Materials Used to Make Miniature Terrariums from Glass Christmas Balls
Glass Christmas ball, plants, carbon, soil and water crystals used to make a miniature hanging terrarium.
Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.
To Make Miniature Terrariums from Glass Christmas Balls You Will Need:
Suitable Plant Material - see list on page 1 of these instructions. Choose a plant that will grow for at least a month inside the size of glass ball you intend to use. It will take most plants that long to root or develop. Make sure the weight of your plant and decorations can be supported by either the silvered top, or a ribbon finish on the stem at the top of the glass ball.
Glass Ball Ornament These can be new, clear balls from a craft store, new colored or silvered glass balls or old balls from yard sales. See the next page for preparing older or colored balls to used as terrariums. They must be made of glass. Choose balls with the largest neck opening you can find. Craft supply glass balls often have a finished neck which is less dangerous than the sharp edges found on commercially decorated glass balls.
Activated Charcoal Charcoal keeps the water from becoming stagnant in a terrarium. You only need a teaspoon to 1 tablespoon per ball (depending on the size of the ball). You can get charcoal from many plant shops, or buy a small charcoal filter for a fish aquarium and use the charcoal from that.
Gel Water Crystals These are sold in plant nurseries and florists shops, to hold water in pots to keep them from drying out, or to pack around fresh flowers. You will need a teaspoon or less per terrarium, terrariums of drought tolerant plants (sedums, eschevarias) will be fine without water crystals.
Soil Use a soil suitable for the plants you want in your terrarium. Sift it to remove large pieces of wood or rock before putting it in the glass ball.
Planting Tools Bent nose tweezers, wooden chopsticks, skewers or pieces of doweling are handy for positioning and planting. A flexible paper or plastic straw with the flexible end inserted into the ball will allow you to place small amounts of dirt over roots or seeds. A cotton ball taped to the end of a flexible straw is useful for cleaning the interior of the terrarium after planting.
Protective Gloves to protect your hands in case the glass ball breaks while you are working with it.
Decorations for Inside the Terrarium Many forms of miniature can be safely used to decorate the insides small terrariums. Check that your miniature is not lead based if you are using it with any plants which might be used for food (herbs or vegetable seeds). Pewter miniatures are safe to use instead. Painted resin miniatures, or china miniatures are also suitable.
Decorations for the Glass Ball Exterior Glue pens and micro glitter or fun flock can be used to decorate the exterior of the miniature terrariums. Glass pens or paints like Pebeo Vitrea or Viva Decor Precious Metal Color. Sakura Glaze Pens may work if the terrarium will not be handled very much. Stickers and flocked stickers are also good choices for decorating the exterior of the terrarium.