Mason Jar Terrarium Tutorial

12.18.2011




*This post is one of Scissors and Steam's most popular ever! Help support the blog and visit my Etsy shop, Retro Academic, if you're into awesome clothes!*


My husband works in a bleak, windowless wasteland of cubicles and fluorescent lights. He got the bright idea to install a terrarium gro-light at his desk, so he can have a little jungle of plants and his very own bubble of non-circulated, forest-fresh oxygen.

Lately I've been pulling up bits of plants and sticking them in mason jars. Sometimes in soil, sometimes just in water. Some take root and some die... Kind of like my thoughts in general, actually. The man was ogling some creeping jenny that was lushly growing in a little jar by the window, so I thought I'd make him a little desktop garden.

You'll need:
  • A jar
  • Some little plants
  • Handful of dry moss
  • Handful of smallish rocks or glass marbles
  • Dirt, preferably cactus dirt
I started out with this one big jar, to create an enclosed environment. (I ended up not using the foxtail plant in the picture; it was too tall)
Take a handful of moss and layer it on the bottom of the jar. It should be fairly thick. The moss keeps water from just sitting on the bottom of the jar and turning brown and nasty.

Next Layer some rocks on top of the moss. Don't skip the rocks; since the jars have no drainage, they're there to drain water so that your plants don't rot.
Looking back I should have made a thicker layer of moss and rocks, so add more than this if you can. Next dump a bunch of dirt on top of the rocks. I used cactus dirt because the plants won't be watered as much as normal due to the lack of drainage.
Next plant your plants. It's best to use plants like succulents that don't require a lot of water, but I used some creeping jenny, a bit of spider plant, a maidenhair fern, and a cool fuzzy purple plant whose name I can't recall. Just poke your finger down in the dirt and stick the plants in.

 RAAAWWWWRRRR. Seriously, what guy wouldn't dig a T-Rex hiding out in the foliage? No guy. That's who.
The other three terrariums I threw together at the same time. These are so easy to make, and even easier to maintain. Don't overwater!!! Just spray them down with a mister, or sprinkle in some water when the dirt starts to get dry. Stick your finger in the dirt, and if you feel wet, don't water it yet. Unless the plants look sad. If they look like they need a hug and a pep-talk, give them a little. The water has nowhere to go, so give the plants just enough to survive. Deprive them for their own good. Keep them trimmed back, too.

If you make an enclosed bio-sphere environment (i.e., you put the lid on the jars) just open them up once a month or so and give them a misting. The humidity in the jar will be fine for their moisture, as long as you don't open it up too often.

Thanks for reading! If you liked the Mason Jar Terrarium Tutorial, please follow me! (c'mon do it. DO IT. peeeeeeer pressure. this is your brain on my blog. um, lol. btw I'm a freakin' weirdo.) I'm on Pinterest and Bloglovin' too. Scissors and Steam is still shiny and new so please share with your friends and help spread the word! I've got TONS more where this came from. :)

54 comments:

  1. I love these! They are just gorgeous. I will have to give them a try. Thank you. Here from Flamingo toes.

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  2. Thank you! The man loved them; he's taking them to work tomorrow. If you make some, link back in the comments; I'd love to see!

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  3. These are wonderful! I might even be able to take care of them...what a concept?? Haha! Plants I can't kill!!

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  4. Love this idea. My brother and I decided on homemade gifts this year and I am going to make him one of these. Thanks!

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  5. Jacquie, you can totally do this! They will LOVE you for forgetting to water them. ;) Try some kitchen herbs; then you can cook with them.

    Jen, that's great, I'm glad you're going to make one! I'd love to see a pic when you're done!

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  6. I love it!!! I can't wait to make my own. I'm your newest follower

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  7. Hi Karen, thanks so much! I'd love to see a pic if you make one :)

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  8. Visiting from Made by You Monday...

    These ARE beautiful. They are also a great project to do with the kids! I especially love the T-Rex. So will my 2 year old!

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  9. You are so clever. Love how these turned out. Thanks for linking up to my newbie party.

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  10. To everyone who shared this, thank you! And please note I changed the url & name for the blog! Yikes, I know...

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  11. These are so sweet! If only the UK had affordable mason jars.. I've only been able to find the flip top/clip on kind.. Oh well :)

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  12. Love the big square jar terrarium. But...if you close the jar, how will hubby get his oxygen fix? lol

    Thanks for linking to Time Travel Thursday.

    Liz @ The Brambleberry Cottage

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  13. @sydthewyd, Thanks! No inexpensive mason jars in the UK?? That's... strange! The flip top ones will work though, I'm pretty sure. Just don't seal them tight, or open them up once in awhile to circulate some air. That should work!

    @Liz, Thanks! You're right, he won't get his fix! I guess he'll just have to open it up, stick his face in it and take a deep breath, lol

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  14. these are so awesome! i think this looks like something my kids would love to do, too! great project to share with them! thanks!

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  15. Thanks Cassie! It's a GREAT project for kids. miniatures for models and dollhouses make perfect additions, little magical touches that kids really love. Although my husband pointed out to me today that everyone at his work LOVES the dinosaur! So I guess it's good for grownups too ;)

    Love your blog, I'm your newest follower :)

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  16. Cute, this is a cool idea. I love plants, but tend to forget about them and kill them :(

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  17. they all look amazing .. fabulous idea .. wishing you a magical xmas xo

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  18. These are great! Congrats on the new blog name and thanks for visiting The Traveling Spoon. I hope your husband enjoys his breakfast :)

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  19. @CacheyMama, these are perfect for you then! Seriously low maintenance, they will forgive you if you forget about them. Unless they're dead. Then that's pretty much it. ;)

    @Heather, thank you, you too!

    @Erica, thanks!

    @Rachel, oh he will. he hasn't gotten it yet, but he'll love it when he does. ;)

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  20. I love them in the containers you choose!

    --Katie
    www.blah2beautiful.blogspot.com
    Creatively Living

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  21. Thanks Katie! I like the containers too, mostly cause they're so simple, and they let the plants shine :)

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  22. I just love this idea! I just pinned it and will be featuring at this week's Taking A Timeout party. Will definitely be doing this with my boys! Hope to see you again at this week's party.

    Trish - Mom On Timeout
    http://www.MomOnTimeout.com

    p.s. I'm your newest follower!

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  23. Trish! Thank you!!!! That will be my very first feature! You totally made my night :)

    I'm glad you liked the tutorial, if you do make some with your boys, I'd love to see some pics. I am linked up to this weeks party :)

    Thanks again!

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  24. I LOVE this idea! It is the perfect idea for these bleak winter months. I would love for you to share it at my "Best of 2011" link party, along with any other posts you are most proud of from this year, at www.petalstopicots.com
    ~Kara :)

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  25. Thanks Kara! I shared it and my Granny Stripe post at your link party. Happy New Year! :)

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  26. Do they have to be closed or could I make them in big vases and such? I am not much of a plant person, but my living room really needs some greenery and I think that my kids would have a blast making them.

    Thanks for the ideas :)

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  27. great tutorial. I'm planning to try some terrariums in the new year. thanks!

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  28. Thanks everyone for the comments :)

    @Alisha, Anything will really work. The idea behind closing the jars is then a little humid environment is created that helps to reduce the amount of watering, a nice feature when you have no drainage. But open containers work fine, you just need to be more careful that they are getting the right amount of water.

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  29. My husband just made a bench for our back porch. It has a table built in between the two chairs. The table is screaming for this adorable set-up!!

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  30. Looooove these jars! They will make a big hit in the blogosphere! Would like to feature you and your jars in my blog post tomorrow! Is that OK with you? Just followed you, so I won't miss a thing of any new DIY you make! I'd more than happy to see you over at my place too.
    Love, Olga
    www.stardust-decorstyle.blogspot.com

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  31. Love this idea. I have been a terrarium lover since the 70's (they were popular back then), probably before most who read your blog were born.

    Hugs,
    Linda in GA

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  32. Well Jamie, I already featured your jars! Couldn't wait! Want to take a look? This is the link: http://stardust-decorstyle.blogspot.com/2012/01/diy-mason-jar-terrarium.html

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  33. Thanks everyone!!!

    @Olga, Yes, I see that! Thanks so much, that's really sweet. I'm glad you liked the tutorial! Feel free to borrow anytime, just let me know!

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  34. Wow, I'm so inspired to make my own little terrarium! Thanks for the easy to follow instructions. I feel like (maybe) I could actually pull this off.

    I'm totally following your shiny new blog! Come by and visit me sometime at 52mantels.com and follow back, if you feel so inclined :).

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  35. This is such a great idea! We are featuring this over at Sassy Babies. Feel free to stop by! Thanks!

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  36. Thank you so much for posting this idea. I love them, they're just beautiful. I posted your idea on Pinterest under my homeschooling ideas. :)

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  37. I have been wanting to do this with my kiddos forever - thanks for the inspiration!

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  38. I kill everything but I am so going to try this :) What a neat idea! I'm going to make one for home and one for work :)

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  39. They are lovely! They look so pretty1 Visiting from MBYM and I am pinning this! Happy New Year! Thanks for sharing! Angie xo

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  40. I love these! Great idea for the office too. The T-rex is awesome!

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  42. I've been seeing these a lot lately and now I really want one. Going to have to give it a try. Visiting from Making the world cuter. :)

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  43. Great idea and great instructions too. I love your gorgeous photography too!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha @ 5 Minutes Just for Me

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  44. Super cute! I want them all over my house!

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  45. i have been wanting to do a terrarium with my kiddos forever - thanks!!!

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  46. Love these - I've been wanting to do a terrarium for a long time, this looks easy enough even for me. Thanks for sharing...

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  47. I'm doing this next week. I'm also putting all my plant babies in their big boy/big girl (soil)beds. But I'm MEGA stoked about keeping these all over the house.
    LOVE YOU!!!!

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  48. Love Love this project. So Clever. I am a sucker for any type of project that involves any type of jar. lol. Found you via a link party and am now a new follower!

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  49. I've seen some terrariums online and wondered about making one - you make it sound easy. My thumbs aren't very green - do you think it would survive in an office without a grow light? Lots of artificial light days M-F, not much over the weekends since I'm not near a window...

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  50. So did you ever find out the name to that fuzzy purple plant? Nothing I google as "fuzzy purple plant" has turned up with any that look like it except this one! I'm also looking forward to making a little terrarium like this! Thank you!

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I'm not always great at replying to comments but I DO read every single one of them and I always reply in my head. So in my mind we've had this deep conversation about the meaning of life or whatever, and we're best friends, and we craft together on Sunday afternoons while drinking Mojitos and watching old Indiana Jones movies. So thank you for your comments. And now I want a mojito.

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