How To-sday – Vintage Apothecary Jar Moss Terrarium

January 26, 2010 separator DIY Tutorial

This tutorial was originally made for circa approximately dos months ago, but le Shrimp has acquired quite a handful of new readers since then (Hello all you lovelies – thanks for being here!). I figured that a great many of you probably didn’t catch this one the first go-round, so here’s the full tutorial now!

On an unrelated note, can I please point out how adorable my darling little Mish is?! He has officially adopted the terrarium as his own and will not leave its side!


  • glass jar
  • gravel or small rocks
  • activated charcoal
  • potting soil
  • moss
  • embellishments
  • large spoon
  • ribbon
  • spray bottle of water

  1. Drop a layer of gravel or small rocks into the bottom of your jar. Make sure that you have enough to thoroughly cover the bottom because this will be the source of drainage for your little closed ecosystem.

  1. Sprinkle a few scoops of activated charcoal over the gravel. This will help control the odor inside the jar.

  1. Dump in a relatively thick layer of potting soil with a touch of sand mixed in. Use the back of your spoon to level the little pile out a bit.

  1. Using the lid from the jar as a guideline, press firmly into the sheet of moss with the edge of your spoon to cut all the way around the circle. You want to cut just a little bit extra around the edges because you’ll be tucking it tightly into the jar. You can use any sort of moss; I just pulled mine up from a creek near the house. If you don’t have the right climate to have any growing wild, you can also find it online.

  1. Push your pad of moss into the jar, and firmly press it down all over with the back of the spoon. This is really important to encourage the roots to extend into the potting soil layer to keep your moss alive long past Christmas. Using the spoon again, tuck the edges of the moss under all the way around the circumference of your jar. You want it to be a little bit spherical, with the top higher than the edges. Use a paper towel to wipe the charcoal, soil, dirt, and moisture from inside the jar. You will need to give your moss a few spritzes from a water bottle. In the future, you can spritz it once or twice a week and then replace the lid. If a great deal of condensation builds up inside the jar, leave the lid off until it evaporates a bit. Keep the jar out of direct sunlight, or it will get too hot inside and ‘cook’ your moss!

  1. Place your little decorations atop the moss to add character. You can tailor these to your gift recipient for that extra, personal touch. I used a little set of owls and a daisy, but anything small will work! Now tie a big ribbon around the jar; add a tag with care instructions; and give it to your impossible friend or family member!


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  2. My house is littered with four extremely gorgeous, lazy, loveable, steal-your-heart-away cats, but as sweet as they are, nothing green will ever survive in this place. It is just a destructive strak in all of them- if it looks like a plant, it’s gotta die. Hell, they even rip bagged spinach leaves to shreds… never mind. I was looking for a tutorial for a moss vivarium thingy, and yours is deffo the one for me as it is guarded by one of the most gorgeous kitties ever! (please excuse possible spelling mistakes as I am being used as a mattress by one purry kitty… she won’t let go of my arm…)

    (Mish reminds me of my late Penny. She had amber eyes and a silvery shimmer to her fur and just the same half- inquisitive, half- disgusted look on her face)

  3. i have been wanting to make one of these for ages…i think that you have inspired/motivated/taught me to do it!

  4. Ha ha ha ha…he is waiting for the lid to come off to do some snacking !!! Sweet idea – Thanks for sharing : ) !

  5. What a lovely how to. I have seen so many of these that were adorable but just not my taste. Now I need to find a jar make some clay skeletons or something that fits my taste and make my own!

    Thank you for the tutorial!

    I am going to have to mention this on my blog tomorow for my link round up.


  6. This looks like fun! A great idea for an apartment dweler. You kitty looks totally shocked at how awesome it is.

  7. I think these look so cool. I do have some apothecary jars…I should get some moss and get to work!

  8. Lindsay this is an awesome ‘How To’ I have been looking to add some more green into our home but with having 3 cats our plants get eaten up pretty quick!

    I am going to try this one when I have some free time.

    All your How To’s are really awesome. I refereed to your blog when my sister asked about how to make a badge. So you are clearly doing something right.

    Keep up the awesome work Lindsay!

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