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3 Easy Steps to Brighten Your Home With a DIY Terrarium

3. Layer your materials.

Much like a lasagna, building a terrarium requires you to layer certain materials to ensure that the plants will get the proper moisture and that water will drain correctly.

Layer 1 (bottom): Pebbles or stones to allow for drainage.
Layer 2: Activated charcoal on top of the stones to keep mold from developing in the terrarium.
Layer 3: An inch or two of potting soil.
Layer 4: Your plants—make sure they all have the same light and moisture requirements.
Layer 5 (top): Decorative elements like stones, figurines, or other inanimate objects. This section is optional and purely for aesthetic purposes.

Here's a handy guide for how to make a terrarium, visualized:

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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