Creating a Terrarium for Free: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Own Miniature Garden

Creating a Terrarium for Free: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Own Miniature Garden


Terrariums are a beautiful way to bring a bit of nature into your home, and they don't have to come with a hefty price tag. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can create your own terrarium for free. This article will guide you through the process of making a terrarium using materials you likely already have around your house. We'll cover how to repurpose soil from existing houseplants, utilize rocks and pebbles for drainage, employ coffee filters to keep everything in place, and even use saran wrap as an effective terrarium lid.

Gathering Materials

The first step in creating your terrarium is to gather all the necessary materials. You'll need:

  • A glass container: Look for an old jar, a vase, or even a glass bowl.
  • Soil: If you have houseplants, you can use some of their soil.
  • Rocks and pebbles: Collect these from your garden or around your house.
  • Coffee filters: These are used to prevent soil from mixing into the drainage layer.
  • Plants: Choose small plants from your garden or cuttings from existing houseplants and any moss that may be kicking around in your backyard. 
  • Saran wrap: This will act as a makeshift lid for closed terrariums.

Preparing Your Materials

  1. Cleaning the Soil: Remove any large debris or old roots from the soil. Sterilize it by baking in the oven at a low temperature for 30 minutes. This kills any harmful pathogens or pests.
  2. Selecting and Cleaning Rocks and Pebbles: Choose rocks and pebbles that are small enough to fit in your container but large enough to create a drainage layer. Wash them thoroughly to remove dirt and debris.

Assembling Your Terrarium

  1. Drainage Layer: Place a layer of rocks and pebbles at the bottom of your glass container. This will help with drainage and prevent water from sitting at the roots of your plants.
  2. Adding a Coffee Filter: Lay a coffee filter over the rocks. This prevents the soil from washing into the pebbles while still allowing water to drain.
  3. Adding Soil: Add the sterilized soil on top of the coffee filter. The amount of soil will depend on the size of your container and the plants you choose.
  4. Planting: Plant your chosen plants and moss in the soil. Be gentle with their roots and make sure they have enough space to grow.
  5. Watering: Lightly water the plants. The soil should be moist but not waterlogged.

Creating a Humid Environment with Saran Wrap

For plants that require a more humid environment, use saran wrap to cover the top of your terrarium. This creates a greenhouse effect, trapping moisture inside.


Place your terrarium in a location where it will receive indirect sunlight. Monitor the moisture levels and water as needed. The beauty of a DIY terrarium is that it can be easily opened for maintenance.


Building a terrarium for free is a fun, sustainable project that can add a touch of green to any space. By repurposing materials you already have, you can create a beautiful and thriving environment for plants. Whether you're an experienced gardener or a beginner, this project is a great way to get creative and connect with nature. But if you are ever in need of an easy to build Terrarium Kit, you can find multiple affordable options online.

Final Thoughts

Your homemade terrarium is not just a decorative piece; it's a testament to sustainability and creativity. As you watch your plants grow and thrive, you'll appreciate the beauty of creating something from nothing. This terrarium project is a perfect example of how we can reuse and repurpose everyday items to create something truly special.

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