Garden Art Terrariums

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner
Garden Art Terrariums

For those of us who create with paper and fabric, making things to display outdoors can be a challenge.

Our mediums of choice do not hold up to the elements like metal or plastic do. However, encasing a creation within glass gives you with the opportunity to add some artistic touches to your garden. Any jar with a lid that prevents water from seeping in will work so you can recycle as well as purchase pretty jars like the one I have used here. Either way, the expense is minimal. And you also have the freedom to inexpensively change your garden art as often as you like!

I really enjoy working with glass etching cream and thought this would be a perfect project for playing around with it. It's easy to use, works very quickly, and is easy to clean up. I decided to add an etched border around the top of my jar and fill it with some little vintage-style handmade flowers.

terrarium step 1

To create the etched border, cut a strip of contact paper long enough to go around your jar with some overlap and tall enough to draw your border plus extra to protect the surrounding glass from the etching cream.

terrarium step 2

Adhere the strip of contact paper to the jar. It's OK if the ends and edges don't align due to a tapering shape of the jar but there should not be any gaps where the contact paper won't lie flat against the surface of the jar.

terrarium step 3

To create a scallop design, first measure the circumference of the jar. Determine the width of your scallops by finding a number that divides equally into the circumference of your jar. My scallops worked out to 1.66 inches. Place a mark at these intervals all the way around the jar keeping them a consistent distance from the lip of the jar. Play connect-the-dots to create your scallops.

terrarium step 4

Using the Fiskars Fingertip Knife, lightly go over the scallops you just drew and peel away the contact paper. Be sure to clean your glass well before moving on to the next step!!!

terrarium step 5

Follow the instructions included with the etching cream.

terrarium step 6

After removing the etching cream, the frosted areas will be revealed. This photo shows what happens when you do not clean your glass well before applying the etching cream. I forgot to do this and you can see areas where the cream did not etch.

flowers 1

To create the flowers, begin by cutting out circles of a synthetic fabric in a variety of sizes. I used 4 circles per flower. Make snips around the perimeter of the circles. The number depends on the number of petals you want on each layer.

flowers 2

Using the Fiskars Fingertip Tweezers, very carefully hold each circle over a candle flame. The fabric should never touch the flame. The heat from the flame will singe and crinkle the edges of the petals.

flowers 3

Layer the circles, sandwiching a short length of pipe cleaner with a tiny loop bent into one end between the bottom 2 layers. The loop in the pipe cleaner will give you something to stitch around and help hold it in the flower. Stitch beads, faux pearls, sequins, or buttons to the center of the flower catching all the layers and the pipe cleaner loop.

Stick the flowers in a layer of Styrofoam or floral foam cut to fit the bottom of the jar and cover it with Spanish moss. Tie some pretty synthetic fabrics around the top of the jar. Synthetic fabrics will not absorb water like those made of natural materials and they will hold up to exposure to sunlight better. Put the lid on the jar and it's ready to set out in the garden! These terrariums can be nestled with potted plants on a bench or a table in the garden or set in a bird bath for better visibility.