DIY Gift: Terrarium Kit

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. Jeran

    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.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Thanks Jeran! I draw my illustrations in ink in my sketchbook, scan them in, and add color in Illustrator.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      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.)

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

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

  2. Christa

    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!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      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).

  3. 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?

    1. Elizabeth

      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

  4. denise

    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!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Sure, great idea! I think 1.5″–2″ of soil would be great for small plants.

  5. 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?

  6. 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?

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      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.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

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

  11. Maria

    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!

  12. 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 :)

  13. Arlene

    Love your ideas, I’m a florist specializing on plants and terrirums, love your ideas, might do some for christmas gifts! Great idea and love the natural look!

  14. Nai

    This is a great idea!
    My friend is a huge nature lover and she never makes a list when we do our annual Christmas gift exchange… so to be honest, I was panicking when I picked her name. I’m so glad I stumbled upon this! She’ll love it and it is such a simple gift to make.
    Thanks for the instructions also! They are so cute and make it look complete.

    From a grateful gift giver

  15. Melanie

    Another question, maybe you already answered….can I give packets of seeds instead of using live plants? Such as cactus seeds or fern?

  16. Haven

    I was wondering what the charcoal was used for and is there any way that I might not need it! Thanks and Happy Holidays to everyone!

  17. Kaitlyn S.

    I would like to share this craft idea in one of my upcoming YouTube videos, and I love the tags- do you mind if I link your tags in my video so viewers can access them, too?

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Would you please link back to this full blog post where your viewers can download the tags instead of linking directly to the tag download? Thanks! :)

  18. Calator

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