How to Build a Mason Jar Terrarium

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Hi! This tutorial will show you how to build your own mason jar terrarium! Imagine having a miniature living forest on your desk, with the landscape changing over time. Best of all, this requires no water or maintenance, so it can be kept in a sealed jar indefinitely!

Step 1: Materials

Materials needed for this project are:

  1. Mason jar with a sealable lid
  2. Soil
  3. Gravel
  4. A variety of mosses and plants
  5. Decorative items (stones, bark, seashells)

Some useful tools for this project are:

  1. Gloves
  2. Knife
  3. Tweezers
  4. Spoon
  5. Spray Bottle
  6. Q-Tips

Step 2: Collecting Plants

We need to collect several types of plants and mosses for this project. The best way to do this is to go for a walk outside in a park or field with a small cardboard box. A better way is to venture into the woods, as there are a variety of cool looking plants there. Keep an eye out for interesting small plants and mosses on the ground. For plants, you can use a spoon to scoop them up (with the soil around them). For moss, you can use a knife to cut a slice of moss to place into your box. Make sure to keep these plants from drying by spraying them occasionally with water.

Additionally, collect some soil as well as some gravel/pebbles. This will be used as the "forest floor" of the terrarium.

If you see any interesting looking pieces of bark, sticks, rocks or shells, save them for later, so you can use them as well.

Step 3: Mason Jar Prep

It is important that the inside of the jar is spotless, so the terrarium looks crystal clear. To do this, wash the inside of the jar thoroughly with soap and water, making sure to remove all soap residue. Take a paper towel and dry out the inside of the jar, making sure there are no spots on the glass.

To be able to work on the project, I made a stand for the jar. I took a square piece of wood and put nails in each corner making four pegs on the wood. The jar is able to rest on this stand without rolling over.

Step 4: Building the Foundation of the Terrarium

Now its time to build the terrarium's foundation. First, place the jar on its side on the stand. Put some handfuls of gravel/pebbles in the jar. This acts as a form of drainage for the terrarium. Then, use the spoon to put soil into the terrarium until there is a thick layer in the jar. Now its time for some terraforming. In my case, I made two levels in my terrarium, with a sloped back section. This makes more plants visible from the side and makes the terrarium look more realistic. Feel free to experiment with different layers in your terrarium!

Step 5: Placing Plants and Decorative Items

Now for the fun part! Place the plants, mosses, and decorative items in a way that pleases you. Usually, I place large items such as rocks and bark first. I then move on to mosses, and finally plants. Usually, I just use my hands for placing everything, but for more precise placement or for small plants, I use tweezers/chopsticks. This step is up to you, make the landscape in a way that looks for good for you!

Step 6: Final Steps

Once all plants and mosses have been planted, its time to clean the jar and spray some water. Use a Q-tip or a skewer with cotton on the tip to remove any dirt particles on the glass that might have got there during planting. Finally, spritz some water in the jar, making sure the soil is not damp, and seal the lid.

The terrarium is now complete! Place it in a place that gets a good amount of sunlight, like a windowsill or in front of the kitchen sink, and enjoy your creation!

Step 7: Additional Info

Since the terrarium is sealed, there is no need to water the plants, as all water cycles through the system similar to the water cycle. Water will evaporate and condense on the glass, drip back down into the soil and repeat.

As time passes, you might see some plants wilt. Don't worry, this is normal. some plants are not suited for terrariums and thus die. This is the beauty of the terrarium. While some plants will die, others will grow, and seeds hidden in the soil may sprout and grow as well! Over time, the terrarium will begin to change and will look completely different from what it used to be.

I hope you liked this project! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section.

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