About: Neo-Renaissance Man

This instructable will show you how to make a terrarium, a very tiny terrarium. But the basic Principals are the same for any sized terrarium.
    You will be shown how to make the tools and i will include a list of tiny plants to use in your terrariums.

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OK here is a list of stuff you will need, all this stuff i found in my house or in my backyard.

1. Glass Bottles
2. Tiny Rocks
3. A bunch of tiny plants (i will include a list of some, but these where all taken from my back yard mosses work the best.
4. Sand
5. Clay
6. Charcoal (i burned some sticks)
7. Dirt (potting soil)
8. Wire Hangers
9. Small Funnel
10. Tubing
11. Sponge
12. old pen

Hot Glue Gun
Some Tape
Small Drill

Step 2: Step One: Make Your Tools

So they don't sell tools to do this but they can easily be made from stuff around the house.
You need to make these tools
A cleaning sponge
A water sucker upper
A pair of small long tweezers
A tamper
A long funnel
A pointy thing for poking at stuff

Step 3: Step Two: Making Cleaning Sponge

 Here's how to make a cleaning sponge for your tiny terrarium.
Ok first bend off the bottom of a wire hanger. Then cut a dish sponge into small strips.
Take your pliers to bend a hook at one end then place yoru sponge strip in it and bend the hook closed to secure the sponge,
Next add another strip then bend the wire around that. Then add a third make sure there in different directions.
  This is your large bottle cleaning brush. 
    You will need a smaller sponge for the bottles im using.
 Take the other end of the wire and make S shape bend in it about a inch or two down from the end. Then take one of the strips of sponge. and push the wire through it long ways Until it stops at the S bend you made.
  Then bend the end of the wire in a hook down to secure the sponge at the end.
There you go one tool done. This is very important tool, cleaning the bottles when you start and keeping it clean when you fill your terrarium.

Step 4: Step Four: Squeeze Ball Watering Tool

Ok this tool is made up of some tubing, and a small squeeze ball i think its used to clean your nasal passages.
 But you can use a turkey baster or any squeeze bottle with a tube.
 This tube has to be long enough to reach the bottle of the bottle.

Step 5: Step Five: Funnel

I had this small funnel and added a tube so i could drop things right to the bottom of the bottle with out touching the walls.
i just stuck a tube on a small funnel, cut the end of it a bit to make the funnel wider.

Step 6: Step Six: Tamper & Pointy Thing

OK this tools is used to tamp down the dirt and such, and a pointy thing to move stuff around and poke stuff.
  OK take a ball point pen take out the ink thing, then take another piece of cloths hanger. Put the tip of the pen down the wire.
 Fill it with hot glue, then squirt some hot glue  into the hollow pen tube then put the pen back together with the wire sticking out of it.
   The bottom of the pen is your tamper. The wire sticking out the other end is goign to be your poky thing, bend it into a curly cue.
 This can be used to grab plants and stuff.

Step 7: Step Seven: Pincher Tweezers Tool

Ok this tool is for placing plants and rocks and stuff, you can also use it to groom and trim your tiny terrarium.
  First take yoru cloths pin and drill two small holes through the tips the the cloths pin.
   Then take two pieces of cloths hangers and bend loops and the one end.  And Push the wire through the holes you drilled.
 And tape them down, these act like long tweezers to manipulate stuff inside your bottle.
   You can also use chops sticks or if you have really long tweezers.


Step 8: Step Eight: Clean Out the Vessel

 Ok Now get some glass bottles or any glass thing you can use for your terrarium.  I found these in the woods behind my house.
  Clean our the bottles using yrou sponge on a stick. Now your ready to start your tiny terrarium.

Step 9: Step Nine: the First Layer of Your Terrarium CLAY

Now that your bottle is clean, you can add your layers of stuff to grow your tiny plants in.

So your first layer will be the clay make tiny balls of it and put them into the bottom of the bottle and tamp them down with your tamper until you cover the whole bottom of the bottle. This will hold your tiny rocks into place.

Step 10: Step Ten: Layer Two Tiny Rocks

Ok Now that you have our layer of clay in the bottom of the bottle, time for your layer of rocks. I got all of these from a creek in my back yard, then separated them into colors.
    Then you simply drop them into the bottle pressing them into the clay tray to get a solid layer of rocks.

Step 11: Step Eleven: Layer Three Sand

 After you have secured the rocks into the clay the layer on top of that is sand this was also dug from a creek like the clay and tiny rocks.
The sand is tricky because it sticks to the edges of the glass the easiest way is to use the funnel and once you have enough sand to fill in and on top of the rocks, use your squeeze watering bulb to fill the bottle with water. Wait a while and the sand will settle to the bottom.
 Or you can tamp it down and squeeze alittle of the water around the lip of the bottle the water should pour down the insides of the bottle and the sand with wash down and settle.

Step 12: Step Twelve: Layer Four Charcoal

The Charcoal is very important to keep the inside of your terrarium alive and clean.  Use the funnel and the tamper to put a layer of charcoal on top of the sand.

Step 13: Step Thirteen: Layer Five Dirt

Add the dirt just like you added the charcoal. use the funnel and tamp it down as much as you can.

Step 14: Step Fourteen: Layer Six Plants

 Now the Last layer the plants i used mosses and some small plants to do this all of them were found in my back yard.
  i like to use mosses for these they live for a long time and work perfect for bottle gardens.
  You tear small chunk of the moss and tamp them into place.  I used one type of moss and the "grass" and another type of moss for a tiny tree, then added a small rock or if you have any small figures or trinkets to add some scale to your tiny tiny terrarium.

YOUR DONE CONGRATS!! you made a tiny terrarium. Mantaining a bottle garden is very very easy to do. They only really need to be watered once, inside the bottle you made a tiny eco system the water with rise then collect on the bottle and "rain" back down.  The plants may need some trimming that you can do with the pichers or a small razor blade on a stick.
The Next step is a list of tiny plants you can use.

Step 15: Step Fifteen: List of Tiny Plants to Use

 These are plants are all work well for terrariums

  There are many many different kinds of mosses all will work and are great for these.

There are many species of bonsai trees you can use for these projects

Many Ferns will work with this project
Asparagus Ornamental,  Button Fern,  Davallia Mariesii, Dryopteris Erythrosora, Phyllitis Scolopendrium

Caladium Bicolor, Chamaedorea Woodii, Chamaeranthemum, Buxus Microphylla Japonica, Cissus Rhombifolia, Columnea Microphylla, Cycas Revoluta, Cymbalaria Muralis, Cyrtomium Falcatum, Venus Fly Traps, Geogenanthus Undatus,  Hendra Helix, Hoya Carnose, Hypoestes Sanguinolenta,  Nertera Granadensis, Pachysandra Terminalis, Oxalis Oregana, Peperomia Magnoliaefolia, Pilea Microphylla, Podocarpus,  Saxifraga Sarmentosa, Sedum,  Soleirolia Soleirolii, Tradescantia, Vinca Minor, Zebrina Pendula

Gymura Aurantiaca, Impatiens Walleriana, Liriope, Malpighia Coccigera,  Saintpaulia,  Streptocarpus, Clerodendrum Thomsoniae

There you go all these plants work very well in terrariums

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    17 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Can you help me by giving the common names of the foliage plants? My nursery, or other stores, do not always give the proper horticulture names you have listed. You said you used plants from your backyard; does that include some weeds? Some are quite pretty when small. Thank you. Love your tutorial, and the helpful pictures.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I did not created any terrarium before but I would like to make one. Why do I feel like your terrarium is a bit too wet and your plant may rot. please let me know what is actually happening.



    5 years ago on Step 7

    Have a neat tiny bottle...Will try this! PS I love your wording...."pointy thing"..."pokey thing" and stuff :)

    Very cool! Gonna pass this on to my wife for a possible classroom project! Do the bottles need to be corked after the terrarium is complete?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    ive never tried to fully inclose one i guess it would depend on the plants inside if they dont have carbon dioxide they may suffocated and die


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Just a thought, but I've had good luck cleaning old bottles with just sand and water. I fill them up about 1/4 full with sand, then the rest of the way with hot water. Then stopper the bottle with a cork or your finger and shake it well. The sand scours the sides better than any brush I've found. Might even add a drop of dish soap to help.

    Nice instructable, I've always found the micro-systems growing in bottles I've found naturally to be quite fascinating, might have to make my own now.

    Is it essiantial to have a charcoal and clay layer ( s ) .

    The terrarium container I ln on using is 8cm Wide by 7cm High .

    Is this enough ?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    clay no, the clay is there to hold in the rocks, but the charcoal is a must your plants will most likely rot inside the bottle

    if your interested i am making a hobby tool kit to make terrariums keep an eye on


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you, The pictures + instructions are very precise.


    8 years ago on Step 4

    You mean, "bottom of the bottle," right?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I have a little question, what would happen if I make a mid-size bottle terrarium (let's say, a 700ml pepsi/coke bottle), and if I added some insect in it? (hem.. two of these tiny window fly, and two ants?)
    Would they survive? Or die?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    They would die ants need ants they cant survive alone, and fly's only live like a week or two but you can try other insects you might have better luck with i have a large 1 1/2 gallon terrarium and it has a slug in it, it must have been a egg on one of the plants i used it lived in there for a couple of months.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I don't know why other are not commenting, your isntructables is really nice and helpful!
    I was re-reading it while doing one, and I came across the pictures at step6.. look at it carefully, I don't know if it is on purpose, but it look like a man in the bottle :-D


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    nope it was not doen on purpose i just made tiny balls of clay and drop them in the bottle but yes it does look like a man thanks for the comment!