summer tablescape diy terrarium project

Create a modern summer tablescape that pops and plant your own fern terrarium with this DIY guide from Alison of Alison of Deuce Cities Henhouse!

Alison is constantly updating her 100-year-old home, and her blog is full of fun craft projects that are perfect for DIY beginners.

Read on for Alison’s step-by-step guide, including how to plant your own fern terrarium!

how to make a modern summer tablescape

“The heart and soul of any good tablescape is, of course, the centerpiece. This one packs a lot of punch and can be set up or taken down in a matter of seconds.” – Alison Allen

diy painted candleholder centerpiece west elm

Glass Candle Sleeve
• Acryllic Paint
• Painter’s Tape
• 2″ Sponge or Brissle Brush

diy candle holder project west elm

    1. About 3″ from the base of the sleeve, wrap the inside of glass with painter’s tape. I found it worked best to tear the tape into apprx 3″ strips. You’ll drive yourself crazy trying to wrangle a piece of tape any longer than that inside the sleeve. The key to this look is painting the inside of the sleeve instead of the outside. It gives it a glossy and finished look from the outside.
    Although this project is extremely easy, it will take a little time. Be prepared to add four coats of pink paint to your sleeve, this means a 1-2 hour dry time between coats. So don’t think you’re gonna cram this all in over the course of an afternoon!

diy project deuce cities hen house west elm

    2. After all your paint is dry, use a straight edge razor blade or exacto knife to ensure a crisp paint line. Run the blade along the edge of the tape using the tape edge as a guide. Gently pull the tape away and clean up any smudges with a damp paper towel. A ton of color and a super modern look for your table!

stained wood terrarium project

“Terrariums are great and bring a lot of life to any tablescape. I use them all the time in lieu of flowers.” – Alison Allen

Wood Base Terrarium
• Teak Oil
• 2″ Sponge Brush
• Lint-Free Cloth

what you need to stain mango wood

    1. The process for adding the teak oil is so incredibly easy that you might be inspired enough to add a coat of teak oil to your entire patio set or other loved wood furniture. Make sure to apply the oil in a well-ventilated area to avoid getting a vapor buzz. I recommend using a sponge brush, but a lint-free cloth would work just as well.

staining teak terrarium diy

    2. Let the oil sit for 20 minutes and use a clean cloth to remove excess oil. If so desired, repeat the process again to achieve a slightly darker finish.

how to plant your fern terrarium


“Ferns and mosses do great in a closed terrarium because the love high humidity. You would not want to plant a succulent or other desert plant in a closed terrarium. You’ll want your closed terrarium to make a home where it’s not in direct sunlight, but is able to get a little sunshine.” – Alison Allen

how to plant a terrarium

    Layer 1 & 2, Sand and Pebbles for Drainage:
    You need adequate drainage to make your ferns and mosses happy, so having a layer of pebbles or sand and pebbles is key. I used white river rock in my terrarium. For this terrarium I layered the sand and soil about an inch per layer.

making your own fern terrarium

    Layer 3, Activated Charcoal:
    You will need to place a thin layer of activated charcoal on top of the drainage layer. The charcoal helps to purify the terrarium and fights against mold.

activated charcoal for terrariums diy

    Layer 4, Soil:
    For ferns and mosses I like to use regular potting soil. Keep the soil deep enough to plant the root balls of your ferns and mosses. I added about 3″ of soil to my terrarium.

terrarium project diy west elm

    Layer 5, Ferns and Mosses:
    Pick an assortment of ferns and mosses, but make sure they all have the same soil and watering requirements as they will be coexisting together in the same environment. I choose four small plants for my terrarium.

how to make your own terrarium

    Layer 6, Rocks & Pebbles:
    I like to add a few stones and pebbles in the last layer to add some texture and interest. This step isn’t necessary, but it makes everything look cooler. Once you have watered your terrarium you should be able to let it sit and flourish. It will rarely need more water as long as the top stays on.

how much to water fern terrarium

Thanks Alison!

See more of Alison’s projects on her blog, Deuce Cities Henhouse, and see more DIY projects right here on Front + Main.

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June 4, 2013

love that neon pink with the wood accents.


June 4, 2013

What great ideas Alison!


June 5, 2013


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