How To Make a Light Bulb Terrarium

Inspired by the terrariums from Emily’s post, 10 Ways To Repurpose Light Bulbs, I decided to make my own. Utilizing some resources on the web, I was able to whip out the above light bulb terrarium in about an hour, salvaging an old bulb from work (thankfully they’ve all been replaced by CFLs), borrowing some crushed rock from my patio, and finally a little plant material from the nursery.

While there are other light bulb terrariums out there, I wanted to see if I could make one for myself. If this isn’t enough, do checkout the great how-to at TheHipsterHome created by Juliette, the person behind the beautiful terrariums at

What You Need

An old light bulb (clear is easier but you CAN make a white one clear)
Fake moss
Plant material

Flat head screw driver
Rubber Gloves
Safety Glasses
A bowl or cardboard box
Napkin ring

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)


1. Setup your work space. Place a cardboard box or a piece of paper down on your work surface to catch the debris (there is a lot, and it comes in the form of glass shards!). Put on your gloves and safety glasses.

2. Remove the metal tip. A napkin ring helps hold the light bulb in place. Begin by removing the metal tip from the bottom of the bulb using the pliers. Once you catch the side, you can grab a hold of it and pull it out.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

3. Remove the black glass nub. This is by far the hardest step. You have to crush the black piece of glass with your pliers. It took me a good five minutes to get my pliers to catch and once they did, another few minutes to pull all the black glass out.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

4. Remove the innards. Once you break the black glass, it’s time to take out the guts. Take a flat head screw driver and insert it into the bulb. Bending the handle down, snap off the inside glass pipe. Rotate the bulb and snap off the remaining glass insides. Careful not to break the bulb, but it should feel pretty solid.

*If your lightbulb isn’t clear, you can make it so by following the steps on this website: DIY Hollow Out A Light Bulb.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

5. Add sand and plant material. The best part of all. Begin by adding some sand as a base. About 3-4 tablespoons will do depending on the size of your bulb. (You can either purchase it at the store, or get some at the beach.) According to Juliette however, if you get beach sand, you should thoroughly wash and dry it. Add plant material next using the tweezers, and any other charms or special nick-knacks. There is a great list of “Do’s and Don’ts” when it comes to what to put in your terrarium. Here are the biggest, but I’d head over to the Hipster Home for the rest of them.

  • Do use sand or small pebbles.
  • Do use air plants that don’t need water.
  • Do give your terrarium some water.
  • Don’t use live moss, it’s too picky to survive in this environment. Instead use preserved moss.
  • Don’t use soil.
  • Don’t keep your terrarium in the dark.
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

See more How To posts
We’re looking for great examples of your own household intelligence too!
Submit your own tutorials or ideas here!