This is How to make an Acrylic Terrarium
you are going to need for this project are:
· A Corner Clamp
· Measuring Tape
· Rivot Gun
· Exacto Knife
· Electrical Tape
· An Applicator Bottle
· A Torch
· Weld-On 3
· A Sanding Block
· A Sharpie
· A Half inch spade bit
· A Step Drill Bit
· A Funnel
· A Drill
· And a Carpenters Square
The Material you will need for this project is:
· A Lock or Screen Clip
· 3 pieces cut to 6inches by 10 inches
· 2 pieces cut to 6 inches by 6 and a half inches
· Depending on how large of a substrate dam you want you will need one piece cut to 6 inches by 3.5 inches
· 1 piece cut to 6 inches by 1.5 inches
· And finally once piece cut to 6 inches by 5
If you don’t have your pieces cut for you by your plastic supplier you’re going to need to cut them yourself. You have a couple options to do this. You can use an exacto knife to scribe the piece and then break it over a sharp edge, have it laser cut, use a router table or, like in the case of this video, use a table saw. Acrylic is cut best with a router table.
When using a table saw, make sure you use the appropriate blade. You will need a blade with 125 teeth or more
one thing that helps is a zero clearance throat plate in the saw. You want the gap around the blade to be close to prevent chipping, especially with thin acrylic.
Once you have your pieces cut, I like to mark and drill all of the holes that are needed for hinges, venting and locking mechanisms.
A tip when drilling thinner acrylic. Use a step drill bit. This will prevent the acrylic from cracking. Also, if you are using thicker acrylic, cover the area in painter’s tape as this helps as well.
To adhere your pieces together, start by filling your applicator bottle with the weld on 3, you don’t need much, so don’t waste it. A syringe works better than this bottle, but this is all I had on hand. If you use a syringe, you wont spill it like I did…
Remove flame bit.
Before starting to glue, remove the inside protective layer, you can remove all of the protective layers but I like to keep whatever is on the outside on till the end to stop the acrylic from scratching while moving it around.
Use your clamp to ensure your sides are perfectly square. Even if your sides are off by 1 degree it could be detrimental in the end.
Once you have it clamped, I like to use electrical tape to hold the pieces together, this helps apply an even amount of pressure.
Next, apply a thin bead of the cement. You will be able to see it saturate the edges. Don’t use too much as it will melt the acrylic and cause your edges to bubble.
Side by side, continue with the same process. Take your time, you should let each side cure for at least 5 minutes before touching it. If you don’t allow enough time for your edges to cure, the cement will drip and again, ruin your edges.
When attaching the top and bottom, make sure to apply even pressure by adding a weight on top alongside the electrical tape and always glue with the side you’re attaching facing down to avoid runoff.
Gluing on your front is simple. Just be sure to tape down both of the sides as well as from top to bottom to apply pressure on every edge.
Follow the same process for the top half.
For this particular terrarium, I used riveted hinges. Acrylic hinges that are glued on in the same process do look better in the end, but I didn’t have any on hand.
The final piece is to use your torch to flame polish your edges. This is optional, but it makes your cage look professionally done.