Make a light bulb terrarium

I think these light bulb terrariums are really cute. They don't take up a lot of room and don't require a lot of care... perfect for me! It's also a great way to recycle incandescent light bulbs. Here's how to make your own miniature light bulb terrarium.



Pair of long-nose pliers
Flat-head screwdriver
Clean sand (preferably silica or sandpit sand)
Moss (dried or preserved moss)
4 silicone bumpers
Miniature plants
Safety glasses
Cotton gardening gloves




SAFETY FIRST: Wear gloves when working with glass bulbs. Better to be safe than sorry.

First, remove the metal tip from the bottom of the bulb. Using needle-nose pliers, carefully nudge the sides of the metal tip from the black glass part.

Then, when enough of the sides are raised to get a good grip on them, hold one of the sides with your pliers and yank out the metal tip. You will feel a couple little wires snap when you do this. Next remove the black glass. Hold one side of the glass with the pliers and firmly twist up to snap the glass. Repeat around the other sides and pull out any remaining bits of black glass. This glass is pretty thick and will take some force to break it; so be careful and hold onto the bulb firmly.

Now you will be able to see the interior parts of the light bulb. Using the flathead screwdriver as a sort of lever, snap the interior tube from the side. It will make a totally satisfying little sound. Twist the screwdriver around to smash the containing tube. It takes some force to do this; be careful, but also don't be afraid of the bulb itself breaking. It probably won't. Hold tight to the bulb while you do this. Pull out any remaining wires with the pliers. If there are any last bits of glass around the interior edge, break these off with the screwdriver.

And now you have an empty light bulb! That is definitely the hardest part of the endeavor. Next, put adhesive silicone bumpers on the side of the bulb to keep it steady.

We'll use sand as a substrate for the terrarium. The sand should be clean and dry. Put a couple tablespoons of sand into the light bulb. Make this easier by either using a funnel or a folded piece of cardboard.

Cut off a small bit of sheet moss and put in the bulb. Position it using tweezers. Put a tillandsia in the bulb, pushing the smaller end in first. Position the different elements to look nice together and add more moss or rocks if you'd like. It might take some poking to get everything in the right place; be patient and experiment with different arrangements.

For extra fun, tiny toy animals can enliven your terrarium. Any other found objects, like rocks, sticks, marbles, etc., would also be fun. If you prefer to hang your miniature terrarium, use wire and rope to create a hanger.

You can buy light bulb terrariums online at