With Christmas coming up on Monday, the little ones will probably be anxiously awaiting Santa Claus’ arrival all weekend. As a way to pass the time, we’ve put together a fun craft for all ages that will result in beautiful creations ready to be used in decorations during the holiday season and throughout the year.
Youth and Outreach Coordinator Kelli Meeker loves doing this project with children who visit the garden. “It’s a fun craft to incorporate horticulture into the holidays,” she says. “You can also keep it alive and growing beyond December as long as you give it a little attention.”
What you’ll need:
Clear plastic or glass Christmas ornaments (found at Michaels, Walmart, Amazon, etc.)
Activated Charcaol (found at pet stores in the aquatic section or online)
Potting soil (found at supermarkets with nursery sections, hardware store, nurseries)
Sphagnum peat moss (found at Home Depot, Amazon, Walmart, etc.)
Club or peacock moss (must be live moss, found at home improvement store in house plant section or at your local nursery)
A spray bottle filled with water
A funnel (can use rolled up paper if you don’t have a funnel)
First, decorate the outside of the ornament however you like. This is a great opportunity for kids to be creative and use a variety of designs. Puff paint, acrylic paint, tacky glue with glitter on top, or markers all work very well. During this step, make sure that there is enough surface area open so that light will come in. To help hold the ornament still, it may be helpful to use a cup as a base instead of holding it the entire time. Give the ornament a short time to dry before proceeding to the next step.
Second, add about 1 tablespoon of the activated charcoal to the inside of the ornament. This is to keep the air clean so the terrarium will stay alive and healthy.
Next, add the potting soil. This provides the medium for the moss to grow properly. Gently shake the soil through your funnel to fill the ornament about a third of the way up.
Up next is the sphagnum peat moss used for moisture retention. You’ll only need about ½ a tablespoon. Try to shake the ornament so that the peat moss is spread evenly across the potting soil.
Now add the moss to the top of the layers. Simply cut pieces off the plant you bought and drop them into the opening of the ornament. It doesn’t matter that they don’t have roots initially because once they come in contact with the soil, roots will be sent down. The moss will also grow to fill the container, so leave some space to be able to watch the moss grow and expand.
Finally, spray with water for about 15 sprays or until you can tell the water is seeping through the soil. You can also use a small water dropper or very carefully use a measuring cup as long as you’re careful not to overwater.
Once you’re done with the layers, let the ornament dry completely on the outside so the design doesn’t get smudged. Finish the ornament with a festive ribbon or rope to use as a hanger. If the ornament is ever turned over, try to bring the moss to the top and the terrarium will continue to thrive. The only time you need to open it up is to spray it with water whenever you notice the potting soil looking light in color.
Find the perfect spot on the Christmas tree to hang your terrarium during the holidays. Once the tree is down, hang or place it in a windowsill or any area where it will receive adequate sunlight.
By Events and Marketing Coordinator Roberta Burns.