Written and Photographed By: Jamie Trubowitsch

Bring the garden to your tabletop and make your own beautiful terrarium in about 30 minutes. Small, open-air basins holding plants such as succulents, cacti, or moss are huge trends in home design right now. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing in any setting, but these botanical bunches are also incredibly easy to make and so low-maintenance to take care of (seriously, it would be pretty difficult for someone with the blackest of thumbs to kill one of these). You can buy a pre-made one, but making your own lets you really personalize it. Terrariums make great gifts, table centerpieces, desk decorations, and home décor. This project is a great way to channel your inner Martha Stewart—share the DIY fun and make these with your kids or invite some friends to and make a creative afternoon of it.

What You’ll Need: 

  • Clear glass container with an opening (jar, vase, bowl, etc.)
  • Small rocks/pebbles
  • Activated charcoal (sometimes called activated carbon)
  • Soil (suitable for the types of plants chosen)
  • Plants (succulents, small cacti, etc.)
  • Optional: decorations of your choice (moss, decorative stones, etc.)

What to Do: 

  1. Thoroughly wash and dry the container you have chosen.
  2. Fill the bottom (approximately one-eighth of the volume) with rocks or pebbles to help drain excess water.
  3. Add enough activated charcoal to completely cover the rocks. The charcoal will help keep your terrarium fresh by preventing bacteria, fungi, and odors.
  4. Fill the container one-fourth to one-third of the way full with soil, packing it down every couple of inches.
  5. Make some space for your plants by digging small wells with a trowel or your fingers.
  6. Take each plant out of its original pot and break off excess hard soil around the roots. If the roots are really long, you can trim them—they’ll grow back.
  7. Organize and plant your plants, adding more soil as necessary.
  8. Gently press the soil down around the base of each plant to keep them in place.
  9. Now decorate! Add a thin layer of moss, a few decorative stones, some signs marking the types of plants, etc.
  10. Care for your new garden creation by keeping it in a well-lit area and watering according to the types of plants you’ve selected.