This DIY project stemmed from those vintage shopping moments of,
"Oooh! This item is fantastic except for (fill in the blank with some unsightly detail)."
We've all experienced this moment:
While treasure hunting, you stumble across the perfect vintage dress/home decor/jewelry, only to discover that it features some deal-breaking stain/defect/smell or otherwise unfortunate aspect.
In the case of these lovely glass & brass jewelry boxes, it's the tacky "stained glass" red rose lids that turned me off.
My clever husband, however, found a way to salvage this otherwise lovely jewelry box by removing the lid and transforming it into a beautiful little terrarium for my desk.
This is hands down one of my favorite Christmas gifts.
I'm sharing his idea (with a few tweaks), so you can make your own charming little jewelry box terrarium.
Are you ready? Let's do this!
You will need:
vintage glass & brass jewelry box
decorative white aquarium pebbles
pretty stones & bits of moss (optional)
wire clippers and sandpaper (not shown)
I spot these jewelry boxes regularly at thrift stores, but never took one home because of the gaudy lids.
Your first task is to remove said lid.
Fold the lid back, slide the wire clippers between the hinges, and snip the pin holding it in place.
Pull out the pin and remove the lid.
You can remove the hinges with the wire clippers as well, then sand away any sharp spots.
As you can see in the first photo, the area of the removed hinge is not brass colored and is slightly noticeable.
Personally, this doesn't bother me.
However, if you aren't a fan, you can use brass-toned acrylic paint to cover the bare spots.
The terrarium Patrick made is lovely, but not waterproof.
Whenever I water it, I set it on a stack of paper towels to absorb any excess water leaking through the cracks.
To resolve this issue, use a Q-tip to coat all the seams with a few layers of E-6000 glue.
Allow the glue to dry completely in the sun.
**note - even with the E-6000 seal, this terrarium still had a leak, but it was tiny and not nearly as messy as the original.
I suggest placing a folded paper towel under the terrarium the first few times you water it to prevent damaging the surface below.***
Now we are ready to build the actual terrarium.
Begin with a thin layer of gravel.
I found the process of placing the succulent in the terrarium frustrating and messy, and I didn't love the outcome, so I came up with this technique:
Use scrap cardboard to make a tube approximately the same diameter as the base of your plant.
Do not tape the tube, just hold it with your hands and
place in the center of the planter.
Add the layer of soil (your most substantial layer) and then spread the white aquarium rocks on the surface, leaving the space inside the cardboard tube empty for the plant.
Remove the succulent from the pot and place inside the cardboard tube.
Carefully tug the cardboard tube out of the jewelry box.
Place bits of moss and pretty rocks around your succulent.
Most of the little rocks in my desk terrarium were gifts from students, found on the playground or their walk to school.
This planter would be a lovely addition to an office desk, a living room bookshelf, as a dining table centerpiece, or really anywhere that needs a touch of green.
If this post has you excited about terrariums,
here are a few other tutorials you may enjoy: