Category Archives: Tutorial

E(ART)H letters

Today we’ll talk about 2 of my favorite things. In one word. Although I’ve seen the concept of “Art” in “Earth” before, it seems perfectly fitting for me and all that I’ve been studying. The harp (my art) and the environment (…the earth). Plus, it’s so freaking hard to ever decide what word you’re going to spell out when you’re picking out letters at the store, so when I came up with “EARTH” I knew that I had to put it up on my wall.  Is it cheesy? Yes. Do I care? Not even a little.

First of all, I really believe that just seeing the word “EARTH” will remind me that:

1. I’m a miniscule, teeny-tiny, itty-bitty part of a huge planet so:

2. My problems are not that big of a deal and therefore:

3. Take care of the earth because you’re only a constituent of it, not the freaking owner.

and “ART” is one of many experiences that makes my existence meaningful.

So let’s begin! This is extremely easy. I’ve actually been holding onto these letters for a while–I was meaning to do a different project with them (ie using mosaics) but decided to just paint them because honestly who has the time for mosaics nowadays?

E(ART)H at www.ecospired.com

E(ART)H at www.ecospired.com

In progress!

Materials:

  • Paper Mache letters. Made out of 100% recycled paper! You can buy them here (or at any craft store, really).
  • Paint Brushes
  • PAINT!
  • Optional (for easy hanging): elmer’s glue, nails and a hammer.

This project is extremely simple but fun, and also ecospired (naturally! [pun intended])

Materials for Letters at www.ecospired.com Materials for Letters at www.ecospired.com

Directions:

  • Paint letters.
  • Optional: If you’d like to hang the letters like I did, a really easy way is to take off the plastic tab that is glued on the letter. Then, move the tab down half an inch (so the tab doesn’t stick out from the top) and glue it there using elmer’s glue.. Then, you can just hang it from there (using nails and a hammer). I would’ve taken a picture but because the tabs are clear, they don’t show up well.

E(ART)H at www.ecospired.com

E(ART)H Letters at www.ecospired.com

E(ART)H Letters at www.ecospired.com

I’d paint everything gold if I had the chance.

I painted the sides of the “ART” off white to make the letters “pop” off the wall and to give them definition. Don’t ask why I painted “X”s on the E and the H. I wanted to paint polka dots instead but I was too lazy.

E(ART)H Letters at www.ecospired.com

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E(ART)H Letters at www.ecospired.com

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What do you think? Have you jumped on the letters bandwagon yet? Leave me a comment and let me know!

-Daria

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DIY: Chalkboard Pots Tutorial

Chalkboard Pots at Ecospired.comChalkboard-ing has been around for a while, but I hadn’t really hopped on the bandwagon until now. And the reason is pretty silly. I got this chalkboard pencil that literally screamed “ecospired” so loud, that I bought it just to shut it up. That might just be me justifying my purchase. Regardless, I figured that I had to get a chalkboard in order to actually use the pencil, but chalkboards are just soo traditional. Let’s think outside the box, shall we?

Chalk pencil at ecospired.com

I’m obsessed with plants, which is glaringly obvious to anyone who has read a line of this blog. So I decided to paint the rim of my clay pots with chalkboard paint. Clay pots are a lot better for plants than a lot of other pots. They let the plant breathe, and it’s harder to kill the plants if they’re in clay pots (I’ve learned from experience). Also, instead of buying new pots because you’re bored of your decor, you can simply paint them. Woo! So now, I can write obnoxious notes, informational notes, or just reminders. Or inspirational quotes. Allllll over my plants.

This is extremely easy, so run out and get the materials ASAP!

Materials:

  • Chalkboard paint- I got Martha Stewart’s chalkboard paint from JoAnns. Good ol’ Martha.
  • Foam Brush
  • Clay pot
  • Chalk
  • Towel or paper towel
  • Optional: Steel Wool

Chalkboard Pots at Ecospired.com

Directions:

  • Make sure your clay pot is dry and clean.
  • Paint the rim of the pot.
  • Let dry and wait for an hour.
  • Paint a second coat on the rim of the pot.
  • Let dry another hour.
  • Optional*–Rub the dry, painted area with steel wool.
  • Lightly “chalk” the entire painted area to prep it for chalking, and wipe it off with a dry towel.
  • Write messages! Be awesome!

Chalkboard Pots at ecospired.com

 

Chalkboard Pots at Ecospired.com

And…. drumroll…. my favorites!

To-may-to and to-mah-to

To-may-to and to-mah-to! 

 

Whaddya think? Leave me some comments, at the top left of the post!

-Daria

 

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Staghorn Fern Tutorial!

I’m happy to be writing this post today. So many exciting (and terrifying) things have been happening lately and it’s been hard for me to find time to do a tutorial. For example, I’m playing harp in a Capital Cities‘ music video tomorrow (woo)! But, on the other side of the coin, my grandma had a heart attack last night, but thankfully, she’s doing well now. We were extremely lucky, and my world is back in order. When it rains, it pours, right? I wish it’d actually rain here in Los Angeles to spare us from the agony of perpetual sunlight, which I must say can seriously be annoying. I guess I sound like an ungrateful diva, but when you’re born and raised in a sunny place, rain is a luxury. Forgive me!

Back to the post. I love houseplants. First of all, they help clean the air in your home. Did you know that there are likely more toxins inside of your home than out? So much for escaping the pollution by staying in, huh? So today, I’m going to be posting about mounting a Staghorn Fern to the wall, to have a cool way to clean your air (and to have cool, living decorations).

Staghorn Fern tutorial on ecospired.com

I’ve also always liked the idea of “antlers” on the wall but not the actual idea of taking antlers from an animal and putting it on my wall (vegetarian over here!). So, the Staghorn Fern is an great environmentally-friendly option for those of us who like to keep up with the American tradition of antlers on the wall without necessarily harming something in the process. Anthropologie recently had Staghorn ferns on their wall, too. We all know how much I love Anthro!

Another cool, environmentally-friendly option is cardboard cutouts of animal heads or antlers, which you can get on Etsy.

Image Courtesy of Etsy shop "Cardboard Safari"

Image courtesy of Etsy shop “Cardboard Safari”

Apartment Therapy has a great tutorial for this project. I referenced it when doing mine, although I deviated a bit, mostly because I was determined to not have to buy extra supplies (aka leave my apartment).

Check out their tutorial here!

Materials:

  • Staghorn Fern- Check out your local nursery for this. I bought mine for 5 dollars from Sunset Nursery on none other than Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles.
  • Wooden Plaque- I got mine for 3 dollars from JoAnn Fabrics.
  • Wire
  • Sheet Moss
  • Hammer
  • Nails

Total time: 15 minutes

Total cost: Under 20 dollars

Materials for Staghorn Fern  Tutorial

Materials for Staghorn Fern Tutorial

Directions:

1.  Hammer 2 nails into the back of your board and secure wire in-between the 2 nails, as pictured.

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2. Soak your moss in water.

Moss!

Soaking Moss!

3. Hammer 5-6 nails in a “circle” (epic fail pictured below).

Staghorn Fern tutorial on ecospired.com

4. Place your moss on the plaque and secure it onto the plaque with wire (so it won’t fall down).

Staghorn Fern tutorial on ecospired.com

5.  Take your Staghorn Fern out of the pot and gently “break apart” the roots. Basically, you want your fern to be able to attach to your moss. Staghorn Ferns are epiphytes, so they grow off of other things, hence why we can hang them up on the wall.

6. Place your fern on the moss “bed” you’ve created. Then, wrap it in more moss, so the soil/roots are covered. Then, wrap the wire around the plant, while remembering to secure it to the nails too. This will ensure it stays on the board. I don’t have a particular picture of the step, but this is the finished project because it’s the last step!

Staghorn Fern tutorial on ecospired.com

Staghorn Fern tutorial on ecospired.com

Caring for your Fern:

Staghorn Ferns like to “dry out.” In other words, don’t overwater your plant! They’re similar to orchids in this way.  Spray it with water (from a bottle) once a week, or when the roots are actually dry. They like warm temperatures and high humidity. So feel free to hang them inside and spray the leaves with water whenever you feel like it. They’ll love you for it.

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What do you think? Are you tempted to create some living art for your place? Leave me some comments and let me know!

-Daria

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DIY Sea Glass Chandelier!

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

This is by far my favorite DIY that I’ve ever done. I made it by upcycling and using renewable materials, which is how we do it here at Ecospired! I originally saw a sea glass chandelier at none other than Anthropologie (surprise.)but it was about 10 times my budget and not exactly my style. When I find the original picture, I will definitely post it. It’s been a couple of years since then!

I first made a smaller version which you’ll see later on the in post. I like it, but it doesn’t have the BAM and grandeur as the larger chandelier. I’ve kept the small chandelier in my balcony and kept the large one inside.

Warning: This project is very time consuming, but definitely worth it!

Materials:

  • Sea glass! If you don’t have access to get it from the beach, check out Target. They have a bag of sea glass for about 5 dollars. I’d suspect that you’d need 1 of their bags to make the small chandelier, but more for the larger one.
  • Wire: I bought 24 gauge steel galvanized wire from Home Depot. 24 gauge is sturdy yet easily maleable.
  • Pliers: not completely necessary, but will make your life easier.
  • Wire cutters
  • Metal hoops (1 or 2, depending on size of project- look for picture below)
  • Beads, fake crystals, real crystals, whatever!
  • twine, rope or yarn–whatever you prefer.
  • mason jar
  • candle to fit in mason jar
  • Optional: hot glue gun
  • **If you plan to hang it, make sure to get a sturdy, appropriate ceiling hook.  If you go to your local hardware store, they can help you find the right one. 
Some of the tools you're going to need.

Some of the tools you’re going to need.

Metal hoops from JoAnn Fabrics.

Metal hoops from JoAnn Fabrics.

Here's the ceiling hook I used, as well as how I made the top not.

Here’s the ceiling hook I used, as well as how I made the top not.

Directions:

The trickiest part is getting the sea glass to stay secure within the wire. This took me a while to get! I don’t happen to have any extra sea glass hanging around or I’d show you. One trick I do have is to use your hot glue gun to glue the wire to the glass on the back (don’t do it on the front- it looks pretty ghetto). Leave me a comment and let me know if you’d like me to make a little video about how to secure the pieces on the wire. Here’s a picture of the front and back of one piece. See how I created two loops on either side?

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

Front

Back!

Back!

Basically, the point is to create a string of sea glass and beads, crystals, or whatever else you choose. However you manage to do it is great! You might consider drilling holes into the glass..which might be difficult too. Let me know if you have other ideas!

Once you’ve made one link, you need to make a few more. For each strand of mine, I have 3 white sea glass pieces, 1 green piece, one green bead and a “crystal”. Make a LOT of these strands. For my large chandelier, I have about 40 strands!

Secure the top of the strand of sea glass to the hoop, working around in a circle. I didn’t like the look of the bare metal (also one of my hoops happened to be gold, and the other silver) so I wrapped them in twine. Space the strands as close or far apart as you’d like. I wanted mine to be less of a wind chime and more of a chandelier, so I made sure they didn’t touch.

Once you’ve created a basic round of sea glass strands for one or both of your hoops, it’s time to secure the mason jar and candle. Wrap the top part of the mason jar with wire really tightly with 2 different pieces of long wire. Make 2 wire “handles” (or wires sticking out) so that you can secure them to the hoop.Then, secure it onto the smallest hoop and let it hang slightly lower.

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

Your last step will be to take three or four long pieces of string (or wire) to hang up the chandelier. I picked three strings because it looks less cluttered. Make sure your chandelier is even and not lopsided!

View from the top!

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DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

Here’s the baby one! It hangs out outside.

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

View from the bottom

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

DIY Sea Glass Chandelier by Ecospired.com

That’s all there is to it! I realllllly hope you try this project out yourself. It’s seriously one of the big reasons why I chose to start this blog in the first place. If you do try this DIY, please provide a link to my blog and send me pictures too! I’ll post them for the world to see. 😉

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I want to give a special thanks to one of my best friends, Melanie Lancon, for giving me every single piece of sea glass that I’ve used for this chandelier  She used to live in Santa Barbara and spent years collecting all of these pieces. When she moved, she gave me a sht ton of them! Thanks Mel! 😉

Please feel free to pin it, share it, and try it out yourself! To leave a comment, look on the top left corner of this post, next to the title.

-Daria

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I’ve Got Worms… in my Compost! (DIY Vermicomposting)

You saw that title coming, didn’t you? Well, I’m finalllly going to be writing about Vermicomposting today.

Composting is very environmentally friendly and great for your garden. Here are a couple of reasons why:

  • It reduces the amount of trash we’re sending to the landfill while using up organic waste.
  • It helps the soil hold onto water more efficiently–poor quality soil leads to higher amounts of water runoff. 
  • It is a natural form of fertilizer for your garden, reducing the need for artificial chemicals and fertilizers. Fertilizer runoff is a huge issue for bodies of water, leading to eutrophication. Simply said, it can lead to algal blooms that deplete the oxygen levels in water, which kills off life in the water, leading to dead zones.
  • Plants need nitrogen in order to properly function. Composting provides these nutrients and microboes to help the plants grow.
  • Composting helps to prevent soil erosion, balance pH levels and promote healthy root and overall plant structure! 

There are a lot of different kinds of composting, but I wanted a type of composting that was urban-space friendly, compact, and didn’t smell/attract other bugs. Vermicomposting is faster than regular composting because you have more concentrated forces of nature decomposing and “processing” the composting material (ie: the worms). It’s super easy to do. Also, I wanted some pets for the apartment. 🙂

SO! I went to this awesome Vermicomposting workshop put on by USC’s Sustainability Office, via their Urban Garden.  If you’re around the LA area and you’d like to be a part of an awesome project, volunteer at their garden on Fridays from 9am to 1pm!

Materials needed: 

  • 2 buckets (from a hardware store) 
    • Home Depot’s 5 Gallon Bucket works for this. I originally used 2 of the 5 gallon BPA-free, food safe containers, but it didn’t fit under my sink! I went back and bought 2 of the 2 gallon buckets instead. 
  • 1 bucket lid 
  • Red Wriggler worms 
    • Most nurseries will have them, or you can buy them online. This worm in particular is great for vermicomposting. You can get a huge amount of them for about $20.
  • Something that can be used to poke holes into the plastic
    • I HIGHLY recommend using an electric drill for this. I will take only 2 minutes to poke the holes in the bucket, as opposed to 45 minutes with a hammer and nail. Trust me on this. 
  • Shredded paper (just make sure it’s not glossy paper)
  • 1/2 a cup of water

Directions:

  • Drill/Poke about 15-20 holes in the lid of your bucket
  • Drill/Poke about 15-20 holes in one of your buckets (only 1!)
  • Stack the bucket with holes in it on top of the bucket without holes. 
  • Place the shredded paper in the top bucket with the holes. 
  • Pour enough water on top of the shredded paper to make it slightly moist. 
  • Dump the worms on top of the shredded paper
  • Add scraps! (Read here for more information about what scraps to put in your bin… this part is important!)

Here are the buckets! I also made a smaller version:

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These are “Food grade, heavy duty, BPA free” which I liked. The smaller buckets aren’t.

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Here are the holes on the lid.  I’ll trust that you can imagine how holes will look in the top bucket.

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Here are the 2 gallon buckets stacked on top of each other with the lid on top.

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Here’s how it looks with scrap material in there.

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Here’s the great part. Try to not be grossed out by this entire process because the compost is seriously good for your plants and for the environment. The holes in the top bucket will allow the worm’s pee to go into the bottom container. Whenever you feel like it, take this pee and dilute it with water in your watering can and feed your plants! Your plants will grow like weeds and be more vibrant. After a couple of months, you’ll get composted material in your main bucket to add to your garden!

If you get mold at any point, add more paper scraps, and let your compost air out a little. If it starts to smell, it may mean that you’re putting too many scraps for the worms to handle- so either add worms or lessen your scraps!

Let me know if you have any questions, and let me know if you make one too! It’s such a great way to compost in a little apartment. I love feeding my new pets with my trash!

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DIY with Glass & Mod Podge

This is a super easy DIY project!

More Jars

All you need is:

  • Mod Podge (matte or glossy)
  • glass jars
  • magazine/paper cut outs
  • foam brush or paintbrush
  • Optional:
    • glitter
    • hole puncher
    • twine/string
    • hot glue gun

If you haven’t read my longggg ordeal about how cool and recyclable glass is on my Terrarium Tutorial Time post, I’ll briefly mention it here.  Basically, glass is infinitely recyclable and a great way to package foods because glass doesn’t interact with the food in the way of giving off harmful chemicals to your food. Glass recycling is a closed-loop system that doesn’t give off waste by-products. Another bonus!

So take your empty marinara and jam jars and let’s upcycle them!

First of all, here are the basic materials you’ll need to start this project:

Materials for Mod Podge and Jars

Directions:

  • Dip your brush into some Mod Podge. I decided to use glossy Mod Podge this time around so the cutouts looked more like a part of the glass.
  • “Paint” a large portion of the glass with a thick layer of mod-podge.
  • Place your cutouts on the wet Mod Podge and try to carefully smooth out bubbles with your fingers
  • Paint over your cutouts with Mod Podge (don’t worry, it will turn out clear, I promise!)
  • Let it dry! If you’d like, you could do another coat.

I made this one by hole-punching magazine cut outs. Loooove polka dots!

Polka dot jar

This is the other side of the goldfish jar. I love goldfish. The text aptly says “Lighten Up.” I used string to hide the screwtop-jar opening for this one.

Lighten Up

I made these two a while ago. They’re a bit cheesy…

Other jars

Tips:

  • Mod Podge dries really quickly, so work fast! Don’t attempt to paint the entire thing, but work in parts.
  • Stick your hand in the jar to hold it in place as you work.
  • Let it dry in between coats
  • Mod Podge is water resistant but not water proof. AKA, it can get wet, but don’t soak it! That’s why it’s important to really clean out your jar beforehand.
  • Magazine paper is really thin, which can make the cutouts translucent in the light. If you’re not cool with this, back them with solid color paper.

Other Ideas:

  • You can print out your favorite quotes and stick them on. Also, try layering your cutouts for a cool effect.
  • You could use this to label your jars for organizing or decorations for a candle jar.
  • You can Mod-Podge the lid too!
  • If you don’t like the screw top of the open jar, try wrapping it in twine or rope with a glue.

Send me pictures of your projects! Have fun upcycling!

-D

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Annnnd Another Terrarium

Sooo.. on this beautiful Saturday afternoon, I decided to make another terrarium. This time, I wanted to experiment with mosses and lichens. I’m prettttty sure that what I used included lichens, too. I bought this bag of “moss” at JoAnns, but I’m just not sure. Does anyone really know the difference by looking?

Check out my other terrarium tutorial for more info about how to assemble it. But seriously, it’s so freaking easy, I trust that you won’t mess it up. 😉

So here are the materials I used (except I forgot to include the soil, which isn’t actually 100% necessary):

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Here’s a really janky picture of the selection of mosses at JoAnn (does anyone else think it sounds stupid as JoAnn Fabrics? like it should definitely be “JoAnns” and everyone says JoAnns anyway. Kind of like “Nordstrom” vs “Nordstroms”…) BTW- download the JoAnn app for your phone and you can get all the deals there. I got the moss for like 3 bucks (I felt like an ass taking 40% off the one item I was buying at the store, but whatevssss). I learned the app tip from the blog www.radicalpossibility.com which by the way, is HYSTERICAL so you should definitely read it. I want to be friends with her like… sooo bad.

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And this is the one I specifically got:

IMG_2335Soooo- put the activated charcoal first (or gravel first), then the gravel, then the soil, then the moss. Add water and BOOM– you’re done.

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Make sure not to put these babies in direct sunlight or you will have fried moss and I’m pretty they’re not edible soooo what a waste hmm?

Send me photos if you’ve made one too!

-Daria

 

 

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Terrarium Tutorial Time!

I LOVE plants. Adore them. Very much an obsession of mine (I think I’ve made my point). Have you seen my instagram? It’s literally all I talk about and I’m pretty sure no one cares. Whatevs. So that brings me to…

…Terrariums, as they’ve become popular over the years, are great ways to bring green into your place. I especially like having plants in my apartment because I live in LA, and the only outdoor area attached to my apartment is a little balcony. And trust me, every inch of it is already filled with plants.

Succulents, as well as mosses and ferns, make great plants for your terrarium. As much as I love succulents, I REALLY like mosses and ferns, so that’s what I’ll be doing today.  This is my way of bringing aspects of the Pacific Northwest to my LA apartment. Feeble attempt, but what’s a girl gotta do?

So for this terrarium, I decided to go with a closed container, which creates the humid environment that is ideal for mosses and ferns.  An open container (so, one without the lid in case that wasn’t obvious) is ideal for succulents that prefer drier environments.

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I forbid you for judging me for using instagram for these pictures. The coolest thing about my camera is that is attached to my phone…sooo- sorry blogosphere, for not having a Canon 239439848 NADFSDF or a Nikon 454935455 WFDSx (I’m such a newb, I can’t even properly BS this subject…)

So this is what we’ll need:

  • Gravel/pebbles
  • Soil
    • Make sure it doesn’t have fertilizer (or at least not a lot). You don’t want your plants to outgrow their container!
  • Activated charcoal/carbon– you can find this anywhere that they sell fish/fish supplies (not the kind you eat…)!
    • Why activated charcoal? The charcoal helps lessen the chance of buildup of microorganisms (such as algae) and helps clean the air in the terrarium for your plant to breathe. It provides a minimal amount of carbon for your plant, because plants need CO2 (flashback to biology class). Activated charchoal is particularly necessary for closed containers.
  • A glass container
  • Moss
    • You can find this at Home Depot/Lowes. I actually got a mixed bag of all different mosses from JoAnn crafts.
  • Plants, such as ferns
    • I found mine at Home depot, and mine is a maidenhair fern, which cost about $3. Ferns & mosses do really well in highly humid environments and they grow pretty slowly. You could also do succulents. I wouldn’t choose fast growing succulents (such as Jade), but focus on small ornamental succulents that you can find at Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart, etc…

Here’s the activated charcoal/carbon I bought from Petco. It’s $7 and more than enough.

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TADA!!!

Terrarium

Care for your terrarium:

For your closed terrarium, you rarely need to water it! Like… once a month. For a succulent terrarium (that’s open), like… once a week.

That’s a relatively large container as far as terrariums go, but I wanted something that was tall enough for the Maidenhair fern that I’m using.  This container is also made of 100% recycled glass. Glass is quite possibly one of my favorite materials for DIY projects.  It’s pretty, long-lasting and cheap. Loves it!

Did you know…?

  • Glass is infinitely recyclable. It doesn’t lose its quality over time, which is what makes it so environmentally friendly! HOW COOL!!! 
  • Glass if made of quartz sand, soda ash and limestone. It is made naturally in the environment by things like lightning & volcanoes.
  • The turnover time of recycling glass & having it out in stores can be as little as a month! That’s awesome and very efficient.
  • A glass bottle that is sent to a landfill can take up to a million years to break down. Recycle that sh*t!
  • For every ton of glass recycled, 1,300 pounds of sand, 410 pounds of soda ash, 380 pounds of limestone, and 160 pounds of feldspar are saved.
  • Recycling glass produces NO by-products because glass recycling is a closed-loop system. This means that it creates no waste, which is definitely environmentally friendly.
  • Glass has a longer shelf life than any other packaging material. Beat that, plastic.

Side note: When I was picking out this glass container, I clumsily dropped on the floor, like an idiot. It literally BOUNCED on the wood floor, and didn’t break or even crack! I figured that buying this jar was fate, a fool-proof choice and perfect for my idiocy.

Wasn’t that FUN? I’ll keep you all updated, unless of course, my whole terrarium rots and in THAT case… jk it better not.

It’s so easy, you’ve gotta try it. It’s seriously fool-proof. Send me pictures of your final project!

-Daria

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