I spent the past weekend at the SNAP! Creativity Blogging Conference sponsored by Lowe’s Home Improvement and many other fabulous businesses. We enjoyed great classes, socializing and the kind of mayhem created by 350 women from all over the country who find themselves responsibility free for a weekend. It was awesome! I’ll post some of what I learned from others for you guys later in the week. For now, I’m going to show you one of the things Margee and I taught at the SNAP! Conference in our “Terrariums & Succulents” class!
Yes- those ARE live plants- super tiny ones! The project is pretty easy to do my admittedly-crafty, 12 year old daughter had no problem making her own. You can make a live version as we’re doing here OR fill it with dried moss and flowers if you’re a little nervous about the whole “living” part of things. The most time consuming part of the project is gathering the supplies. Let’s get started!
Mini-Terrarium Necklace/Pendant Findings
Dried Moss- I prefer the Reindeer Moss as it’s easiest to work with
Tip cuttings from succulents
Oasis Floral Glue (made for live plants) OR E-6000 glue if you’re working with dried moss/flowers.
some sort of pliers
Hemp cord, ribbon or ball chain
I ordered the miniature terrariums in this photo from a fabulous Etsy seller. I used the largest size that Intirado offers. Other stateside sellers are also listed OR you could use some sort of found object- so long as it’s clear with a removable lid, you’re good to go!
- World Glass (if you want to do a ring version instead of a necklace)
- DIY Glassy (rings)
Once you have your container, you’ll need to prep it. The terrarium findings I ordered are held together by a pin. This part is kind of a pain but you’ll need to pull out the pin. On some of our cases, it came out easy. On others- not so much. We found that if we pushed the flat side in with a pair of tweezers, it made it easier to grab the ball side of the pin and pull it free. You’ll want to get good at this as you’ll have to pull it apart about once a week to water it- more on that later!
We have used various sedums and tiny “chicks” from succulent Hens & Chicks. Most of us have this growing in our yards somewhere, if not, pick up some groundcover 4-packs from your local Lowe’s Home Improvement or nursery.
I’ve used the succulents that are drought tolerant and hardy in our Utah climate. That said, the non-hardy Mediterranean succulents can go MUCH longer between waterings. Most of the warm-climate succulents are larger but there are a few that would be suitable for this application. It may help to have your case with you when you shop (or shop your yard- you really SHOULD be growing an assortment of these amazing, drought-tolerant plants anyway)!
Since we’re working with live plants, Margee suggested using the Oasis Floral Glue that won’t kill plant tissue. If we were doing a dried or inorganic version, the crafting standard E-6000 glue would be fine. I’ll tell you straight up- this stuff is STICKY! You likely WILL get it on your fingers but you can roll it off and it won’t hurt you. However, it’s best to avoid that as much as possible thus this is where the bamboo skewer and paper plate come in handy. You’ll want to place a glob of glue on the paper plate then use the skewer to rub the glue on surface of the terrarium necklace finding base.
The moss is used to anchor your cuttings by providing material for them to “root” into. The moss also hides the base and “glue while absorbing a bit of water to keep the mini cuttings going. If you have one larger element (like the “chick” from Hens and Chicks below), you’ll place it first. Notice that the base of my terrarium necklace is BIGGER than the sloped sides? Keep that in mind when placing plants. It’s best to keep them back a bit from the “glass” if you can as the plants will prefer that. LESS IS MORE in this case. Literally!
Next we slip the base carefully into the dome/case. Use your tweezers (or forceps as we’re showing) to manipulate the foliage so it squeezes into the case without looking like a bug on a windshield! Make sure that no plant material is trying to wedge itself along the edge of the base, preventing the dome from fully interlocking. Line up the pin holes as you’re fiddling with the base. This can be a bit challenging- there is only one right direction. We learned that if you can’t get the holes to line up, you might need to flip the terrarium dome 180 degrees and try it again.
All you need to do now is attach the hemp twine! Make sure to tie a knot in the twine on top of the loop to minimize twisting when wearing the necklace. If you’ve opted for a wider ribbon or ball chain necklace chain, you’ll need to attach a “jump ring” to the loop at the top of the terrarium to make that work.
That’s it! You’ve made a living terrarium necklace/pendant or even ring. Now what?
This is going to vary by region, plant type, conditions etc. GENERALLY:
- Open the terrarium and mist the plants with water about once per week, maybe a little more in some places, a little less in others.
- The plants will sprout little rootlets that will anchor themselves into the moss over time and those roots will absorb the bits of moisture in the moss which is where the misting comes in- give them a liberal spray.
- DO NOT re-close the terrarium immediately. Allow it to “air dry” for a day or two (longer in more humid climates).
- If you see condensation forming, it’s too wet. Give it longer to dry. We’re using dry environment plants thus we don’t want a moist, condensation collecting enclosure as we might for live mosses, ferns, etc.
- Store in a well lit room but never in direct sunlight.
- If, after your best effort, your little plantlets die, scrape them off and glue on some new ones! Seriously people, they’re just little bitty usually FREE cuttings. It’s okay if your terrarium needs replanting from time to time, it does NOT make you a failure or even a “brown thumb”. If you feel like it’s not worth it to keep the cute little plants going, you can always change them out for dried plants but it’s not nearly as fun!
NOTE: For those local to the Salt Lake City, Utah area, we will be making Terrarium Necklaces just like the one in this post on Saturday, June 22nd, 2013 durimg the Home & Garden Club “Summer Soiree”. We’ll have everything you need and lots of help! Plan to join us for a night of amazing classes, socializing and inspiration!