Make: A DIY Mason Jar Terrarium

Another Earth Day has come and gone, but I hate to see a party end…so I decided to do a little Easter green redecorating with some extra jam jars I found lying around the house. Here’s a SUPER quick DIY terrarium project that’s GREAT to do with kids and only takes a few minutes!

Make a simple and easy DIY mason jar terrarium in 5 minutes! | via barley & birch

To make your own DIY mason jar terrarium you’ll need:


  • A little dirt
  • A few greens from the yard, moss, or seedlings
  • An old jar
  • Plants!


  • Paint (to paint the jar lids)
  • A handful of rocks, sand, or shells
  • Small toys, legos, decorated blocks, etc.

DIY Mason Jar Terrarium Instructions:

  1. Gather plants and a clean mason jar

    I’ve listed a few plants that are perfect for these kinds of small terrariums below. Keeping it simple and small with one or two small plants will probably work best if you’re doing this with kids. You can fill up space with fun accessories like Legos!

    Note: We prepped our mason jars by painting the lids – just to give them a more finished look.

  2. Line the bottom of your jar with gravel, sand or grit

    Cover the bottom of your jar with small rocks, gravel, sand, or grit. We threw in a handful of seashell bits! This allows for some drainage so your plant roots aren’t sitting in water.

  3. Add soil

    Throw some unfertilized soil in (unfertilized is best as you’re not really trying to grow these much larger – you don’t want your plants to grow bigger than the jar!) Dig small holes for the plants you’ve selected (see below for a list of good choices).

  4. Water lightly and screw on the lid

    Water it LIGHTLY before screwing on the lid (do not mist). The terrarium should retain moisture, so rewatering won’t be necessary but check the soil periodically to be safe.

Make a simple and easy DIY mason jar terrarium in 5 minutes! | via barley & birch

Condensation is normal, and should not be wiped off. For further maintenance, ventilate every two weeks or so, airing out the terrarium for a few hours and lightly watering – then place the lid back on and you’re good to go! It’s as simple as that!

Perfect plants for DIY terrariums:

  • African violets
  • Artillery ferns
  • False aralias
  • Jade plants
  • Miniature peperomias
  • Nerve plants
  • Oxalis
  • Pink polka dot plants
  • Prayer plant
  • Small ferns
  • Small peace lilies
  • Small philodendrons
  • Spider plants
  • Strawberry begonias
  • Swedish ivy.

Since I recognized only about 1 in 6 of these plants (and wanted to get this done in the same afternoon) I used some small herbs, a small succulent, and a couple of handfuls of moss from the backyard – so far (famous last words) they are THRIVING.

Make a simple and easy DIY mason jar terrarium in 5 minutes! | via barley & birch

You can so easily tweak this to your own liking –  for kids, this is a tiny world they’ve created and there are SO many ways for them to make it their own.

This particular set was made especially for my room, which I consider to be my beachy outdoor sanctuary away from the beach…and with a couple of TINY changes, these terrariums became perfect little spots of green. A spray-painted top and bottom layer of shells made them perfectly suitable for use as bookends, paperweights, or just pretty little desk/windowsill accessories. They’re a great reminder that life can flourish even in the tiniest of confined spaces!

Make a simple and easy DIY mason jar terrarium in 5 minutes! | via barley & birch

…I HAVE to SAY though –  if I were 6 again….well I’d LOVE to think I would have taped a My Little Pony or Care Bears cloudscape to the back of the jar….thrown a couple of action figures in…with some Neverland-ish looking plants…and waited with bated breath for my tiny world to come alive…

Send us pics of the creative terrariums YOU’VE come up with or tag us with @barleyandbirch!

And to help shake off the winter dust and get back in the spirit of the great outdoors, here are some tunes to terrarium to…happy planting!

  • MIGHTY – Lord Huron
  • WILDFLOWERS – Tom Petty
  • GREAT LAKES – Harlan Pepper
  • THISTLED SPRING – Horse Feathers
  • IN THE STREAM – S. Carey
  • RAGGED WOOD – Fleet Foxes
  • SPIRIT VOICES – Paul Simon
  • SWIM UNTIL YOU CAN’T SEE LAND —  The Frightened Rabbits
  • THESE ARE THE DAYS – Van Morrison
  • LA MARIPOSA – The Powder KegsSaveSave

Hey, Earth Day celebrators: did you know we have a whole collection of eco-friendly craft tutorials for kids? We’ve also put together a list of our very favorite earth-friendly craft supplies, and lots of simple, actionable ideas to help you make your craft processes more eco-friendly!

Amanda Eldridge
Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.


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One comment

  1. Very decorative! I love terrariums.

    I like the moss terrariums, since the plants are a good scale for the space, and they want the conditions they are likely to get there, (relatively low light, and high moisture.)

    Nice pictures!

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