Creating a Unique DIY Terrarium Using Recycled Materials

How to create a unique DIY terrarium using recycled materials


Terrariums are captivating miniature ecosystems that bring a touch of nature into our homes. Building a DIY terrarium is not only an enjoyable and creative project, but it also allows us to be environmentally conscious by using recycled materials. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to create a unique terrarium using everyday items found around the house. Not only will you have a charming piece of greenery, but you will also reduce waste and contribute to a sustainable lifestyle.

Gather Recycled Materials

Before you begin, scour your home for suitable recycled materials that can be repurposed for your terrarium. Clear glass containers, such as old fish tanks, glass bottles, or even mason jars, work wonderfully as the base. Check that the glass is clean and free of any toxic residues. Additionally, gather small pebbles, gravel, or marbles to create drainage at the bottom.

Choose the Right Plants

Selecting the right plants is vital for the success of your terrarium. Opt for plants that thrive in humid environments and low light conditions, as terrariums tend to create a self-sustaining ecosystem. Some ideal choices include ferns, mosses, succulents, and air plants. Ensure that the selected plants have similar sunlight and water requirements to ensure harmonious growth.

Prepare the Soil Mix

The soil mix is essential for providing nutrients and drainage to your plants. Combine equal parts of potting soil, sand, and activated charcoal (which can be obtained from old aquarium filters). This mixture facilitates proper water retention while preventing the soil from becoming waterlogged.

Layering the Terrarium

Creating distinct layers inside your terrarium not only enhances its visual appeal but also ensures the well-being of the plants. Start by placing a layer of small pebbles or gravel at the bottom to aid drainage. Follow this with a thin layer of activated charcoal to filter the water and reduce any potential odors.

Next, add the soil mix on top of the charcoal layer. Be mindful of the depth; avoid overcrowding to allow enough space for plant roots to grow. Leave some pockets for the plants to fit in comfortably.

Planting Your Terrarium

Now comes the exciting part – planting your terrarium. Gently remove the selected plants from their pots, being careful not to damage the roots. Create small holes in the soil mix using your fingers or a tool and place the plants inside. Pat the soil gently around the roots to secure them in place.

Consider adding decorative elements, such as small figurines or miniature ornaments, to add a personal touch to your terrarium.

Watering and Maintenance

Terrariums require minimal maintenance due to their self-sustaining nature. Water the plants sparingly, as the enclosed environment creates a natural recycling system. Monitor the terrarium regularly and only water when the soil appears dry or the plants show signs of dehydration.

Ensure your terrarium receives indirect sunlight, as direct sunlight can create excessive heat and scorch the plants. Rotate the terrarium occasionally to ensure even growth and prevent plants from leaning towards the light source.

Terrarium Care Tips

  • Avoid overwatering, as excess water can lead to root rot.
  • Trim any dead or decaying leaves to maintain the health of the terrarium.
  • If condensation builds up, remove the lid temporarily to allow air circulation.


What is the cheapest way to build a terrarium?

For a cheap terrarium, you can use an old glass jar, an old fishbowl, or even a clear coffee pot! Any glass container can work as a terrarium. For a closed terrarium, you’ll want to use a container with a sealable lid. An old mason jar is a great container to use if you’re making your first terrarium.

What is an eco terrarium?

A terrarium is a closed environment of living things that can show us how an ecosystem works. With the right balance, once the jar is closed the plant uses the water, sunlight, and nutrients from the soil to survive. As the plant loses some leaves, they are broken down by bacteria and become nutrients in the soil.


Creating a unique DIY terrarium using recycled materials not only adds a touch of green to your living space but also promotes a sustainable lifestyle. With just a few simple steps, you can craft a mesmerizing miniature ecosystem that requires minimal care. Remember to choose the right plants, layer your terrarium thoughtfully, and provide proper maintenance to ensure its longevity. So, go ahead and embark on this green journey, bringing a piece of nature’s beauty into your home while making a positive impact on the environment. Happy terrarium crafting!

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