Introduction: TERRORiums: Creepy Crawly Terrariums

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Household plants: they're great. But... they just don't have enough slimy worms and skittering insects, do they? Well, never fear, now you can make sure you'll always have a few plants around that are being invaded by creepy crawly things!

The first thing you'll need is a glass container. Check your local thrift store first, the Goodwills near me are always well stocked with $1 containers of all shapes and sizes. The easiest shape to work with is a short, wide cylinder.

Now, disclaimer time: Glass containers are not the best way to grow succulents indoors. Succulents often die from their leaves rotting from too much water, and that's why it's important from them to be in soil that can drain and dry out. You will have an easier time keeping your succulents alive if you put them in a standard terra cotta or glazed ceramic pot. However, a terra cotta terrarium may not be as creepy, so this tutorial uses glass.

What else you'll need:

  • Plastic creepy things. Hopefully you already have a stockpile of these at home. If not, check out your local dollar store or Amazon it.
  • Aquarium glue. You may have every other glue, but when it comes to glass, this glue works far better than the others. In fact, none of my other glues worked for me. Get it from the hardware store or Amazon.
  • Succulents. You can clip them from local gardens or buy a few from a gardening store. Around me, there are overgrown succulents everywhere, so clipping is always my strategy.
  • Soil. You can try standard indoor potting soil or pick up a succulent-specific mix.
  • Charcoal. A layer of it will help the water drain. Buy it from your local gardening store or online.
  • Pebbles/sand. Also to help the water drain. Pick some up at your local beach or buy from a gardening store.

Step 1: Glue the Creepy Crawlies

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It's easiest to glue the crawlies on before you fill the container. You'll notice soil in my photo, and that's only because I forgot about taking photos early in the process.

Follow the instructions on the aquarium glue. You may need to hold it securely on for a period of time, or even come up with a clamping system (like rubber bands). This was the trickiest part for me, as it involves gluing a small slippery surface to a small slippery surface. Persevere, and you'll get there!

Step 2: Fill the Container

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Start by adding the "drainage layer" to your container:

  • Pebbles/gravel. At least 1/2 inch, but you can do more. If you have pretty pebbles, it might even add to your aesthetics. Perhaps the pebbles are actually a layer of magma! Ba bum bum...
  • Charcoal: At least a single layer, but hey, a double layer doesn't hurt.
  • Dried moss: If you happen to have dried moss around, add a layer on top to help prevent the soil from sinking into the charcoal.

Then add your soil on top, about 1-2 inches, depending on the size of your container and succulents.

Step 3: Add the Succulents

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If you haven't collected succulents yet, go out to the local garden and clip a handful. (Did you know? Many succulent species actually have a node of tissue at the base of the leaf that can grow into an entire plant, so you can even clip just a leaf as long as you include that node. Whoa!)

Decide how you want to arrange them in the soil. Make a hole using your finger or a pencil, and stick the succulent in. Pack the soil in a bit so that it feels secure.

Step 4: Add More Creepiness!

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Once the succulents are planted, you can keep adding to your container to up the creepy factor:

  • More crawlies! (The poor crawlies in the container spend their lifetime wondering when the outside crawlies will creep all over them, but that's just the #CrawlyLife).
  • Fire rocks! (Rocks painted with bright colors and sparkle ModPodge).
  • Spooky dried moss! Ooooo mossssss spooooky.

Step 5: Water Your Succulents

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Here's the hard part, keeping your succulents alive! Keep in mind that your succulents are just as likely to die from too much water as not enough water.

My suggestion: Fill a spray bottle with water. When you first plant them, spray 12 times. After that, spray 6 times each week. You never want it to be soaked, just moist enough.

Here's the good news: even if your succulents die, they'll just make your terrarium even creepier.

ZOMBIE SUCCULENTS VS. ALIEN INSECTS!

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Bio: I'm currently experimenting with hardware and woodworking projects at TechShop SF that help me to reduce anxiety.
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