simple crafts: diy pickle jar terrarium

Last winter sometime I got in my head that I wanted to make a terrarium. I was getting really into succulents because I love the way they look and they're really easy to take care of. I'd seen a tutorial on how to make a terrarium out of a lightbulb and so I set out to do that. But I couldn't break into the lightbulb I bought the way it was described in the instructions so after several attempts there, I gave that up.

I decided to go, instead, for something a little bigger and easier. One night at the grocery store I spied a huge jar of pickles and I had to have it. I love pickles, but in this instance I really just wanted the jar itself. But I hate to waste, so I ate all 80 servings of those pickles (with the help of my boyfriend, Tom) and . . . well, it was a gallon jar of pickles for like $5. They weren't that great.

But after turning it into a terrarium, I've forgotten the pain of eating 80 servings of blah pickles. I love my terrarium!

I bought a few small succulents from a plant shop in Chelsea. They're pretty expensive in New York. I bought one medium (pictured below, to the right) and three small plants, one of one kind and two of the other. I think it cost me around $25 just for those. The rocks I bought at Michael's in their florals section. The organic soil was borrowed from Tom. And I put a little stone llama in there.
To make your own terrarium, layer your rocks on the bottom to help with drainage. I did about 3/4 to 1 full inch of rocks (1/2 of a package). Top that with 2 - 3 inches of potting soil. Cover the roots of your little succulents. You'll want to get very small succulents so you can be sure they'll all fit together. You can add little rocks or knick-knacks to make it your own. Water thoroughly the first time. Then allow soil to dry out between waterings. I water mine once or twice a month depending on how dry the weather.

The plants were a little smaller than these when I started. They were the smallest I could buy.

These little ones haven't grown much because I keep them in these tiny pots that I found at Dead Horse Bay. (Note: these smaller ones dry out much quicker than the terrarium, so I water them about three times a month.)

It's not that I'm bad with plants, but I find finicky ones tough to take care of because I spend a lot of time out of my apartment. I did manage to keep a basil plant alive for several months, but it died the last time I went on vacation. (I'd previously kept it alive while on vacation by stuffing saran wrap around the base of the plant, to keep the soil moist. Basil typically needs to be watered every day or two.)

There are hundreds and hundreds of varieties of succulents. They are hard to kill (or I would've done it by now!), and they look really cute! If you feel intimidated by plants, I highly recommend having a go with these.

Peace & love,


  1. thought about making one of these a few months back. sweet idea

  2. While I have been out hunting and seeing all the cool kinds of moss , chucka berries , etc I keep saying I want to make a terrarium so I need to buy pickles ??? LOL This is very cool !! Enjoy reading your blog !!