Introduction: Geometric Crystal Terrarium Out of CD Cases

Picture of Geometric Crystal Terrarium Out of CD Cases

In this instructable I'll show you how we made a geometric crystal terrarium using some CD cases, hot glue and some self adhesive copper foil. We used it for cactuses and it looks pretty cool. We also made a video with the whole process.

Step 1: Shaping the Terrarium in SketchUp

Picture of Shaping the Terrarium in SketchUp

This particular design was inspired by a Pinterest terrarium photo. I made the shape in SketchUp and then exported each face in a vector format. For the SketchUp file I drew 3 octagons with different sizes at different heights. You can't make this shape using push/pull. Then I connected the corners. That automatically drew the faces. Then made a flat rectangle surface and used it to make three cuts at the top of the shape at different angles to make the tip. Now about exporting the faces. I drew three lines one on each axis starting in zero so I had a corner. Then I took each face and placed it in zero, then rotate it using rotation tool and the three lines (the corner I drew earlyer) untill it was flat on the ground. You must do this with all the faces, not only the top angles. You will get errors if not. Use paralel projection and standard views so you can rotate it acurately. Then, again using paralel projection and Top View I exported each face in a vector format, eps I think (I have the 60 days trial on the new SketchUp so I can export vectors). There are some addons for exporting but not sure if they are free. If you can't export it you can make it black and the background white and use print screen, then paste in Corel and trace it. It's pretty accurate when you only have two colors. Then using Corel I arranged them in four rectangles (CD cases dimensions) and placed them on two A4 sheets so I don't mess the dimensions when printing. I made another layout of all the pieces in another A4 sheet that would serve as guide when gluing the pieces together. I uploaded a zip file with all the patterns, jpeg and dxf vector format for those of you that use laser cutter.

Step 2: Cutting the Pieces

Picture of Cutting the Pieces

All you need for this geometric crystal terrarium is a hot glue gun, a cutter, clippers, two CD cases and some self adhesive copper foil.

Start by chopping off the tall edges of your cd cases so you're left with four transparent flat surfaces. Print the patterns A and B you found at Step 1 and glue the four transparent pieces on top of the patterns. Don't use too much glue because you'll need to separate them later. Start cutting the cases using a cutter and a ruler. You'll need to go several times over each cut until you can be sure it will break in the right place (trust me, I used more then two CD cases for this project)

Step 3: Glue Everything Together

Picture of Glue Everything Together

For this step you will need the A4 sheet that contains all the patterns. For the base of your terrarium you will use the small octagon printed there. You will start by gluing two of the 8 small trapezes and place them on the small octagon pattern so you get the correct angle. When you finish simply glue the small transparent octagon piece on the base. For the upper part you will need to place all the pieces on the A4 sheet before gluing so you make sure they are in the correct position with the right neighboring parts. Then start gluing one by one on top of the big octagon this time. The last three pieces should be very easy to fit in the final shape. Please check the video for further reference on this step

Step 4: Adding the Copper Foil

Picture of Adding the Copper Foil

In this step you will place the copper foil at the joint of every two surfaces. You will also place copper foil on the edge folding it to the inside. I used 6 mm self adhesive copper foil and sliced it in two 3 mm sheets, except the edges where I folded the 6 mm piece.

Step 5: Adding Life

Picture of Adding Life

I used a layer of small stones, a layer of soil mixed with sand and a layer of sand. I adjusted the position of my cactuses with each layer so in the end they were perfectly stable. I hope you like the result. If you have any tips regarding aging the copper foil please let me know in the comment section below. Thank you

Comments

Jan_54 (author)2017-04-05

This looks amazing! I just have one question on the downloadable files, there is a large format and I was wondering if it can be built bigger with that or do I have to modify it on a program?

DaroM (author)2016-12-25

Would be possible to upload a pattern of hexagon instead octagon? My Sketchup skills are 0 :( hehe thanks!

Creative Mother (author)DaroM2017-01-12

No, sorry, that would be another project entirely

Dreamchronic (author)2016-05-20

Thanks for tutorial and patterns, really nice project.. :)

sssha30081997 (author)2016-04-24

nice idea its sooo beautifull......

KadirE2 made it! (author)2016-04-01

Nice.. I use 3 mm.plexiglass and adhesive aluminum foil..

sssha30081997 (author)KadirE22016-04-24

smart man

!!

Creative Mother (author)KadirE22016-04-01

Yuhuuu! First to make it! Congratulations! Great work! :)

KadirE2 (author)Creative Mother2016-04-01

thanks, i voted ;)

Creative Mother (author)KadirE22016-04-06

Thank you!

sujacksu (author)2016-04-20

What is the music in your video? It's driving me nuts. So familiar. Is it Beethoven's 6th symphony 4th movement? Is it from Fantasia?

Great project by the way :)

Creative Mother (author)sujacksu2016-04-20

Thanks! It's William Tell Overture (by Rossini)

sujacksu (author)Creative Mother2016-04-21

Thank you. Great music. Should have known if I went all the way to the end of the video.

Sleepthinker (author)2016-04-14

This is great! I now seriously regret throwing out all my cd's cases :-(

Thanks. I'll work on something with flash drives and mp3 players :)))

clewis21 (author)2016-04-09

You did a super good job! I've worked with glass before and know this has to be much harder.

Creative Mother (author)clewis212016-04-09

Thank you. I know it looks hard but it really isn't. You don't need special tools or preparation.

BenTauer (author)2016-04-05

Seriously love this

Creative Mother (author)BenTauer2016-04-06

Thank you :)

ali.macadoodle (author)2016-04-05

Hey ! would love to hear a little bit more about how you made that Sketch Up file ! Did you make a Hexagon then use push / pull? what about the top angles? Did you use an extension to export?

Ok. I drew 3 octagons with different sizes at different heights. You can't make this shape using push/pull. Then I connected the corners. That automatically drew the faces. Then made a flat rectangle surface and used it to make three cuts at different angles. Now about exporting the faces. I drew three lines one on each axis starting in zero so I had a corner. Then I took each face and placed it in zero, then rotate it using rotation tool and the three lines (the corner I drew earlyer) untill it's flat on the ground. You must do this with all the faces, not only the top angles. You will get errors if not. Use paralel projection and standard views so you can rotate it acurately. Then, again using paralel projection and Top View I exported it in a vector format, eps I think (I have the 60 days trial on the new SketchUp so I can export vectors). There are some addons for exporting but not sure if they are free. If you can't export it you can make it black and the background white and use print screen, then paste in Corel and trace it. It's pretty accurate if you only have two colors. I hope I answered all your questions ;)

ThomasB90 (author)2016-04-05

Totally amazingly cool idea! I would have thought the result would be tiny, but it is perfect desktop/counter/shelf size. Thank you!

Thank you! I thought the same untill I drew the octagon in Corel and it was just perfect :)

Nreal Spark (author)2016-04-01

Noice :D

Thank you! :)

ChromiumC (author)2016-04-05

Pretty cool. Just gave me some ideas for my 3D printing projects.

Jedi_zombie85 (author)2016-03-30

These look great, Nice work

Thank you! :)

zaphodd42 (author)2016-03-28

Very nice use of the jewel case. Great design!! FYI: To help out the non-metric users, 6mm copper foil can be purchased as 7/32" copper foil (for stained glass applications) in the States.

Your plan is almost exactly how it would be done in glass. Just some solder and done. Thanks for a great 'ibble!

Thank you! Someone with glass cutting skills can make it in that technique. I myself want to make a larger one in glass. I doubt that the plastic wouldn't melt soldering the copper foil. Maybe if I put it in the freezer first... I don't know :)

OOO... I would defiantly advise against soldering with plastic. Glass is really not that difficult. I picked it up going to "youtube university". Picture frame glass is very cheep. I did an instructable on glass cutting. Check it out with some vids online. You might find a new hobby! : )

I will. I think I can find some room for a new hobby :)) Thank you.

lglira (author)2016-03-28

awesome project!!!

Creative Mother (author)lglira2016-03-29

Thank you

CelalC2 (author)2016-03-28

I am familiar with the idea. I used glass instead of CD cases. The copper tape can be aged with vinegar. If the tape is coated with varnish, first rub it with fine steel wool then apply vinegar. After several coatings the copper will have a greenish patina.

Creative Mother (author)CelalC22016-03-29

Nice. I had a hunch about vinegar but I wasn't sure. Thanks alot.

ashleyjlong (author)2016-03-28

Thanks for providing the pattern! As someone without access to Sketch Up, I'm so glad I can still give this a shot!

You're welcome. Maybe you post it here when it's done :) P.S. SketchUp has free versions (mine is a 60 days trial)

watchmeflyy (author)2016-03-29

Very nicely designed and executed!

Thank you

CraftAndu (author)2016-03-27

Very cool terrarium!

Thank you!

fraser02 (author)2016-03-28

awesome! i like the fact you don't need to have much equipment... things everyone will probably have!

Creative Mother (author)fraser022016-03-28

Thanks, I hope someone will make it and post it here!

shanevgsurtwbk (author)2016-03-28

great work !

Thank you!

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