Shot & Wine Glass Terrarium / Seed Starter




About: I enjoy everything

I do not garden as much as I use to, but when I do, I start the plants indoors - to get a jump on the short Michigan summers. To start my seeds, I use enclosed containers.

I always wanted to do miniature enclosed terrariums.

I was working with wine glasses on another project and came up with the idea of combining the two ideas. I was giving away my shot glass collection and thought, what the heck, let’s throw them in the mix.

So there you have it, my instructables is about making Shot & Wine Glass Terrariums and Seed Starters.

Stay Gardening my friends


Step 1: Gather Things Up

Shot glass – small containers that fits inside wine glass
Long stem wine or water glasses - the ones used were 9 inches tall overall - 3 1/4 inch diameter base - with approximately 3 1/4 inch stem.
Small plate or saucer

Diamond saw – I am lucky to have access to one. OR Hand stain glass cutter Note: I did one wine glass with a stain glass cutter and got a good result.

Grinding wheels or wet sand paper – grits – 100, 220 400, 600, 1200. Again; I am lucky to have access to power wheel grinders/sanders. When I was younger I did this by hand, using wet silicon carbide sanding paper to smooth and polish cut glass bottles.

Drill and drill bit - I used a ½ diameter drill bit. This will vary by the diameter of the stem.
Charcoal – I got mine from the fireplace
Glass beads - this is used instead of stones
Soil – I use a seed starter mix which includes fibers
Plants – I used a fern and a violet (flower)
Seeds – I do some flowers for my butterfly garden, but you can use your own choice
Handles – Large oversize wood beads, wooden spools etc…

hand glass cutter
painters tape

Step 2: Let’s Get Started Cutting the Glass

I picked up some wine glasses from my local dollar store. I am sure you can find some glasses at a thrift store. Also, you can keep this project in mind when a glass breaks.

Cutting the glass: I used a power diamond saw to cut off the bowl from the base; cutting the stem. There is no exact spot to cut the stem, but cut enough to create a handle.
For this project - I cut the stems anywhere from 1 to 2 1/2 inches down from the bottom of the bowl (just learned that term. What I was calling the cup, is actually called the bowl of the wine glass).

Please note; glass is very unpredictable especially when cutting and polishing. For Safety - Adding blue painters tape around the glass and/or wearing gloves is advisable. When I used the hand stain glass cutter, I put the entire glass under a heavy towel before striking it to break the stem.

Clean the glass with soap and water.
Note: This power diamond saw uses oil for lubricant and coolant

Step 3: Polishing the Glass

Water, water, and more water will be needed to take the sharp edges off and polish the cut glass.
This is done for two reasons:
to avoid cut fingers while working on the project
if you do not add a handle to the stem, it will have a nice appearance

I started with 100-grit to take off the major chips and sharp edges. Then I use finer and finer grit levels to polish - 220 400, 600, and ending with 1200.

Clean the glass with soap and water.

Sorry for the photo, I did not take a photo while making the Terrarium / Seed Starter.

Step 4: Add the Handles

Well you do not have to add a handle to the Terrarium / Seed Starter, but it makes it a little easier to pull up and off.
On one of theTerrarium / Seed Starter, I did not cut off the stem, I just reduced the size of the base, to make the handle.

I used oversized wood beads and old wooden spools to make handles. With the items I choose, I needed to open up the holes to fit on the stems. To do this I use a drill to make a ½ inch diameter hole. I did not drill all the way through – just enough to fit down onto the glass.
Some handles fit so tight, I just used a friction fit; on the others I used all-purpose glue.

Step 5: Building the Shot & Wine Glass Terrarium / Seed Starter

I started by cleaning all the containers, to avoid growing problems(contamination).
I next added small glass beads in the bottom of the shot glass instead of stones.
Then I crushed fireplace charcoal in a baggie. I placed the crushed charcoal on top of the beads.
From there, I added my soil. I use seed starter mix as my top soil, which includes fibers. I like to think this combination gives me good drainage in such small containers.

For the seed starters: I will add seeds this spring.

The terrariums: I added my plants and flowers - in a seperate shot glass I planted a Fern and a Violet

For watering, I do just a light misting of water directly to the soil. I will watch to make sure the plants do not get to little water and dry out.

The last step is placing the shot glass on a plate and then put the completed glass bowl over top of it.

Step 6: Finished – That Is It – Some Examples

Seed starter – I had good success of enclosed containers; getting my seeds to start. The colorful beads are great to rediscover in my garden, from the past years.

Enclosed Terrarium – These seem to be a little tricky for me to keep growing strong.
Please note an enclosed terrarium is different than what most people call a terrarium. An enclosed terrarium should be its own eco system. The moisture released should recycle back into the plant/flower. You cannot use just any plant/flower. It is important to keep the soil off of the bottom of the pot, or in this case the shot glass. This is why I put down the beads, the charcoal and soil with fibers. Moss is sometimes used between the charcoal and the soil.
I picked a fern and a violet which should survive in a closed environment.

This is a great project. It makes me feel good to make things.

Step 7: Other Examples of Shot & Wine Glass Terrarium / Seed Starter

Please see my photos.

The spool was my Grandmothers

Step 8: See My Other Instructables on Using the Base

If you get a chance; you can see what I did with the cut off base of the wine glass.

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    14 Discussions

    The Metal One

    5 years ago

    you might try fire polishing your glass with a propane torch ( it smooths cut edges) . look it up

    1 reply

    I had to look up the meaning of cloche. Thank you for the idea.
    I love butterflies, but can not bring myself to processing them.
    So, I will need to figure something out for my watch collection.
    Thank you again

    Agreed. I wouldn't catch a butterfly to kill it for decoration. I'm on a major migratory route for butterflies, and occasionally some of them die in transit.