What should I put in my terrarium?
July 15, 2015 11:23 AM   Subscribe

I'm planning to buy a terrarium like the one pictured here for my office.

I admired one I saw in another person's office a few years ago, and thought it would be a nice decorative piece for my own office. I don't want to put in a plant, a goldfish, or candy/food, but other than those exclusions, I'm a little stuck for ideas, as I don't just want it to sit empty. I think there's a few ways to approach it, with one being many exact copies of the same item, a bunch of different variants on the same item, or a random assortment of different items. Please help me fill my terrarium.
posted by Big Chief Little Pants to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm confused. A terrarium by definition is container for growing plants (usually sealed but wikipedia says open containers can also be called terrariums.

Are you looking for some decorative but not living to place in a beautiful glass dish? In that case, I would suggest sand and sea shells or a rock garden.
posted by metahawk at 11:33 AM on July 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

I would be tempted to fill it with model train people. Just heaps of them. Big bowl of people. Right to the brim if my budget allowed it. Yup.
posted by phunniemee at 11:42 AM on July 15, 2015 [11 favorites]

posted by Confess, Fletch at 11:50 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Marbles, pennies, or buttons look good in glass containers.

Or you could do a layered sand art thing.

Sea glass would look cool and be in keeping with the driftwood look of it.

Or if you like hunting and collecting, you could aim for a theme or just a 'whimsy' thing and slowly collect and fill the jar with whatever piques your interest: seashell from a trip to the beach, beads from a broken necklace, lucky pennies, etc.
posted by carrioncomfort at 11:53 AM on July 15, 2015

Sand, rocks, and some animals/people like the Toobs collections you can find at JoAnns or Michael's to create a fun scene.
posted by rhapsodie at 12:08 PM on July 15, 2015

Nice glass bowl. What do you want to look at? What do you want other people to see when they look at it? What couldn't you put in it, is the question. Do you collect Star Wars figures? Miniature chairs? Coins? Matchbooks? What about things that are indigenous to your area or things you collected in your travels? Shells, rocks, tree branches, feathers, dried mushrooms, pebbles, things like that. Do you not want to put a plant in it because you don't want to take care of plants? Because moss and air plants are gorgeous in terrariums and require hardly any care.

I love old Christmas-y mercury balls and Shiny Brite sorts of ornaments so if I had one that's probably what I would put in it.
posted by the webmistress at 1:48 PM on July 15, 2015

I've had fun with blown out natural eggs and persevered insects
posted by The Whelk at 2:36 PM on July 15, 2015

In a kind-of-but-not-really fusion of The Whelk's two ideas, I'm partial to cicada shells, myself.
posted by DingoMutt at 3:03 PM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Wow, we also collect and display cicada shells. They keep remarkably well.
posted by dreamphone at 4:49 PM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

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