How to Make a Light Bulb Terrarium




Introduction: How to Make a Light Bulb Terrarium

I'm sure at one point we have all wanted to be the creator or our own little worlds, right? Well building your own terrarium is really easy and gives you a sense of creating a little planet and gives you the satisfaction of watching it grow.

Step 1: Get Your Light Bulb and Empty It

Some people find this step to be the most challenging, just take it slowly.

First, you need to get a utility knife and pry up the copper tab on the end. Then carefully break off the black ceramic around the entrance. Next there is the filament inside that you need to break off. Grab the bulb and break the filament inside using a pair of pliers. Then dump out the excess glass chunks that are on the inside.

To get the small very fine glass chunks out of the light bulb fill it with water and shake it, then dump it out and dry the inside. Or you can set it upside down to drain it like I have here.

Step 2: Gather Plants

Finding the plants you want to fill the bulb is really easy. I just went out to the backyard and picked up small little plants that I found in the garden, even moss looks awesome!! I used a couple small weeds that I cut up smaller to fit while making sure to keep the roots in tact.

I put them all in a Tupperware container for transportation and took them to my room to lay them out for selection purposes. I ended up getting a couple worms in there which will be super beneficial to the plants, whether they die or not.

Step 3: Laying Out the Levels

The first layer to lay down in the bulb is a small layer of pebbles, which can just be dropped in (try to avoid sharp rocks). This will provide drainage for the terrarium, extra drainage can be achieved by adding a layer of sand. I didn't do this but it wouldn't hurt to.

Then lay down a layer of soil. This doesn't need to be thick because the plants you put in will have a little soil around the roots already. To put the soil in you could use a little measuring spoon, I used 1/8 tablespoon measure to insert it, but later found that it would have been easier to make a paper funnel and insert it that way because it made less of a mess in the bulb. I also put the worms in at this point.

Step 4: Landscaping

I put all the plants in, roots first, with a pair of very fine tweezers. After getting them in the position I wanted I gently pushed the roots deeper, and the soil that rose up on the sides I pushed over the roots. I continued to add plants and other objects just adjusting and readjusting positions before choosing a final landscape.

Once you have your plants in the desired position squirt a syringe full of water evenly into the light bulb to "water in" the plants. A needle syringe is very helpful in doing this but is not required. If you got soil on the side of the bulb then now would be a good time to use the water to wash it off into the bulb.

Step 5: Clean Up

I checked that the hole at the end of the bulb was clean and didn't have a ton of gunk on it. Then after cleaning off the little bit that was there, I took my tweezers and little bit of paper towel and wiped of the humidity inside so that i could see the plants.

Step 6: Plug and Base

Now you have your terrarium built and all that's missing is a plug for the end of the light bulb. You can really use anything that fits. I sampled a little pine cone that I got from the yard but decide I liked the cork better.

For a base there are many options you have. The bulb should be heavy enough that it will stand up on its own using gravity, and this is what I did, but it is sometimes nice to have a base. If all you want is to prevent it from rocking then you can just put little rubber feet on the bottom or dabs of hot glue. You can also glue it to a rock or make a little stand out of some stiff copper or hanger wire. Really it just depends on what you want.

Now that your terrarium is done you can set it in a window sill or on a table, anywhere that gets sufficient light, and watch as your mini planet grows.

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    6 years ago

    This is a beautiful project! Quick question: wouldn't the plants inside die due to a lack of carbon dioxide? I feel like there's something I'm missing because I've seen these everywhere, but I can't figure it out.


    Reply 6 years ago

    Thank you! Most terrariums aren't completely sealed, there is a very, very, very small amount of air that leaks through. How ever those that are completely sealed may have some sort of life, like mine. I have a couple of worms in here that use up the oxygen and turns it into carbon dioxide. So theres this constant exchange between the oxygen of the plants and the Carbon dioxide of the insects. It is literaly its own little world. Did that answer your question?


    Reply 5 years ago

    It did! Thank you!