How to Make a Sand Art Terrarium

Make a colorful sand art terrarium with blogger Stephanie Rose, author of Garden Made.

Photo By: Stephanie Rose/Roost Books ©From Garden Made by Stephanie Rose, © 2015 by Stephanie Rose. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com

Photo By: Stephanie Rose/Roost Books ©From Garden Made by Stephanie Rose, © 2015 by Stephanie Rose. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com

Photo By: Stephanie Rose/Roost Books ©From Garden Made by Stephanie Rose, © 2015 by Stephanie Rose. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com

Photo By: Stephanie Rose/Roost Books ©From Garden Made by Stephanie Rose, © 2015 by Stephanie Rose. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com

Photo By: Stephanie Rose/Roost Books ©From Garden Made by Stephanie Rose, © 2015 by Stephanie Rose. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com

Photo By: Stephanie Rose/Roost Books ©From Garden Made by Stephanie Rose, © 2015 by Stephanie Rose. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com

Photo By: Stephanie Rose/Roost Books ©From Garden Made by Stephanie Rose, © 2015 by Stephanie Rose. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com

Photo By: Stephanie Rose/Roost Books ©From Garden Made by Stephanie Rose, © 2015 by Stephanie Rose. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com

Photo By: Stephanie Rose/Roost Books ©From Garden Made by Stephanie Rose, © 2015 by Stephanie Rose. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com

Photo By: Stephanie Rose/Roost Books ©From Garden Made by Stephanie Rose, © 2015 by Stephanie Rose. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com

Photo By: Winston J. Goretsky/African Violet Society of America

Photo By: Stephanie Rose/Roost Books ©From Garden Made by Stephanie Rose, © 2015 by Stephanie Rose. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com

Photo By: Stephanie Rose/Roost Books ©From Garden Made by Stephanie Rose, © 2015 by Stephanie Rose. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com

Sand Art + Plants

Sand art terrariums are one of 40 easy-to-do projects in Stephanie Rose’s book Garden Made: A Year of Seasonal Projects to Beautify Your Garden and Your Life. They're charming additions to a tabletop, especially when used for a wedding or bridal or baby shower. When selecting the plants for this project, be sure to use those with similar light and water requirements.

Garden Made by Stephanie Rose

Terrariums take on a new twist in Garden Made: A Year of Seasonal Projects to Beautify Your Garden and Your Life, by Vancouver author Stephanie Rose. Rose, who blogs about gardening, cooking and crafting at Garden Therapy, adds layers of colored sand to her glass gardens. Although sand art has been around since the '70s, it feels fresh and trendy when used with your favorite mini houseplants. 

Terrarium Supplies

To make the terrarium, you’ll need these materials: florist foam / a knife / a glass vase / colored sand / a paintbrush / a cloth / and assorted miniature tropical plants that will fit in your container.

Floral Foam

Begin by using a sharp knife to cut the florist foam so that it will fit into your vase.

Arranging the Floral Foam

Make sure the foam isn’t too thick. When the potted plant is placed on top of it, the plant shouldn’t stick out above the top of the vase.

Adding Colored Sand

“Pour one color of sand around the foam to hold it in place,” Rose says.

Layers of Colored Sand

Now add a layer of sand in a different color. Repeat until the sand comes to the top of the florist foam.

Arranging the Plant

Place the plant, still in its pot, on top of the foam. For this terrarium, Rose used a cyclamen, shown here (Hypoestes phyllostachya ‘Pink’) and Phyllitis scolopendrium (not shown). Janit Calvo, author of Gardening in Miniature and owner of Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center, says mosses, miniature African violets, 'Needlepoint' English ivy (Hedera helix ‘Needlepoint’) and dwarf or miniature ferns can grow well in open terrariums with bright, indirect light. 

Covering the Plant Roots With Sand

Use the end of the paintbrush to hold the leaves out of the way, Rose says, and add more layers of colored sand until the plant's roots are covered. Use the brush bristles to gently sweep away any sand or sand dust from the plant and the inside and outside of the container. 

Maintaining a Sand Art Terrarium

Trim your plant as needed to maintain its size, and remove any flowers when they fade.

Miniature Plants for Terrariums

Many small plants will grow in a terarrium. Janit Calvo, author of Gardening in Miniature and owner of Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center, suggests mosses, miniature African violets, 'Needlepoint' English ivy (Hedera helix ‘Needlepoint’) and dwarf or miniature ferns. Shown here: African violet 'Pixie Blue', a miniature trailer. 

Caring for a Terrarium

“For a longer-lasting terrarium, give your plant lots of room to grow,” Rose says. “If the plant’s roots are crowded in the pot it was purchased in, pot it up into the largest container that still fits inside the vase.”

Watering a Terrarium

Rose suggests watering your terrarium with a dropper or turkey baster, or try “a watering can with a thin spout that can direct the water to the soil just under the leaves.” The absorbent florist foam will take up the excess water. Trim back plants as flowers fade or leaves grow tall.