How to make Terrarium Ornaments DIY

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I really LOVE homemade terrariums and have a lovely DIY Terrarium post for you to explore here. So when I saw this fantastic closed terrarium ornament by Nikki Doherty, I simply HAD to share it with you! Luckily Nikki agreed..

So what is a terrarium?

Terrariums are basically mini gardens that are meant to be self contained. There tend to be two types – the open terrariums and the closed terrariums. I actually think the closed terrariums are far more exciting – as the become mini self sufficient eco systems. Whilst the open terrariums, need a little more care (including trimming of plants, so they don’t outgrow their space)!

This means, it is also very important to choose the right “materials” and plants for your terrarium, especially a closed terrarium. But more that in a moment.

Over to Nikki and her fantastic Terrarium Ornament!

Supplies needed to make a Terrarium Ornament:

  • ORNAMENT: One large plastic ornament, Nikki’s is a plastic one apporx 4-5 inch in diameter from Michaels
  • SOIL: Gritty mix of soil
  • PLANTS: Dried sphagnum moss
  • PLANTS: Plants that can cope with 80-90% humidity – Nikki used flame moss & a single frond of tiger Boston fern
  • Tweezers/ long tweezers or similar, so you can poke the plants into the right spot
  • A little water every 6 months
  • LIGHT: A shelf light

These balls are very humid so I wouldn’t suggest using any plants that can’t tolerate wet feet. Also, these are both fairly low light plants so they’re just under puck lights in my bookshelf.

NOTE: Not fully air tight – it only has the metal ornament top. It is a tight fit but not air tight. The opening being so narrow is what keeps the humidity high.

How to make a Terrarium Ornament:

I put a gritty mix of soil and dried sphagnum moss in the bottom.

Then started with a small clump of flame moss and small fern frond with little roots. It looked very bare at first but if you put a lot in you’ll have overcrowding.

I only water it every 6 months to fertilize.

It lives under a puck light in my bookshelf year round.

That is it! You are done!

Terrarium Ornament after 1 month & 2 years

The bauble on the right is after 1 month and it is just starting to really root. So it does look a little bare. Keep in mind this is 2 years later when it’s reached stability. I originally only placed flame moss and a single frond of Boston fern into this ornament. It’s now taken over the ball and I only water it once every 6 months to fertilize.

These are both fairly low light plants so they’re just under puck lights in my bookshelf. It’s fire moss and a tiger Boston, with some gritty mix and sphagnum in the bottom.

these are both fairly low light plants so they’re just under puck lights in my bookshelf. It’s fire moss and a tiger Boston, with some gritty mix and sphagnum in the bottom.

Will they outgrow the space?

I don’t believe so. So far the ferns continuously grow around the sphere and as they die, they just become substrate. I haven’t had any issues with mold.

What are the best plants?

The trick to these is plant selection. It needs to be plants that can tolerate upwards if 80-90% humidity.

And that is it!

Here are some other lovely terrarium ideas for you:

Kelsey Pearman also shared their bauble terrarium. And you can find info about the adorable Christams Tree Stand on her Niche Terrarium Facebook page!

Kelsey used:

  • Fittonia cutting,
  • Pilea ‘aquamarine’ and
  • Pilea ‘Baby Tears’.

Small house terrarium ornament by Syliva Jackson is another fun way to decorate your terrarium. Just be mindful, that eventually the plants will grow and “take over” the mini eco system, the way Nikki’s has and you may not be able to see these little decorations all the time.

I hope you have been inspired! These mini terrariums can be started ANY time of the year. Don’t wait for Christmas… they are so so so cute!

More info on selecting plants for an open terrarium here – there is a big difference between the humidity needs of an open terrarium and closed terrarium plant!

Check out more fantastic ideas for how to fill glass ornament balls:

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