Invite a little Magic into your home! Easy instructions for how to make a whimsical Fairy Garden Terrarium, with ideas for the changing seasons.
This post may contain affiliate links, but don't worry - they won't bite.
When I was a kid, I spent many summers at Camp Namanu in Sandy, Oregon, and it is still one of my favorite places on Earth. It is a place where anyone, regardless of age, can hold out hope that Magic is still alive and well in this world.
For more than 90 years, one of the unbroken threads that has woven Namanu campers together is its rich tradition of forest folklore. From the moment each of us, as campers, clambered off that sweltering bus for the first time and skipped up onto the well-worn planks of Uncle Toby’s Storyhouse – whether that was ten years ago or sixty – one of the first things we learned about was the camp’s resident fairies, elves and other magical folk.
We learned about Mr. Skriggleboggle, the elf who lives in a little house at the top of Guardian Fir and answers campers’ questions all summer long. We were introduced to Gertrude, the wood fairy who has lived in a Worcestershire Sauce bottle hanging from the ceiling at Raker Lodge since World War II. There is a flashlight fairy, and a flagpole elf; in fact, there is an enchanting-someone keeping watch over practically every facet of camp life.
And just how has this forest Magic survived for nearly a century in a difficult, cynical world, you might ask? Because, though many of us are now ever so much older than twenty, the flame that was lit in our childhood hearts so long ago still flickers brightly – and in our mind's eye, the fairies still dance - somewhere far across the Meadow.
Camp Fire kids are a crafty bunch, and every year at the Namanu Alumni Reunion, I'm always on the lookout for DIY inspiration to bring home and share. The inspiration for this DIY came from an item at our annual alumni auction. The moment I saw this glass-block fairy garden (created and offered for auction by Mary C.), I knew what I was going to do.
I loved Mary's idea, but I wanted to create something living that could change with the seasons, so I created this whimsical fairy garden terrarium!
How to Make a Seasonal Fairy Garden Terrarium
- Large Bowl
- Spoon (for mixing soil)
- The first thing you need for any fairy garden is… a fairy! I found this inquisitive little charmer at Joann’s, and together we immediately set to thinking on where she should live. We agreed that a large, spacious jar would fit the bill nicely!
- I chose a large jar with a lid, which will allow me to have greater control over the interior climate of the terrarium. (I got the one I used for this project at Joann’s, but any large-ish glass vessel will work fine.) I also picked up a few autumn decorations. I have to admit; I had a hard time not buying everything in the fairy garden aisle! But really, it's important not to overdo it, because it doesn't take much to fill the floor of a terrarium, and you don't want it to look cluttered. Also, you want to leave some room for things to grow.
- The first thing you need to do is fill the bottom of your terrarium with 1"-2" of small pebbles. This will assist with drainage. (TIP: Reserve a small handful of pebbles for decorative landscaping as you finish your terrarium.) Mix some water with the potting soil in a large bowl first so that it is uniformly moist. I added a little sand to my potting soil to improve drainage too. On top of the pebbles, loosely pack 2-3 inched of potting soil in the terrarium.
- Now is the time you want to consider how your terrarium will go together. My terrarium has only two live plants - one for ground cover, and one for height. I left room for a seasonal decoration in the back, as well as a few little touches in the front. Having ample space will make it easy to change out decorations as winter and the holiday season approaches.
- Lastly, I added the decorative seasonal pieces. The berry stalk (from the floral department) was a great choice. It was very inexpensive, and with it, I created an autumn tree for the back of my terrarium, plus I used the small pieces that I trimmed off the top to make the little "flowers" in the front. This is also the time to place those pebbles that you held in reserve.
- Oh - I almost forgot! If there is a seal on the lid or jar that you are using, remove it. This will reduce condensation and allow a little air to flow if you choose to keep the lid on your terrarium.
- That's it. This is one of the easiest DIYs I've ever done. In fact, it probably took you longer to read this post than it will to create your own fairy garden terrarium. Just be sure to check the soil regularly and water as needed, and you will have a lovely little garden full of life for years to come!
UPDATE 2/27/2020 - I ended up taking the top off of my terrarium, and it is still growing strong after almost 5 years!
THANK YOU so much for being a faithful reader and supporter
of The Good Hearted Woman. • Be sure to PIN this post!