How to Make a Terrarium.

Every single time I go on Pinterest I end up in a weird terrarium rabbit hole. I love them. They look like miniature fairy gardens and as a little girl who was raised in a pre-internet era, I spent many hours building tiny mystical lands in shoe boxes with off cuts from my mother’s plants and Glad Bag ponds. After wasting another 2 hours looking at pictures of terrariums, I figured it was time to make my own. I googled a few how tos and then promptly lost interest when they said I needed charcoal and sphagnum moss. The purchasing of items not found at my local supermarket is enough to put me off any project but then this weekend Mr Smaggle went all gardener on me and decided he wanted to plant a climber. Nurserys make me bored so instead of annoying Mr Smaggle while he was chatting about potting mix, I decided to buy some terrarium bits and pieces and do some procrasti-gardening when we got home.


How To Make A Terrarium

1. Find a pot (or a jar or a bottle) with no drainage holes.

Terrariums like it wet.

2. Sprinkle a layer of small stones or pebbles in the bottom of your pot.

This will provide just enough drainage so that your terrarium won’t drown.

3. Add a sparse layer of chunky charcoal.

I chopped mine up with old gardening scissors but you can smash it with a hammer too.

4. Add a ‘well’ of sphagnum moss.

They guy at the nursery said terrariums like to be ‘cuddled’ by sphagnum moss. Naaaaaw! Also say ‘sphagnum’ a few times out loud. It’s such an awesome word to say.

5. Add soil if needed and your plants.

My plants provided enough soil but you may need to add more. I wanted a very dense terrarium so I packed them in. I chose a Venus Fly trap, a few small ferns and some Baby Tears as a grass like filler in the gaps.

6. Trim all the dead bits off your plants.

7. Place in a bell jar.



* Don’t be scared of charcoal and sphagnum moss. They’re very normal things that you can buy at the nursery.

* Bell jars and bottles can be found at industrial vintage stores. I bought mine from 84 Smith Street and they ship Australia wide. I found the pot on the side of the road a few years ago (true story) but you can get similar ones at nurserys. You can also build them in fish tanks, wine bottles and light globes.

* Ask at the nursery which plants they recommend for terrariums.

 Have you ever made a terrarium? Do you totally think that fairies live in there?


Carly is the founding editor of Smaggle which launched in 2007 back when blogging was weird. She has appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Cosmopolitan and Cleo magazines. Hoop earrings are totally her thing and she almost got run over by Myf Warhurst while out jogging one day.


  1. Bek 3 years ago

    This is so weird – I was literally googling how to make these a few days ago!! I am going to do it today!!

    • Author
      Smaggle 3 years ago

      You totally should! They’re so much fun!

    • Author
      Smaggle 3 years ago

      I’m so in love with mine!

  2. Cilla 3 years ago

    My boyfriend bought me one for my “not valentine’s day” present. I love it. It’s (rather unimaginative) name is Terry. It eats flies.

    • Author
      Smaggle 3 years ago

      That’s extremely cute! 🙂

  3. maddi 3 years ago

    nurseries! but the terrarium looks awesome X

    • Author
      Smaggle 3 years ago

      Argh! Thank you love. Sometimes my brain goes weird. 😉

  4. Toushka Lee 3 years ago

    I have never made one … I can’t even pronounce it. I am intrigued though.

    • Author
      Smaggle 3 years ago

      Like it sounds! Ter-ah-ri-am!

  5. marsha_calhoun 3 years ago

    How will you feed your Venus fly trap?

    • Author
      Smaggle 3 years ago

      He doesn’t need flies to survive! And we can lift the lid to give him water/food!

  6. JessB 3 years ago

    Fairies totally live in them! I love terrariums to look at, but I kill everything planty – and also all things fishy 🙁

    Yours looks awesome, Smaggle, all the more so for being made by you!

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