DIY Gift: Terrarium Kit

November 30th, 2012

It’s widely accepted that terrariums are awesome, which means they also make awesome gifts. It’s hard to wrap a terrarium though, so a DIY kit is the perfect solution. It would be easy to whip up a whole bunch of these kits if you need a lot of inexpensive, creative gifts. Or wouldn’t they make amazing party/wedding favors? I designed some free printable cards with planting and care instructions for you to download and include in your terrarium kit. The recipient will just need to add soil and plants!

DIY Gift Terrarium Kit

To make your kit, first put about an inch of small stones in the bottom of a jar. You can buy pretty river rocks at your local garden shop or just collect some stones outside. I picked up this 3 1/2″ x 7″ canning jar at my local craft store for a couple bucks.

Print a 3 1/2″ x 5 1/4″ terrarium instruction card on card stock, and cut it out (download printable cards here—for personal use only please). Slide an instruction card into the jar. Pour a few tablespoons of activated charcoal into a small ziplock bag and put that in the jar as well. Activated charcoal is available in any pet store’s aquarium section.

DIY Gift Terrarium Kit

If you’re feeling ambitious you could make a few polymer clay mushrooms to include in your terrarium kit. Here’s the tutorial.

DIY Gift Terrarium Kit

Tie some twine or ribbon around the jar, and you’re done. You don’t even need to wrap it!


  1. This is an adorable idea! I love the instruction card.

  2. This is perfect Amanda!! Thank you. I was actually JUST figuring out how I could gift one of these!

  3. John

    Great idea! Thanks.

  4. Janna

    I was hoping last night that one of your DIY projects would be terrariums (I know how much you love them). Yay!

  5. Kp

    DANG! You are ROCKING it out with these gift ideas. LOVE LOVE LOVE, and so unique!

  6. I want one of these in my kitchen. Those mushrooms are so cute too. xx. McKenna Lou

  7. Love this! Perfect for so many people on my list!

  8. This is such a cute idea! I am handmaking all my gifts this year and this would be perfect for one of my best friends! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  9. Your illustrations are so beautiful. I’m just curious, do you do them with watercolors and do you draw them in a digital format like illustrator? Everything you make is so polished, yet has the handmade charm all at the same time. Thanks for this fun download. My girlfriends are totally getting these for Christmas.

  10. Kate

    Any plant or seed suggestions, if you want to get them started?

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      I’m not sure about seeds, but either small ferns or succulents would be great! (Just not ferns and succulents together since they have different water requirements.)

  11. Jeni

    What was the size in ounces of the canning jar you used?

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      The jar I bought wasn’t marked with the ounce size, but I included the measurements above. :)

  12. Thanks so much for the tutorial and the super-cute printable! I just put together a kit for my daughter’s kindergarten teacher…I’m sure she’s going to love it!

  13. Do you put the covers back on the jars for the terrarium? Or leave it open? Or just screw th lit back on?

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      You can control the moisture levels more easily if you leave it open. Humidity loving ferns would be okay with the lid on if you don’t water it frequently and make sure it doesn’t get soggy (open the lid to let extra moisture evaporate if necessary).

  14. kim

    Thanks so much! I can think of a few boys who would love this gift!

  15. Lisa Tai

    So generous of you to give such a wonderful gift idea! Thank you so much.

    Has anyone tried to post this as a made-up gift to someone? Alternatively could you ship it including all the parts separately in 1 parcel as a gift and if so how can you pack it so that the plant arrives without being damaged?

    • I had a friend just mail me one of these as a gift. She put the pebbles, activated charcoal, and soil in separate zip lock baggies. Plus the cute instructions inside the jar and wrapped it up in bubble wrap and mailed it. It is a wonderful gift! All I have to do is find some seeds to plant

  16. Thank you for this great idea… so glad to have run across it! Question… can you include the potting soil in a ziploc baggie like is done with the charcoal? Either way, about how much soil would you use? (1 or 2 inches maybe?) I do not have the proverbial green thumb here! Lol Thanks again!

  17. Money Love

    How’s about snails? Do you know if snails can live in a terrarium, and if so, about how many should be added?

  18. Megan AP.

    Top plant picks to be placed in these kits?

    How long can I keep the lids on (for travel purposes) with the plants in them until they can open the jars up?

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      I would probably wait to put plants in until after travel, so they don’t get jostled around. Small ferns would be great inside.

  19. kaycee dean

    so glad i found this on my stumble upon pg in my mail. im not naturally crafty but i appreciate what i see. this terrarium seems like a perfectly simple first project but it will create a beautiful item. thank you very much…you may, if you would, email similiarly simple projects for i need enjoyable distractions to help change my mood and thoughts. thank you for sharing. kaycee dean

  20. shanthi

    This is such a great idea! We’re hosting my son’s birthday party at the arboretum and this will make the perfect favor for the adults.

  21. Lisa

    I am making a large memorial terrarium for my son’s birthday. Inviting just some of my closest family to help put it all together and this will be absolutely PERFECT to give them as little favors! Thank you so much!

  22. Adorable! -Michele @ Neat Little Nest

  23. Winter Burkart

    Just found this idea to make for Christmas! So cute. Silly question here but just making sure that all of the stones go on the bottom of the jar, right? The close up picture with the mushrooms have some stones on top. I got a little confused! Thanks.

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      Stones go on the bottom. Sometimes after planting I like to put a layer of some very small stones on top to cover the soil because it looks nice, but this isn’t necessary. Stones on the bottom are necessary for drainage.

  24. Jill

    would carbon work as a charcoal substitute?

    • Amanda (wit & whistle)

      I don’t think so. It needs to be the “activated charcoal” which is used in aquariums for filtration.

  25. Thank you for this great idea and for the printable info. I’m making my pressies this year and I think small Christmas cacti will look very pretty in a homemade terrarium:)Also it will be good when friends are opening pressies together – they’ll think they all have the same but some will be jars of homemade sweets instead!

  26. KR

    Why do you need activated charcoal?

  27. brittany

    and how much activated charcoal? a sprinkle or more like a teaspoon?

  28. Victor

    It’s so cool…!

  29. lyn

    great idea, thanks !! i am going to make them this year as well…but i will add a 5 dollar gift card inside… to local nursery or home store so they can go pick out their own plants :)

  30. I love this idea! Thanks for sharing the idea and the printable! Here is a great link for plant ideas!

  31. Thanks so much for this amazing idea!! I had everything I needed on hand! I hope the kids like these for Christmas gifts! Thanks for the printables too! SUPER cute! :)

I love your comments more than I love chocolate (almost).


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