How to Make a Terrarium

hi i'm julia from reynolda here with another video to inspire you to be creative at home today in our pop-up studio we'll be planting a terrarium which you can do in a jar with or without a lid but first for some inspiration so this spring we have an exhibition of art at reynolda where all of the artists are in some way inspired by nature artist paula hayes is interested in ecosystems and how humans interact with the environment and in some of her art she creates terraria which means more than one terrarium at reynolda we have three of her terraria that might not be what you'd expect when you think of a terrarium each of these sculptures includes a hand-blown glass globe inside haze filled them with different mixtures of sand micro glass beads mica and more then she carefully added gems and minerals you might have a rock and mineral collection that you'd like to display like this or you might want to create a living terrarium like we'll do today so you will need to find some special materials for this project but i'll show you what you need and the steps to plant your own living terrarium let's get started you first need a container preferably clear glass but you can use a clear plastic bottle too you can make it with or without a lid but that will change what plants might be happy in your terrarium you need some small gravel i'm using a substance called for a terrarium with a lid you need activated carbon which you can find in pet stores you then will need thin tights or pantyhose or tulle as a layer to separate your soil from the filters below and scissors to cut them with you could use thin window screen or a paper coffee filter instead you'll need potting soil you want to choose a soil that will make the plants you're using happy then since i may put a lid on this terrarium later i selected plants that enjoy moisture hayden the greenhouse manager at reynolda gardens planted these babies tears and a creeping fig i'll also use celaginella and an extra begonia that he had high pesties moss and various ferns are other plants that you could use you'll need water and you might want some shells rocks or a little figurine to live in your terrarium

i recommend having paper towels or an old towel nearby for cleanup this is what the terrarium looked like right after planting but the plants will hopefully grow and better fill out this container start by adding your drainage material for a small container you might make your pebbles three quarters to one inch deep this one is larger so i fill the bottom area with the permatell you can use small decorative pebbles or basic gravel next i'm adding activated carbon or charcoal to just cover the rocks not more than half an inch deep the carbon helps reduce smells and decrease the chance of mold cut your layer separator to fit the terrarium this could be a fabric like pantyhose or tulle or thin window screen but you could also use a paper coffee filter the goal is to keep the soil from dropping down to the drainage layer the more precisely you cut your separator the neater it will look i was being a bit haphazard add potting soil if you are making an open air terrarium with succulents you will want to use a different mixture of soil depending on the size of your container and the size of your plants you might want between one and a half inches to three inches of soil use more soil for a larger pot and taller plants plant your chosen plants so that the roots are fully covered by the soil give them some space to grow i'm planting several small plants in this wide dish but in a smaller jar i might just plant two to three gently pack the soil around the plants

water the soil until it is fully moist but not soaking

you can also add decorations as i'm adding this polished stone to a different terrarium which i then covered with a lid i'll place this so it gets some sun but not more than what the plants i chose will be happy living with

share your creations on instagram facebook or twitter using hashtag reynoldathome find more videos helpful downloads and other resources at the reynolda at home page on ronald's spring 2021 exhibition cross-pollination heed cole church in our contemporary moment was created by the olana partnership at olana state historic site thomas cole national historic site and crystal bridge's museum of american art in bentonville arkansas you can also learn more about the artist paula hayes at her website www.paula

Materials needed:
Terrarium container (clear glass or plastic; with or without lid)
Small drainage material: pebbles, chicken grit, Permatil, Soil Perfector
Activated Carbon/Charcoal (available at pet stores)
Pantyhose, tulle, wire screen, or paper coffee filter, cut to fit terrarium
Soil, suited for the plants you’ll use
Small plants suited for terrarium life

Plants that like less moisture should be in an open terrarium; plants that like a lot of moisture can be in a closed terrarium. Suggestions include selaginella, baby’s tears, hypoestes, moss, certain ferns, and other moisture tolerant plants. The terrarium in this video holds two types of baby’s tears (Soleirolia soleirolii), creeping fig (ficus pumila), a begonia, and spike moss (selaginella) 

Optional: shells, rocks, figurines

For inspiration, check out the work of artist Paula Hayes at, whose works in this video were presented as part of the exhibition Cross Pollination: Heade, Cole, Church and Our Contemporary Moment, at Reynolda February 19 – May 23, 2021.

Reynolda revealed video series

See all videos

From the 1910s to the late 1950s, the segregated community of Five Row was home to Reynolda’s African American farm workers and their families.

Watch Now

A new type of Southern woman, Katharine Reynolds combined the traditional role of wife and mother with progressive practices on healthy living, education, and agricultural reform.

Watch Now