15 DIY Terrariums in Clever Containers

Terrariums provide an easy, low-cost way to add style to your home.  By selecting a quirky container, plants, and fun little gems or small toys,  you can create a terrarium that reflects your style and personality.  They also make great gifts.  Check out the ideas below for inspiration.  You should be able to find at least one of these clever containers around your home just waiting for your DIY touch to repurpose it into something green, growing, and beautiful.  Terrariums are also an excellent way to bring the Hygge Lifestyle into your home.

15 DIY Terrariums in Clever Containers

A terrarium is typically defined as a sealed glass container that contains soil and plants, which can be opened for watering and plant care.  However, terrariums can also be open to the atmosphere.  Closed terrariums provide a perfect place for plants to grow because the clear walls allow light to enter the terrarium.  The sealed container combined with the heat creates a mini water cycle (evaporation and condensation).  This makes terrariums very low maintenance.

Quick tips to get you started.

  • Select your container.
  • Spread rocks or pebbles on the bottom of the container to protect the soil from excess water.  Target about 1-2″ of pebbles.  The Dollar Store is a great place to pick up a bag or twoof pebbles.
  • Cover the pebbles with about 1″ of activated charcoal.  This helps to clean the water as it flows through to prevent microbial growth and odors.
  • Add planting soil.  The amount will vary depending on the plants you select, but the goal is to adequately cover the plant roots.
  • I like to cover the dirt with moss for additional color and a more finished or polished look like you might find in a catalog or garden store terrarium.
  • Get creative and add some fun little items like shells, branches, small people, mini animals, or toy cars for additional character.
  • Water, close, and place out of direct light to prevent the plants from ‘cooking’.
  • Check in on the terrarium every week or so to remove dead leaves and ensure the water cycle is working.  If the soil feels dry, add a little more water.
  • Ferns and moss do really well in closed containers.  Ferns and succulents, like Hens and Chicks, do well in open containers.  For an open container, I recommend topping off the soil with a nice layer of sand for a finished look.  Moss can also grow well in an open container, but make sure you water frequently.

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15 Clever Terrariums

1.  Fishbowl

Fishbowls provide a great container for a terrarium.  The example below was found at Storm the Castle.   It has a great blend of plants and  moss was used to cover the soil.  The deer figurine provides a nice finishing touch.

fish bowl terrarium with moss and small deer

2.  Lantern

This terrarium from Itsy Bits and Pieces is a great way to add a splash of color to an entryway.  This makes for a really easy terrarium project because you can simply use potted plots.  Ensure you have something to capture the drainage water.  The bowl is simple and the rocks finish of the look.   World Market, IKEA, garage sales and antique stores are great places to find old lanterns for your project.

Antique Lantern with fern plant

3.  Spice jars

The Target Company Website has great instructions for preparing these spice jar terrariums in the Archer Farms spice jars.  So delicate.  These would make great favors for a brunch or luncheon.

Target spice jar terrariums

4.  Apple cider jug

I love this terrarium that uses an apple cider jug to retain the moisture.  A rustic cloche.  I would paint the cap like the spice jars above.  A great way to add an additional splash of color.  Be careful when cutting the glass.  Here are some glass bottle cutting tips.


5.  Picture Frames

Check out this great project from Hometalk.  Mark Montano made this terrarium using dollar store frames, but it’s pretty easy to find old frames at garage sales and flea markets.  Here the plants are clippings in small vases, but you could also use potted plots in bowls or saucers with preserved moss to fill in the spaces.

picture frame terrarium

6.  Wine Bottles

The fantastic wine bottle terrarium was featured at Black Swan Garden Designs.  The narrow neck makes this project tricky.  Long, narrow tweezers or forceps are a must.  What a great way to use the wine bottle from your special occasion.

Wine bottle terrarium diy

7.  Skull Vodka Bottle

Check out this cool skull terrarium featured at Goth Gardening   Super spooky.  This would make a great Halloween centerpiece.  I would even consider just using dead branches, cobwebs, and plastic spiders to go with the occasion.  Skull bottles can often be found at craft stores around Halloween and there is a brand of vodka available in skull bottle.  Have some cocktails and make a terrarium!

DIY Skull Terrarium

8.  Cake Stands

This terrarium can be found on Better Housekeeper.  It includes train set figures that can be purchased at hobby supply stores.


moss terrarium in a cake stand with lid

9.  Light Bulb

I love what Storm the Castle did with an old light bulb.  This one is placed on a rubber ring, but you can also hang these clever terrariums.  What a great gift idea.

light bulb terrarium

light bulb terrarium

10. Coffee pot,  French Press, Tea Pot

This cute coffee pot terrarium can be found at A Charming Project.  What a great way to up-cycle an old coffee pot after the appliance has to be retired.  We are pretty heavy coffee drinkers in our home, so we typically have to get a new coffee maker every 2-years.  I’m in business!  I bet you can probably pick these up at the flea market or thrift store.

Coffee Pot Terrarium

11.  Beaker or Flask

I am a scientist, so these terrariums are a ‘must do’ DIY project for me.  I think they would make fabulous gifts for my research colleagues.  Old laboratory glassware can be found at science surplus stores.  Erlenmeyer flasks can also be purchased on Amazon.  These examples were found on Handmade Base.

terrarium in a laboratory flask

12.  Shoe

Even a shoe can make an excellent place to grow plants.  Grab a pair of shoes or boots.  I love the idea of heels spray painted in a fun, bold color if you can’t find exactly what you are looking for.

succulent plants in a pink high heel shoe

13.  Soup Ladles

What a clever idea.  I bet old ladles can be found at flea markets and thrift stores.  A simple tension Curtain rod between cabinets over a kitchen and viola!

Plants in soup ladles hanging from rod

14.  Toy truck

Here’s a great idea for putting old toys to new use.  If you don’t have your own, check out an antique store.  These cute truck terrariums were found at Empress of dirt.

A terrarium in an old toy truck

15.  Even the kitchen sink

This is a great terrarium idea from Green Garden Blog.  I love the dishes and the flowers look like dish soap bubbles.  We recently renovated a bathroom, so now I have a great way to recycle the old sink.  Sometimes people drag old sinks to the curb for garbage day.  Keep yours eyes open.

Terrarium in an old porcelain kitchen sink with plants and old plates

Do you have a great terrarium idea you can share?  Have you used an interesting container that didn’t make it on the list.  I think I need to prepare a terrarium in a science flask to add a little nature to my dull office.

DIY Terrarium in a bowl

Image courtesy of VisualHunt.com

DIY Terrariums plants laboratory erlenmeyer flasks

Photo Credit: Visual Hunt.com (Move The Clouds)


  1. I love all your different options!

    • Provenance2016

      February 11, 2018 at 11:38 pm

      Thanks Jen. I love the idea of reusing things I might normally throw in the recycling bin. Fun to make little gifts to brighten someone’s day. I appreciate your feedback. Laura

  2. Such a great assortment! Think the coffee pot is my fave. Visiting from Wonderful Wednesday party.

    • Provenance2016

      February 15, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      Thank you Victoria. I had a lot of fun scouring the internet for fun ideas. See you at the Wonderful Wednesday Party. Thanks for visiting Provenance Preservation. Laura

  3. Great links, and I love your advice on which materials to use to create the terrarium. Thanks!

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