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How to make a terrarium

Brighten up your office space with this easy project - how to make a terrarium!

How to make a terrarium 2 - detail

Terrariums are all the rage right now and are ideal for the home office – easy to make, easy to care for and easy to carry around should you wish to move them. They make great gifts for people who are less than green-fingered, as they really don’t need much looking after.

If you’re making your DIY terrariums to sell, it’s good to let buyers know how to care for them – succulents love bright light (but not too much heat) and require very little watering. Why not print some top tips for caring for your terrarium onto a tag and attach it to the terrarium to earn extra customer service points?

DIY terrariums make the perfect presents for men (Father’s day gift!), thank you gifts for teachers or oxygen boosters for office workers. The mini DIY terrariums are great for kids to learn how to look after plants, too. Why not get the whole family involved in making one?

How to make a terrarium 2

This project, how to make a terrarium, was designed by Pembrokeshire florist Marie Parie, of By The Sea. Bookmark her page, By The Sea Flowers, if you’re after beautiful wedding flowers, sympathy flowers or floral gifts – she runs floristry workshops, too!

If you’re making a closed terrarium, then use ferns and moss instead of succulents
Marie Parry

Inspired by these DIY terrariums to try your hand at some floristry? Start by getting the low-down on where to buy cheap floristry supplies in the UK, and if you want some tips on how to plant a terrarium, check out these helpful terrarium tips from Gardens Illustrated. And if you like this project, have a look at some of our other green-fingered tutorials – we love this spring wreath – or how about adding a homemade card with our free gardening-themed patterned papers?

We love seeing your projects, so don’t forget to share your DIY terrarium projects with us on Facebook and Twitter, too!

How to make a terrarium 1

To make a terrarium you will need:

  • Glass terrarium dome
  • Cacti and succulents
  • Potting compost
  • Activated charcoal
  • Gravel

How to make a terrarium

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Step 1

Cover the bottom of the glass dome with an inch thick layer of gravel, rocks or broken terracotta to create a drainage layer.

Step 2

Spread a thin layer of activated charcoal over the drainage layer – this helps keep the water fresh and stops bacteria and mould from building up.

Add a layer of potting compost on top that is deep enough for you to securely plant your plants into.

Step 3

Arrange the plants inside the terrarium, starting with the largest one first. Play around with their positioning until you are happy with the overall look. Arrangements look more balanced if you choose an odd number of plants, like one, three, five or seven.

Once you’re happy with how they look, then plant the succulents and cacti into the soil and give them a little water.

Step 4

Use a teaspoon with a long handle to add a layer of gravel over the top of the soil, for a neat look. Brush away any stray specs of soil or gravel that have fallen between the leaves with a makeup brush or a small paintbrush, to finish.

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How to make a terrarium 3

Buy terrarium supplies!

Inspired to make your own terrarium? There are lots of terrarium supplies you can buy – check out your local florist if you want to buy local, but here are our favourite terrarium supplies you can buy on the web:

1. Hanging terrarium planter

Hanging terrarium planter - Amazon

Buy now: £24.99, Amazon

This lovely planter is made from rust-resistant metal and has an approximate 15 x 15cm footprint – so it won’t take up too much room if you only have a small area. The planter’s large opening at the front makes access and reorganisation easy, and the gold finish is stylish and on-trend!

2. Hanging glass orbs (6 pack)

Hanging glass orbs, terrarium supplies, Amazon

Buy now: £16.98 £14.98, Amazon (pack of 6)

These are great value – you get six 10cm hanging planters in the box, making these terrariums ideal for weddings, garden parties or socially distanced outdoor events. Why not add a couple of battery-powered tealights among your terrariums? Also available in packs of four, as well as 12cm diameter terrariums.

3. Geometric terrarium

Geometric terrarium - Amazon

Buy now: £25.99, Amazon

This pentagon terrarium comes in gold, black or silver (pictured) – and is approximately 17.5cm wide, so a good size to be able to add several plants as well as a few decorations. It’s made of a sturdy copper frame with ultra-clear glass so will really show off your plants to their best!

4. Shaped hanging terrariums (3 pack)

Hanging glass terrariums, shaped - Amazon

Buy now: £18.99 £17.99, Amazon

These mini glass terrariums are around 10cm wide each and can all be hung up using the hemp cord provided. The teardrop and spherical shapes also have a flat bottom so can be stood up if preferred.

5. Large geometric terrarium

Large geometric terrarium - Amazon

Buy now: £39.96 £36.99, Amazon

This artistic terrarium is almost 30cm long and would look stunning on any table, patio or windowsill (anyone else getting Flight of the Navigator vibes?). We love it!

6. Hanging teardrop terrarium

Hanging teardrop terrarium - Amazon

Buy now: £18.88, Amazon

There’s something nautical about this terrarium! The strong rope allows this terrarium to be hung up with just a knot – but the glass is not as thick on this one as other terrariums, so we would advise lighter plants and materials to fill!

7. Mini lightbulb terrariums (3 pack)

Lightbulb terrariums - Amazon

Buy now: £15.76, Amazon

These mini terrariums measure 8 x 13.5cm, so are ideal for air plants and small succulents that don’t require a lot of maintenance. The funky lightbulb design is a great conversation starter and ideal for both modern and rustic decor.

8. Silver geometric terrarium

Silver geometric terrarium - Amazon

Buy now: £25.60, Amazon

If you can’t decide whether you would like to make a hanging terrarium, or one that can stand on a surface – then this dual-purpose terrarium is ideal. The ultra-clear glass and easy access, also makes this a great option for displaying tealights and other candles.

9. Terrarium kit

Terrarium kit - Best Seller on Amazon

Buy now: £18.97 £15.97, Amazon

This is a great little kit if you’re looking for a gift for someone – it includes everything for how to make a terrarium, you just need to add a glass container. Bonus points for this kit too, it’s often in the sale on Amazon!

10. Handmade geometric terrarium

Handmade geometric terrarium - Best seller on Amazon

Buy now: £26.80, Amazon

This handmade geometric terrarium is a best seller on Amazon, and it’s easy to see why! It’s made of ultra-clear sodium-calcium glass, set in a sturdy copper frame, and with large, easy access it’s sure to make a delightful addition to any room.

11. Mini geometric terrarium (3 pack)

Mini geometric terrarium - 3 pack, Amazon

Buy now: £22.99, Amazon

This set of three on-trend mini geometric terrariums are good value-for-money and are finished in gold effect. At approximately 10cm each in diameter, they would suit most office or home environments – ideal especially for air plants, cacti or artificial plants.

12. DIY terrarium set

Terrarium DIY set - Amazon

Buy now: £43.89, Amazon

This complete terrarium set includes a 5L glass belly bottle to create your own ecosystem! Choose smaller plants to get them through the bottleneck, where they will grow (and thrive) in the sealed bottle, recycling air, water and food. A fascinating science experiment, or a lovely addition to any home or office.

13. Terrarium essentials kit

Concrete & Co terrarium DIY kit - Amazon

Buy now: £13.97, Amazon

Once you’ve chosen your terrarium, you’re going to need materials to fill it. This DIY terrarium kit from Concrete Lab & Co has everything you need to get started – and if you buy it on Amazon, there are options to include cacti and succulents, too!

14. Terrarium book

Terrariums - Gardens under glass book by Maria Colletti - Amazon

Buy now: £14.43, Amazon

Want to learn more about terrariums? This book, Terrariums, Gardens Under Glass by Maria Colletti, contains 20 step-by-step tutorials for different designs of terrarium!


We hope you’ve enjoyed our how to make a terrarium guide. If you’re looking for more floristry projects, we have plenty here on Gathered! We love this DIY planter box, or why not read up on where to buy cheap floristry supplies in the UK?