How To Make a Decorative Terrarium with a Resin Animal Skull
Have you every found yourself looking longingly at the beautiful terrariums full of dead things and flowers while scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram?
Why not make one yourself?
Everything in this tutorial aside from the replica beaver skull were purchased at a local craft store. Replica skulls can be found here. They're easy to work with as they aren't delicate and they don't have any funky dead smell.
You'll need a few things to get started:
- A Glass and Metal Terrarium. I used a front opening version, but any style will work as long as your items can fit through the opening.
- Faux Moss. The type that comes in a roll or mat I find easier to work with.
- Faux Flowers. Choose whatever types and colors of flowers you like, but I do recommend getting some smaller flowers and one stem like the orchid that I used so you can get some height in your layout.
- Ribbon. Anything around one inch wide will do, but wired is easiest to work with. I used about two yards.
- Small Feathers. Any pretty fluffy feathers will do, but try for around two to four inches long. (I forgot to put these in the photo. Oops.)
- A Replica Skull. I chose a beaver skull for this as it's a little on the smaller side without being tiny, and it has really interesting features.
- A Pair of Scissors.
Cut two pieces of faux moss, each the size of the base inside the terrarium.
If it's tricky to measure the inside, just cut one a little bit bigger than you think you'll need so you can put it inside and see where you need to trim to get a snug fit. Then use that piece as a template for the second piece.
Set one of the pieces flat inside of the terrarium so it completely covers the bottom, then roll the second piece so it's folded in half, but the seam is hidden on the underside. Set that piece inside the terrarium against the back wall. This will give two levels to the floor of your terrarium.
Now let's pose the replica animal skull.
Most animal skulls look more interesting when the mouth is propped open to show the teeth. With the beaver skull I used, I set the mandible in at a slight diagonal from the cranium so that I could use the back part of the mandible to hold up the cranium.
Depending on the species you choose and the look you're going for, you can also employ a small rock or stick to lift the cranium and keep the mouth open.
You might need to play with it to get it to look right and stay where you want it, but I think that's kind of the fun part. Try putting it in one corner rather than dead center. (See what I did there?) It's a lot easier with a replica skull since real skulls are so delicate.
Once you're happy with your skull placement, take three small flowers, remove them from their stems if necessary, and cluster them in the front two corners of the terrarium. I put the largest and smallest together in the front corner closest to the skull, and the mid sized flower in the other front corner.
Clustering like this keeps the natural feel of the terrarium. When things are all evenly spaced out, they tend to look more artificial and I think that terrariums should look like you captured a little piece of forest.
Grab a few of your small fluffy feathers. I ended up using three, but play with it and see what looks best to you. Stick the ends behind the flower in the front of the terrarium on the opposite side from the skull.
I also chose black and white feathers to go with the other muted colors in this terrarium and the spots add a little visual interest without being distracting.
Now let's fill some of that vertical space with a faux flower sprig.
I have a fondness for orchids and I liked how this green and pink orchid complimented the bright green of the moss and the pale pink of the small flowers on front.
Stick the flower sprig vertically in the back corner opposite of the skull so that it arches over the other items in the terrarium. You might need to bend the wire in the stem a bit to get it to sit how you want.
Once your satisfied with the interior of your terrarium, unroll around two yards worth of ribbon.
Loop it around the top of your terrarium and tie a bow at least twice so you end up with a nice full looking bow. My lantern style terrarium had a smaller section at the top that was perfect for this. If yours doesn't, you can either tie your bow around the handle, or skip this step altogether.
Trim the ends into points and curl the tails.
You can absolutely be done at this point and in the future you can swap out the parts of this terrarium to change up the look!
If you want your beautiful creation to be more permanent (and easier to move around) grab some glue and lock all of the pieces in place.
You may wonder why I didn't suggest gluing as you go along. I find that by the time I'm satisfied with what elements I've used and the placement of those elements, I've changed my mind a half a dozen times. I definitely prefer to know that I'll be happy with the final look before permanently gluing things together.
Have you made a terrarium using this tutorial and/or our replica skulls?
We would absolutely love to see it!
Send us an email to ThePanicMechanics@gmail.com or tag us on social media!