It may be because I’m small myself, but I love anything miniature. When I was younger, I worked with polymer clay. Everything I made could fit on the pad of my finger. So when I saw my first moss terrarium on Etsy, I fell in love. It was a miniature landscape encapsulated in a bottle! I needed to make one. But a moss terrarium can be a bit tricky to make, especially for the first time. So here are my tips on how to build your very own moss terrarium.
How To Build a Moss Terrarium: Choosing the Container
A clear container works best. When done with the terrarium, you should place it in a window. If the container is not clear, then the quality of light decreased and can kill the moss.
Furthermore I’d suggest using a container that is not embellished. A lot of mason jars have etchings and words molded into it. This might add interest to the jar, but id makes the moss scene you are making hard to see. What’s the point then?
In the end, I used recycled lemonade jars, made of glass. The tops of the jars are embellished. It gave me less room to make the terrarium, so I wouldn’t suggest using such a jar.
How To Build a Moss Terrarium: Gathering the Moss
Gathering the moss was the easiest part of this project. I found a small amount of it in the cracks of the sidewalk near my house. To collect it, I used a hand spade to dig just under the moss. It came up in little sections with some dirt still attached. That little bit wouldn’t fill the jar though, so I had to look elsewhere. If you are in the same situation, try what I did and go to the nearest forrest preserve. Large amounts of moss can be easily found there. If you go a couple of days after it rains, you’ll be able to find all the moss you need within a half hour.
And how much moss do you need? Well it all depends. The size of your container is what really matters. A small sandwich bag of moss should be enough for most medium size containers.
How To Build a Moss Terrarium: All About Layers
A moss terrarium should be built in three layers. The first should be a layer of draining rocks (small rocks that are bigger than gravel. There should be air pockets between the rocks). This layer should be an inch thick. The next, and biggest, layer is potting soil. This layer goes right on top of the rock layer, but don’t pack it down too tightly. This layer should reach about halfway up the container.
Next comes the fun part. Pack down some of the top layers of the potting soil to create hills. This adds visual interest. To do this, mist the soil with some water to make it more pliable. The water also helps when adding the moss. Place the moss on the damp soil, patting it down to make it stick. If the opening of the container is small, then use some chopsticks or bamboo skewers to place the moss. It also helps to brush off as much dirt from the moss as possible, to make the layer more even.
How To Build a Moss Terrarium: Add Interest.
What makes the best terrarium is to make it into a scene. Add some visual interest to the terrarium by using different sized rocks, or sticks. Using your hands or skewers to place the rocks. But don’t just throw them down crazily. Create a path with them. Lay them out in a little landscape. This will add interest to the piece.
Some people suggest washing and quarantining the moss before you use it. This is supposed to weed out the moss with bugs or mold in it. I find this takes far too long. I’m impatient. In the end, it also did not matter. After spritzing my finished product with water (not soaking it, only misting), and sealing it, I placed it in a north facing window. This seems to be enough light to make it happy. I hope these tips help you make a beautiful moss terrarium. God Luck!