Mini Zen Glass Terrarium




About: Love design, gardening and cooking. Combining all three together - even better!

I have tried to incorporate some of the traditional Japanese Zen design principles of simplicity, asymmetry, naturalness and understated beauty in these hanging glass terrariums. The use of fishing line, which is almost invisible, to hang them creates the illusion that they are floating in place. I used pre-tied fishing hooks to hang these (after nipping off the sharp point first).

Also, if you look closely, you can see a circular pattern in the sand, a common element in the Japanese Zen garden. These hang right from my pendant light, above the dining room table.


Step 1: Items You Will Need

1. Hanging glass terrarium. These are from :

2. Extra Fine sand (I used Activa brand decor sand 28 oz. bag) – White and Black

3. Approx 4” plastic pot or bowl to hold terrarium while constructing

4. Flat pebbles

5. Silicone or Construction adhesive

6. Monofilament (fishing line)

7. Fishing hook OR small S hook (if using fishing hook, nip or file off the sharp tip for safety’s sake).

8. Faux wood grain paint tool

Step 2: Stack the Pebble

First, let’s make the pebble stack. For this one, I chose alternating black and white pebbles. Put a small dab of silicone or construction adhesive on top of the black pebble. Then place a white one over it. Next, put a dab of adhesive on top of that, and place a black pebble over it, so you have a stack of pebbles 3 high. Let this dry for several hours.

Step 3: Attach Fish Line to Hook and Terrarium

Use a wire cutter to nip off the sharp point of the fishing hook, then attach the mono filament to the top of the terrarium. Decide where you are going to hang it, and cut the filament to the required length, remembering to allow a bit extra to attach the hook at the other end.

Step 4: Fill, Level Sand in Terrarium and Clean Sand Line

Fill glass terrarium with sand to just below opening. Place terrarium gently onto plastic pot or bowl. Try to get sand as level as possible by gently tapping the sides of the glass with your fingers. I used VERY fine textured sand, so some of it tends to cling to the sides of the glass. If this happens, just take a small brush or q-tip and carefully wipe it away.

Step 5: Grain Sand With Graining Tool

Take your wood graining tool and carefully make an imprint on the sand surface – you have to place it gently on the sand, and rock it forward and backwards to make the impression, and lift off in a quick motion. Do this all around the sand.

Step 6: Place Pebble Stack Into Terrarium

Take your pebble stack and carefully place it in the sand, a bit off-center – steady hands really help with this! To complete the Zen effect, take a small, oblong black pebble and place it facing the pebble stack.

To achieve a sense of “balanced asymmetry”, I made another one with black sand and a different rock formation. These give my dining room a clean and simple accent, and I love the way they seem to “float” in the air!



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    7 Discussions


    3 years ago

    hobby lobby has somany glass containers


    4 years ago

    So beautiful! Thanks for the great ible


    4 years ago

    Love those! Thanks for sharing your idea:)


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Beautiful! What a great alternative way to use those hanging terrariums!