Make a Terrarium With a Repurposed Light Fixture

Breathe new life into an outdated light fixture with this stylish DIY.

Repurposed Light Fixture Terrarium

Breathe life into an outdated light fixture. A quick cleaning and paint job prepare it for its new job as a terrarium.

Gather the Materials

You will need: glass shade light fixture (we found ours at a thrift store) / wire cutters / pliers / razor blade / window cleaner / paper towels / steel wool / painter's tape / spray primer /paint / plant pot tray (diameter should be close to widest part of glass shade) / gravel / potting soil / dwarf house plants suitable for terrariums / decorative rocks, mosses, and figurines / water.

Masking and painting

Begin by removing electrical parts from the light fixture (retain the all thread piece to re-attach the finial after painting). Thoroughly clean glass panes with window cleaner and razor blade. Clean frame with steel wool. Then mask off any holes in the top of the shade from the inside to prevent paint from getting on the inside of the shade. Mask all glass on the outside of the shade. Prime/paint the shade frame and finial pieces according to manufacturer's directions.

Remove the Masking

After paint has dried, carefully remove all masking. Clean up any bleed marks with a razor blade and window cleaner. Re-attach finial pieces.

Choosing the plants

Choose a variety of plants based on height, color and texture. Make sure the plants have similar lighting and watering requirements: Here, a collection of high-humidity plants that can thrive in indirect light—including Peperomia, ferns and nerve plant—will grow well together in the closed terrarium environment. Succulents and cacti need drier conditions—choose an open container.

Add the Gravel

Your plant pot tray should NOT have any drainage holes. Instead, add a 2" layer of gravel to serve as drainage.

Add the Potting Soil

Add 3-4 inches of potting soil. If additional height is needed, build a retaining wall around the perimeter of the terrarium base with decorative rocks.

Add Your Plants

Dig a small hole where the plant will go. Remove the plant from the container, gently loosen root structure and place in the hole. Look at your work from all angles.

Add Decorative Touches

Add mosses, rocks and figurines as desired to complete your look.

Water the Plants

Water soil completely, then mist the plants. For maintenance, add water when soil become dry by misting plants.

Better Than New

An outdated light fixture gets a new life as a terrarium in this garden craft win-win.