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  • Writer's pictureMixed Media Mel

Tiny Terrariums

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

Ready to create your perfect mini oasis??! I was level 10 excited waiting for my air plants to come in the mail to complete this project, it was like Christmas in July. It is so fun to have this little home made scene to make me smile everyday, get excited!!

I was pondering something to decorate my shelves and came across the hype of air plants. They are at farmers markets and grocery stores alike plopped into cute little sea shells and tiki men and I thought- I can make a home for these cute little guys! But I worried that they would wilt away to nothing without a proper base. I then researched and learned that they do not need dirt and can exist simply plopped onto whatever you’d like. So the possibilities are endless. I decided on a mermaid island since I live in Florida and am a mermaid but you could create this however you’d like. Anything from a desert scene with cacti to Egyptian pyramids. Let your imagination go wild!

You can gather your supplies at a variety of places. My craft sand and glass bowls were purchased from the dollar store as well as the marbles and white stones. The cutesy fence and shells were found at Michaels. My mermaid was painted at Hot Pots Painting and Pottery Studio and let me tell you, she is living the dream on her very own island. I was most excited about my air plants (I have since become completely obsessed). I got them from Bliss Gardens and they arrived in perfect condition. Caring for air plants varies place to place but I have the most luck soaking them (not the root) in rain, spring or distilled water (whatever I have on hand that’s not tap water) for about 15 minutes every other week and letting them dry thoroughly before putting back in their homes.

Now that you have what you need let the creativity free! You can layer multiple colors of sand or stick to one, I went dark blue on bottom and then layered lighter blues and finally white on top to get an ocean effect for my mini mermaid (MerMel). I did use a piece of foam to take up space so I could use less sand to get the job done, I just hot glued it to the bottom and poured the sand around/on top of it. After layering your sand set your scene!! I made a mermaid island oasis but you can take it wherever you like, fairy garden, pirate scene, aquatic animals, beach house etc. Possibilities are endless! You can have a theme and shop accordingly or rely on items found in your house, backyard or yard sale. Once you have your masterpiece complete, put it somewhere where you will see if often and it will make you smile!

What you need (and where to find it):

· Play sand or sand from the beach (play sand can be found for cheap at home improvement stores in large quantities or at craft stores and sometimes the dollar store!)

· Food coloring (blues if you’re going beachy)

· Plastic bags (Ziploc or other)

· A glass bowl, dish, jar etc. (easily found at any craft store or dollar store)

· Decorations- Small figurines, shells, air plants, marbles, stones etc. (my mermaid was painted at

What to do (and tips):

· Dye your sand- Pour sand into plastic bags and add a few drops of food coloring

o Next massage the sand until evenly colored. You can mix multiple colors in different bags to layer colors later (tip: if color is not saturated add a few more drops)

o Let sand dry so it doesn’t dye your fingers (tip: you can line a baking sheet with foil and spread out sand to dry more quickly)

· Layer sand, color by color to create the effect you want. I layered blues dark to light and pure sand on top to mimic an island or beach (tip: you can add a piece of foam or cardboard inside your vessel to occupy space so you use less sand)

· Decorate! Use your figurines, plants, stones etc. to decorate your tiny oasis. I used beach items to create a mermaid island but you could go dessert, pirate, Egyptian or anywhere your creativity takes you!

Notes: Dyed sand can fade in direct sunlight. You may want to keep your garden out of direct sunlight or plan to re-dye your sand annually.

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