I read a dozen how-tos, watched a few YouTube videos, and got some pointers from my local garden center on how to best create my own terrarium. The following is how I created mine last week, and let's cross our fingers it lives to 2012!
You need a glass vessel to hold your terrarium. If you decide to make a moss terrarium, you can use one that's totally enclosed or has a lid, but when making a succulent terrarium, the vessel needs to have a large enough opening so that the plants can breathe. The one thing I forgot to include in this photo was my little friend - you'll see him shortly...
Michael's craft store - $10.00. The gravel will prevent my plants from drowning in excess water. I used one whole bag of these white stones from IKEA - $1.99
Fluval UltraGrade Carbon. I ripped open two of the filter packs to create an even layer - $8.99
cactus potting soil that I bought from Lowe's. Cactus soil helps to quickly drain the water out of the soil so your cacti and succulents aren't over watered - they hate that. This set me back a whole $4.32
HO scale miniatures, which basically means that for every foot in real life, you have 3.5 mm, or a ratio of 1:87. I just used a bit of glue on the end of a toothpick and adhered him to this rock. You can even see the paint drying if you look close enough.
These little guys are perfect for decorating your terrarium. I bought mine from Preiser through Amazon, but you can do a search for HO scale miniatures on Google and a million different places sell them. He was $10.61 total, but the shipping cost me almost as much as he did, so if you can find one locally, they're not that expensive.
After doing the math, I spent a grand total of $47.91 and around 35 minutes - plus I still have some charcoal and soil (and one unused plant) to make another. If anyone knows more specific details or tips on creating a successful terrarium - one that won't die - then please let me know. Also, if you do end up making one, send me pictures!! Good luck and happy green thumbs to all!
All photos by Julie Karatzis