Get Mossy with a Mini DIY Terrarium!

The perfect reason to get out in nature and bring a tiny piece back home!
a dinosaur toy in a glass jar terrarium
Photos courtesy of authors

Moss terrariums are a perfect project for getting your family out in nature and then preserving a piece of it to be enjoyed at home. We'll show you how!

While moss can be found in nearly every kind of terrain, it especially thrives in moist areas that are protected from direct sunlight by tree branches. Forests and/or marshy areas usually yield the fullest mosses. Take care to only take as much as you need for your project as moss grows very slowly and you don't want to strip any area clean.

Terrariums can be any size and made from any kind of glass container with a lid. You can use anything from a clear Mason jar to a larger vase that can be found at florists, craft shops, and decor sections in many stores.


  • clean glass container with a lid
  • small rocks and sand (optional)
  • soil
  • moss
  • small figurines/toys

Materials for a mini terrarium
Materials for a mini terrarium


  1. Wash the glass container with mild soap and water. Make sure you rinse thoroughly.
  2. Carefully place a layer of small rocks on the bottom – don't drop them in! This will allow for drainage of excess moisture. You can substitute the rocks for smooth beach glass or shells. Be creative!
  3. The next layer, sand, is optional – it works well as a way to add even more visual interest.
  4. Next is the soil. If possible, use soil taken from the same area where you found your moss. Otherwise, regular dirt from the garden is fine, as is potting soil.  Make sure the soil is nice and moist to the touch (but not muddy).  If it's too dry you can prepare it by working in a few teaspoons of water.
  5. Now you're ready to begin landscaping your terrarium. Place the moss directly onto the soil, gently pressing it into place. Unlike plants with roots that need to be buried, moss only needs light contact with the soil to be happy. Try piling up some soil higher on one side of the container than the other before laying the moss down to give the effect of a hill. Use more rocks, sand and/or shells to arrange among the greenery. Position any figures, animals or other sculptural elements you might have to complete your scene.
  6. Give the moss a final misting of water and close the lid. Be sure to display in an area away from windows or heaters.