Make a Mini Graveyard Terrarium




Introduction: Make a Mini Graveyard Terrarium

About: In-Home wildlife is the cornerstone of my passion. I take joy in sharing my unique concepts and ideas for pets that live in terrariums, aquariums or my personal favorite.. paludariums! is an oppor…

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It gives me a reason to relive cult horror classics through props and costumes. Today’s project will be a prop going in my living room. I will show you how to make a spooky graveyard terrarium. This will be a real living project so I will make sure to include care instructions as well so it can thrive for multiple Halloweens.

I think it's an adorable way to get that holiday fix without compromising the theme of any room. I absolutely had Tim Burton vibes with this one, so you are not crazy if you find yourself thinking about Beetlejuice while making this mini tank.


Step 1: Prepare Graveyard Decor

Let's start by preparing the Halloween terrarium decor for use in our little mossarium. The Graveyard set won't require much assembly other than cutting the pieces out from the support frame and gluing the cross onto the top of the mausoleum (I can't help but find myself pronouncing it MOSS-o-leum, I really do think about moss too much).

A small dab of Loctite extreme glue goes a long way so be careful. Too much and you'll end up with more glue than cross lol. It should cure really fast so we will paint the other parts in the meantime.

Step 2: Paint the Models

While the mausoleum is drying, we can begin painting the gates, fences, and gravestones. Having these models come in black gives us a nice advantage with applying color. Hard to reach crevices will create depth and shading when the paint is applied sparingly.

The vision I had for the gravestones and mausoleum when I designed them, was for it all to be the same color stone. I use a mixture of grey and black as a base color for these models to represent cement. After that, I dry rub white paint very faintly across the tombstones and mausoleum to give them a more weathered stone look.

Finally, I dry rub the lower parts of the tombstones and mausoleum walls with a dark brown to make it look... less clean. I follow it with dark green to complete the aged look I had in mind.

For the gate and fences, I wanted them to have a more rusty metal look. I feel like it helped separate them from the other models and made the overall terrarium look more elaborate. I start with a base color of white and grey mixed. The idea was to not mix the two colors completely but do more of a swirl. 

I applied the same technique of dry rubbing green and brown on the fences and gate as I did with the gravestones. The lighter undertones of the white made the gate look almost like it was copper... I love it, I probably could have just used metallic colors, to begin with on the part I wanted to look medal lol.

Once everything is painted, lightly spray a nice coat of clear sealant on the models to protect them from leaching back into the terrarium later. I do this with all my models regardless if they're painted or not because I love the shiny gloss touch it adds to the decor.

Our Halloween terrarium decor is now complete and ready for placement within the mini terrarium.

Step 3: Make the Terrarium

Now that the decor is prepared and ready for use, let's set up a terrarium really quickly. I've always been a huge fan of cylinder-shaped terrariums because it offers a clear view of the habitat at any angle. 

Using the 6-inch cylinder vase, I fill the bottom with about 3 inches of aquarium substrate. I like using eco-complete because it's really healthy and already has beneficial bacteria in it. You're more than welcome to use any type of gravel though, just make sure it is coarse enough to allow water to easily fall to the bottom. 

I like to create slops when I terrascape the base layer to add depth to the overall terrarium. This is going to really make things look more interesting later when we make our graveyard. 

Next, I add small bits of pillow moss to form random hills. I try to pack the moss consciously, keeping in mind the creases between each moss might make ideal areas for the gate, roads, fences later. 

Step 4: Decorating the Tank

Once we are satisfied with the position of everything, we can add our decor! This is the most exciting part for me because things really start to come to life. It's kind of hard for me to make terrariums now without some type of miniature in them because of the impact they have with such little effort.

It's looking incredible all ready huh... Just wait before you add those tasty pictures to Instagram and tag me.. we are going to level it up a bit more! Pour a small line of sand in between the crevices of moss to make the patches of moss seem seamless.

Follow that by sprinkling small bits of coco coir soil over the sand. Spray water over the sediment to help it fall down between the cracks of moss. Finally, use tweezers or a toothpick to draw a line through the soil to create the little road. If done correctly, the soil should push off slightly toward the sides and reveal the sand.

Now let's take this graveyard terrarium to its final form with some trees. This part is totally unnecessary at this point, but I really love how it turns out. I found some dead twigs from a bush out front of my house. 

I trimmed it down to my preference and stuck it into the tank. I shredded a small dead leaf and sprinkled it around the trees.

Now that you're ready for the gram... Keep in mind, it may not be ready for you! Show me what you got, because this is what I live for...🤤

Step 5: **Bonus Tip** Graveyard Terrarium Care

One of the greatest things about moss terrariums is their extremely low maintenance requirements. These things practically take care of themselves. I like to cover the top of my moss terrariums with a sheet of plexiglass to help retain moisture. Once you add a little bit of distilled water to the base layer, sit it in a well-lit room and enjoy it!

Step 6: Sit Back & Enjoy the View

This graveyard terrarium was a really fun project to make. The amount of detail miniatures provide really takes things to the next level. I hope you all enjoyed this terrarium project as much as I did. See you all in the next one!

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    Fishbum Frank
    Fishbum Frank

    9 months ago on Step 6

    You should have been a prop man for Ed Wood


    Reply 9 months ago

    Hahaha! what a compliment, dudes a legend!!!

    COOL!! Great job! I can’t believe how creative the people on this site are!, I love it! Thank you for creating this, and for sharing! 🙂🙃🙂


    Reply 9 months ago

    Thank you!! I really apreciate that!