Thursday, January 23, 2014

Girl's Night: Terrarium Party

Earlier this week, my friends Ali and Dyllon decided to host a girl's night party. After admiring some of the terrariums I have around my house, they asked if I could instruct them on how to make their own. Obviously I was delighted to accept. I love DIY projects and getting to share them with a group of wonderful ladies sounded like a blast.

The night involved delicious food, zombie movies, red wine, and 12 terrariums.
That's right. 12 of them. Ali and Dyllon each went to HomeGoods and bought a selection of gorgeous apothecary jars so everyone would be able to fill a couple.

I forgot to bring a drop cloth, so we put down some garbage bags to contain most of the dirt. Then we all sat on the floor, passed the supplies, and made some adorable creations.
My tried and true method for a terrarium is as follows:

Step 1: Add thin layer of perlite. This helps with drainage. Wipe down the inside of the terrarium if any dust gets on the sides.
Step 2: Add a thin layer of charcoal. This keeps the odor down. I actually went to the pet store and bought activated carbon (used in aquarium filters), which is essentially the same thing. Again, wipe down the glass if dust rises up.
Step 3: Add a thin layer of coarse sand (you can also just use small rocks).
Step 4: Spread out about 2 inches of potting soil. This can vary by the type of vessel and the plants you intend to use. Dig small holes where you intend to put your plants.
Step 5: Massage the roots of your plants to help them sit flat. Add extra soil as needed to keep them upright.
Step 6: Add plant cuttings to fill in bare spots. I use rooting hormone to help the cuttings take root.
Step 7: Fill in with moss, rocks, twigs, and figurines to suit your style.
Step 8: Give the whole thing a good watering with a spray bottle. You don't want standing water, but you want the plants, roots, rooting hormone, and moss to be covered in a thin layer of moisture to start things off.
After that, water as needed. Larger containers can go months without needing extra sprays of water. Smaller containers should be checked more often. If the container has an air-tight seal, make sure to take the top off once in a while to let the plants get some fresh air.

After you water your terrarium the first time, it should look like your bathroom mirror after running a hot shower for a few minutes. Humid and a little steamy. You can see what I mean in the picture below.
The best part of having a party to create them was that you could share plants and decorations and get to see some wonderful ideas.

Dyllon picked up the little dragons below and added in some bones and fake skulls from a bracelet that broke.
I brought a little bear figurine and a zombie figurine to share. Ali bought a bag of dinosaurs, and Dyllon brought a turtle-shaped gold ring that used to belong to her grandmother (which looked amazing in the terrarium, btw). So it was fun getting to swap accessories.
Below is one of the dinosaurs that I used in my terrarium. Cute, right? You can see the moss in this picture. It's brown now, but after it holds moisture for a bit it'll turn green. Also, the plant in the foreground is rosemary. We decided to experiment and see if we could get some herbs to grow in them.
Below is the gold turtle ring. It popped even more in person. You can also see how the layers look at the bottom of the terrarium.
Having a terrarium party is also great because when you buy the supplies you need, you really only use a small portion of them. By making a bunch at once, you use up all the materials and it cuts down the cost of making each. Now we all have extras to give as gifts.
Here's a couple figurines I have in my terrariums throughout my house. This little army guy looks at home in the forest.
And it wouldn't be my house without some sort of zombie paraphernalia.
I got this guy on Halloween at Michaels. It was part of a Halloween village. I brought his companion to the party and Ali ended up using it in one of her terrariums.

Don't you love seeing the roots digging into the soil? It usually only takes a couple weeks before you start to see them creeping along.
This rock with our names on it was from a friend's wedding. She used them to assign guests to their tables. So I kept ours and added it to a terrarium for some cute personalization.
Once your terrarium starts growing, you may need to trim it back. I use the cuttings to root and create even more terrariums. Eventually, you get to a point where you can create a whole new terrarium without buying any new plants. Can't beat that!

Anyone else throwing any crafty parties? We're thinking of making this a monthly tradition, but we haven't settled on next month's project. Maybe soap or candle making? Refinishing thrift store furniture? Any suggestions?