How to make a terrarium; a Vintage Bunny and Child’s Tea Cup Terrarium


A vintage bunny and child’s tea cup terrarium for your inspiration pieces today. Terrariums are the in thing this season. One of my customers requested one and only said to make it vintage. I found this antique bunny with a pastel colored rose necklace and knew this was going to steal the show.

How to make a terrarium:

1. Buy good porous clean soil. Clean means like sterilized. Heated to remove the bad stuff.

2. Activated charcoal such as aquarium type. Cheapest you can find and usually at a pet store. You’ll need the bottom 1/4 to be filled. It filters the moisture droplets and removes bacteria that would cause mold and disease.

3. Small plants such as Polka Dot plant, moss, small tropicals, orchids( only use filtered water for orchids), ferns, pothos, peperomias, and small evergreens.

4. Items of interest. There are plenty of miniatures on the market now but I like to find things that have special meaning or have a vintage feel. Doesn’t have to be old but it helps. Stay away from anything paper. Stick with hard and no porous. Glass, ceramic, china, metal, etc….and think things that will create a story.

5. Some type of soil cover such as the rocks you see here….glass stones…sea glass…sand…but stay away from colored commercial moss as it tends to mold and smell.

Add the activated charcoal first. Add the next layer of soil such as I’ve shown..does not have to be exact science. Add half the soil…fill with plants..then fill with more dirt. I use a soup ladle to add the dirt cause it allows more control. I have small ladles and large ones depending on container size. Add your items making sure they aren’t all the same height and size. Top off with soil cover.

Terrariums are some of the most favored gifts given for any age and occasion. I make and design theme terrariums for birthdays, holidays, baby gifts, Mother’s Day, best friend tribute, little girl fairy dreams, cats and paws, puppy dogs, farm animals, woodland creatures, china patterns, tea sets, and my list is very long.

Terrarium containers are not difficult to find. The above is my favorite cause it gives a large viewing area…provides a healthy place and space for the plants to grow, and can be found at places like Target, Walmart, and container stores.

What goes in them can be expensive. The bunny terrarium retailed for $110.00 because of the antique vintage bunny and the bottom one for about $75. The customer provided some of the ingredients for the bottom one. I charge $20 an hour to assemble them. Normally that takes about 1 to 2 hours. If I have to locate the items for you then I add an additional $10 to $20 as in the bunny terrarium. Right now I’m collecting children’s tea pots and china cats. Cats will be running..sitting..jumping…hiding behind the plants…and be irresistible.

Caring for your terrarium means watching the moisture level. Add water at the time you make the container but don’t over do it. Soil should be slightly moist and not wet.  Don’t feed it right away while the plants are getting established. It really only needs a spritzing of very weak liquid fertilizer about once a year. I don’t open my terrarium but about twice a year unless something is growing too quickly or a leaf has gone brown. When a terrarium is healthy, there is a small amount of moisture fog on the glass. Maybe one spot here or there. When you no longer see it for let’s say about a week…then it needs water. Mine creates a fog up toward the top. There should not be water droplets on the glass all the time as this will cause the plants to rot. Leave the lid off for a few hours until the humidity adjusts.

Keep it out of direct light but it does need some filtered light unless you have added high light plants. Most house plants don’t like a hot window. A hot window will also make your terrarium sweat a lot and can cause plants to rot. Your terrarium will not grow bacteria at any time due to the filtering of the activated charcoal.

Some folks like it simple and some go elaborate. I like the size I’ve featured because most everyone has a spot for it. Large aquarium terrariums are show stoppers and conversation pieces but difficult to maintain the right light and moisture conditions.

Make your terrarium a story. Add things that will encourage you and your children to imagine they are part of the journey. Talk with them monthly about the changes. Perhaps one of the pieces needs to be moved or a plant trimmed. I like to hide things for the children to find little animals or shapes. Farm supply stores have miniature farm and wildlife animals as do craft stores. I found the little doe and fawn at the popular Tractor Supply.

Tractor Supply also has some dog and cat varieties but Ebay is a good source for these things too. has loads of salad plates, figurines, tea pots, and things like ceramic eggs, ornaments, and small coffee cups that range from very expensive to a few dollars.

Don’t forget sayings and names. This can be achieved by pulling the keys off old keyboards picked up at Goodwill and second hand stores. Spell out fun words and things like aardvark. Make it a conversation piece.

I hope you’ll make some and then share the photos with me. I can be reached through the contact link at the top of my blog. If you live in the Winston Salem, NC area…I can make and deliver it to you. I know of a lady who makes them and her customers pay her plane fair to deliver them. Now wow….I’ve not done that.

Warmest wishes and have fun.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. That’s a sweet one, Anna. Perfect for Easter. I didn’t realize you regularly make terrariums–I should have asked for your advice before I made mine. They sure are fun to create and watch!


  2. PJ Girl says:

    What a magical gift idea – really pretty and personal. I think I’ll make my Mum one for Mother’s Day as I’m always struggling for new ideas and this will give me plenty of time to prepare. Thank you!


  3. Anne M says:

    Thanks Anna, I think I’ll make on for me, at least to start off with. Then we’ll see where it goes from there.


  4. Very pretty and a nice touch making it have a vintage flare. There seems to be a revival of this old art.


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