Crafty: Life in a jar

Photos by Adrianne Behning

Embellish your terrarium with stones, shells, figurines … whatever puts some color into your world (or at least your living room).

Now that April is here, it’s time to get some green back in our lives. Up until St. Patrick’s Day, I forgot that the color green even existed. Now I’m seeing things like leaves and grass and sprouts, and I want more of it. I’m getting green greedy. My crafty solution? Terrariums.


  • Large mason jar
  • Succulent, cactus or other small plant
  • Pebbles
  • Soil
  • Spanish or sheet moss
  • Activated charcoal (optional)

I’ve made it really easy for you to like this project. Let’s talk about why:

  1. We’re going to be saying the word “succulent” a lot. You can’t not like that word. Succulent.
  2. We’re going to throw this whole situation into a jar, which you probably already have lying around the house. If not, I’m giving you permission to go finish off the jar of peanut butter. You’re welcome.
  3. Succulents are really hard to kill.
  4. Having any sort of houseplant automatically makes you seem more civilized.
  5. A miniature gnome could be involved.

Clean your jar

Would you want to live in a room that smells like peanut butter or pickles? (Don’t answer that.) Make sure your jar is squeaky clean and free of any foodstuffs or leftover labels.

Rock & Roll

Line your jar with pebbles or small stones. You can keep this simple and cheap. Your childhood rock or marble collection would work beautifully. Don’t have any rocks at hand? This project is a great excuse to go tromping through Hickory Hill Park for fresh air and craft supplies.

All Your Bases

If you’re adding a plant that requires regular watering, add a layer of activated charcoal on top of your pebbles (found at garden stores or the aquarium section of pet stores). The carbon in the charcoal helps purify water as it cycles through and keeps your jar from getting moldy. For plants that don’t require much watering, such as cacti and succulents, you can skip this step if you’d like. Next, layer on two to four inches of dirt, depending on how large your jar is. Top the dirt with moss, forming a hole to create a donut-like space. Place your plant into the hole, using a couple spoons to maneuver the plant into the jar and blend the dirt.

Final touches

This is where the gnome comes in. Embellish your terrarium with stones, shells, figurines … whatever puts some color into your world (or at least your living room).

Terrarium Tips

You’re not making a full size garden here, so there’s no need to purchase full size packages of moss, charcoal and soil. Ask your local garden supply store to sell you smaller bags to save some money and clutter.

Keep your terrarium near a well-lit window.

If you’re planting a cactus or succulent, water about once per week in the summer and every other week during the cooler months.

Megan Ranegar would absolutely want to live in a peanut butter scented room.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »