Make This Now: A Kid-Friendly Terrarium

(Excerpted from Project Kid by Amanda Kingloff [Artisan Books]. Copyright © 2014. All photographs by Alexandra Grablewski)For every parent who's ever spied an empty juice box and thought, That would make one hell of a decorative owl, Amanda Kingloff’s newly released book is endless fodder for creativity. A former lifestyle director at Parents magazine, Kingloff presents all manner of crafty exploits in her image-rich tome, Project Kid: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun. The inventive DIYs range from superhero capes created from dish towels to decoupage animal masks that would make John Derian proud. Kingloff even throws a few art lessons into the mix—including how-tos on fringing, weaving, and mosaics.

Below, we’ve excerpted one of our favorite projects—a terrarium with a safari-meets-afternoon-tea theme, dreamt up by Kingloff as an antidote to the typical woodland trope. "Terrariums are always about deers and trees and mushrooms," she says. "I thought it would be fun to make a party scene with animals having a celebration in this little enclosed garden."

Garden-Party Terrarium
Create your own little world (or in this case, party) in a jar.

What you’ll need

  • 1 glass container with a lid
  • Pebbles
  • Crushed charcoal
  • Soil
  • Small plants
  • Chopsticks (optional)
  • Patterned craft paper
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Tacky glue
  • Glue dots
  • Plastic animals

1. Create the base for your plants by placing pebbles in your cleaned glass container. Then add a layer of crushed charcoal (one-fourth the depth of the pebbles), followed by soil (twice the depth of the charcoal).

2. Plant your greenery, beginning with the largest. If your container has a small opening, use chopsticks. Don’t overplant—your garden needs room to grow.

3. To make the garland, fold a piece of craft paper in half and cut triangles on the crease about ½ to 1 inch long. Lay a string in the crease of the triangles and glue them together. To figure out how much string you need, measure across the terrarium and add about an inch to allow for swag. Attach the garland to the inside of the glass container by sandwiching each end of the string between the wall and a glue dot.

4. Cut 1-inch semicircles from craft paper and roll them into party hats. Trim if needed. Attach the hats to the animals’ heads with a glue dot. Place your animals in and around the terrarium, and get your party started!
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