will get all over your hands and your face, but will not harm you). The first layer is where moisture will accumulate, since there’s no room for drainage; the pebbles serve as insurance against overwatering. The charcoal acts like an antimicrobial to help keep your plants from rotting. It’s also porous and absorbs excess moisture.
5. Envision and shape the terrain: Before adding the soil, decide how you want your arrangement to look. Will the environment be even across, or sloped with peaks and valleys? Which plants will go in the middle, and around the edges? How many will fit? Add a few inches or more of soil and shape it to create an interesting terrain for your plants.
6. Loosen the roots, and landscape: When you take your plants out of their containers, gently loosen the soil from the roots and tease them apart, which prepares the plants to change environments and get settled in a new home. Then, arrange the plants according to your plan (or, completely diverging from it as I did), and top with more soil to cover the roots.
7. Get rid of air bubbles and clean up. Stab the end of a wine cork with a chop stick to create a makeshift soil tamper, and use it to tap out any air pockets that are lingering below the surface. Then, use your paintbrush to clean off any soil that’s crept up on the sides of the glass via magic and/or static electricity, and also to dust dirt off your succulents.
8. Accessorize: Avoiding any synthetic decorations (which might contaminate the soil when watered), decorate your landscape with pebbles, moss, and sand. I gave my cacti corner a little sandy surface to remind him of home.
9. Care: Though many people will suggest feeding your terrarium just an ice cube per week, a better strategy is to look at the plants and let them tell you when they need water. A succulent will pucker at the base of the leaves when it needs water, and will get mushy (a sign of rotting) when over-watered. Wait for signs of thirst before watering (since they don’t require much) and then add just enough to get the soil wet — you don’t want there to be a pool accumulating on the bottom. In fall and winter, water succulents and cacti once a month or once every 2 months (and every 1 to 2 weeks in the spring and summer).
To help make your next gathering as festive as possible we have gathered some of our favorite decorating ideas that are not only easy to do, but also help bring the beauty of the season indoors.
Click on any of the images to go directly to our online store for a recommendation of an item or items that would work great with any of these decorating ideas!
Wrap glass votive holders in textural flair for an easy candle accent. Tie raffia around three or four overlapping moistened corn husks trimmed to fit. The finishing touch of a spotted guinea fowl feather (available at crafts stores) adds a flourish.
Place these beautiful votives on your Thanksgiving dining table, mantel or coffee table. Just gather unshelled nuts and layer in a glass vase around a small candle. Save a few nuts to scatter near your display.
Make a pretty centerpiece or mantel decoration by layering seasonal materials in clear glass cylinder vases. We started with corn kernels, then added burgundy cockscomb celosia, orange bittersweet, pale green dried hops and brown oak leaves. Top off with a rust-color pillar candle. Change candles if the flame gets close to the dried material, or use a battery-powered candle for safety.
Footed glass containers show off ribbons, beans and nuts in fall hues. A copper tray adds shiny sophistication and makes the arrangement portable as well.
Add Thanksgiving flavor to a tabletop or mantel with cylinder vases filled with nuts and flowers. Roll coordinating scrapbook paper into decorative cuffs that slip inside the vase. Vary the look by substituting wheat, branches or snips of any pretty leafy plant for the flowers.
This super-easy centerpiece showcases the rustic, natural texture of wine corks inside a footed clear-glass candleholder. For more fall color, add leaves or berries among the corks. Make sure any flammable materials are protected from the candle, or use a battery-powered candle for safety.
Bring autumn to your table or mantel by showing off gourds in cylindrical vases. Use containers of different sizes, and stack varying numbers of gourds. Add a pretty curving touch with a length of fresh pumpkin vine or another fresh or artificial vine.
With only a week or so left until Halloween, we thought we’d dig up another ghoulishly good DIY decorating idea to help make your holiday spooktacular!
From Martha Stewart
We found this amazing terrarium inspired dessert that is not only delicious and stunning to look at, but it is extremely kid friendly and would make a great weekend family cooking project.
If this sweet treat doesn’t satisfy your creative needs, you can always try your hand at making a real terrarium!
Original recipe and cooking video can be found courtesy of TasteMade.com
Taste Made - Chocolate Pudding Terrarium!
If you’re not new in the craft world, then you’re probably aware of the fact that actually the most popular DIY projects are those that are made from materials you have used in the past. There is really something special in those moments when you’re transforming some used glass vases into whole new things, which will be perfect decor for your home. Glass vases are so versatile that you can use them for many other things besides for just flowers. It’s time to express your creativity and make some of these great ideas that you can gift or keep for yourself.
Turn your vase into a terrarium. Fill the container about a third of the way with sand. Choose succulents from your local nursery or garden store. Succulents need very little water to survive, so they make great plants for those who don’t have a green thumb.
Coins just make your purse heavier to carry around. Create a home base for these loose coins and use the vase as a modern day piggy bank. If you have a lot of pennies, use the vaseful as a copper-colored decoration. It works great with an old-world look or muted color scheme. Check out this antique-feeling piece.
Marbles? Billiard balls? Seashells? Wine corks? Whatever your collect, put it in a vase. The vase acts as both a container and a pretty way to display, making your collection into a work of art.
Everyone loves to receive flowers.
Just follow these tried and true steps that take the mystery out of making beautiful, professional-looking floral creations.
Things you will need:
- Cylinder Glass Vase from WGV International
For this tutorial we used a 5×8″ cylinder glass vase.
- Lemon-lime soda
- Sharp floral shears
- Large Leaves
- Water (optional: filtered)
The magic of perfect floral arranging happens before flowers even go into the vase. Start by selecting the right amount of flowers. The trick is to look at the opening of your vase, and then purchase enough blooms to make up four times the surface area of that opening. Many people also are uncertain about how to mix and match colors. The simplest solution is to go monochromatic. Just select three to five flower types in the same color family. Another solution is to choose about two pastel colors.
The ideal water environment for cut flowers has some acid to help move water up the stems, sugar to feed the flowers, and an antibacterial agent. Lemon-lime soda contains both the acid and sugar, while household bleach is a good bacteria killer. Fill a clean vase about three quarters of the way with one part lemon-lime soda and three parts water, and add one teaspoon of bleach per quart of water.
You will notice that most florist-created arrangements do not show the flower stems. Opaque ceramic vases hide the stems, but glass vases do not. Therefore, lining a glass vase with leaves gives the arrangement a professional touch. Use large flat leaves like aspidistra, the common house plant seen in the example. The water in the vase amplifies the leaves like a magnifying glass for a beautiful effect.
To help all the flowers stay in position, create a grid of tape on top of the vase. Pictured in the photo is green floral tape, but regular household tape will also work. The tape that is visible at the rim will be covered later with flowers.
Now, let’s prepare the flowers. Remove any foliage from the stems that will be in the water. Any leaves left on the stems will get soggy and form bacteria.
Using sharp floral shears, cut the stems at a diagonal so there is more surface area for water to travel up the stems. Do not use household scissors, which will crush the stems. (Floral shears are available in most crafts stores.) It’s best to cut the stems under running water or a basin of water to prevent air from going into the stems, as the air will block water absorption.
The actual positioning of the flowers in the vase is what intimidates most beginners, but there is a simple trick that removes a lot of the guesswork. The secret to a professional-looking arrangement is to group the same type of flower together, rather than mixing them up. Assign certain sections on the tape grid for each flower type, and place the flowers within those sections.
Work from one side of the vase to the other, filling in sections of the tape grid as you go. The flowers that are around the perimeter of the vase should be cut shorter to cover the rim, while the middle flowers should be taller. This creates a dome shape in which the stems are not visible.
If you have more aspidistra leaves, fold them in half and staple them to create loops. Then place these curled leaves in the last section of the vase. These leaves grouped together resemble a bow.
The final touch to a professional arrangement is a unifying element that ties it all together – while filling in any empty spaces. In this example, hypericum berries in the same color family punctuate the arrangement in various spots. Even though the flowers have been separated by type, the berries blur the boundaries for a gorgeous, cohesive arrangement. Now you’ve got a beautiful arrangement that looks like it came straight from the florist!
This is a simple yet elegant do it yourself project that everyone can do! Succulents in our geometric terrarium is a wonderful modern accent for your home. These are really a great indoor planting option for those to want to add a touch of nature. You can add this to your coffee table or give it as a very unique gift.
These nursery tiny worlds can be vibrant and bold, whimsical, or simply natural and unpretentious. Regardless of how and what you use in your terrarium, one thing is for sure…these beautiful mini-gardens are the perfect way to bring the outdoors into your unique space.
Step 1 - Collect Supplies
-Variety Succulents: 2″, 4″
-Moss, pebbles and stones for decoration
Put in layer of 1″-2″ of gravel to create a drainage system for your terrarium. This will ensure that your plants live longer.
Put a layer of 2-4″ of succulent potting soil, to create a base for planting.
Take your selected succulents out of their containers, loosening the surrounding soil from the pot.
Remove any dead/brown leaves before planting.
Burrow a small divot in base layer to place in your succulent, compacting with dirt to secure it into place.
You may split apart succulents with multiple stems that are not connected by one root.
When planting is complete, even out the top layer of soil so it is all the same and all plants are secure.
Add in your top dressings such as mood moss, pebbles, stones, sand or crushed glass.
Mix different textures and colors to give it your own unique look.
Note: Place your terrarium in a spot that will get bright indirect light or sunlight.
Water using a spray bottle with filtered water once every week/week and a half.
At recent weddings I have attended, I have noticed very similar centerpiece in all of them. Those inspirational centerpieces were three cylinder vases with flowers submerged under water. It was a tad modern but the cherry blossoms in the shot made it feel sweet and perfect for a wedding. I thought it would be fun to recreate this submerged flower centerpiece because the whole put it under water thing means that you don’t need any actual skill to pull this off! Try it for your next party or just as a fun way to pretty up your coffee table!
All you need is:
- Cylinder Glass Vase 5″x 8″ - Buy Here
- Cylinder Glass Vase 5″x 10″ - Buy Here
- Cylinder Glass Vase 5″x 12″ - Buy Here
- Any Flower of your choice, I prefer orchids and tulips.
Photos from The Chic Site
Enamel painted vases – I’m in love! If you like to paint, I have a really fun project to share today! I’ve always loved the fresh, modern design and the eye-catching green and white enamel painted vases that are displayed on white.
Three different sized vases from WGV International
Dishwasher safe PermEnamel paint in Mediterranean Blue and White (or whatever color you prefer)
PermEnamel Surface Conditioner from Michaels Arts and Crafts store, paper towels, paint brush and a mixing bowl.
1. Clean the vases with hot, soapy water.
2. When they are completely dry, pour some surface conditioner in and cover the inside of the vase. Pour out the excess and let the vase dry.
3. Get the exact color you envision by mixing your PermEnamel paints in a mixing bowl, then pour inside the vase.
4. Paint the inside of the glass using the paint brush to cover the inside surface.
5. Once the vase is painted, lay it on a paper towel to let the thick paint drip off. You will be amazed at how much comes out! The longer it’s upside down, the thinner the coating will be. I liked the thicker look so I only kept it upside down only for a few minutes.
6. Turn the vase back over and touch up the drips inside. Every fifteen minutes you can even out the thickness on the bottom of the vase as the paint will start to collect.
7. Let these dry over night and in the morning you should have a beautiful decor vase!
Remember these beautiful enamel-painted vases are only for DECOR. Don’t drink out of them! You can put water in them, but it may damage the finish eventually. I’m simply sitting them on the shelf, like the photos to the right ; )