Summer’s here and with it the challenge of keeping the kids busy. Every age group comes with a different set of challenges but all of them will say “Mom, I’m bored!” I’m no longer the Mom of little ones. In theory, my pre-teens should be more self-entertaining by now. They can be, but sitting at the computer playing games isn’t quite what I had in mind for entertaining! I recently created some LIVE Succulent Living Terrarium Pendants for an event for the Jordan Valley Home & Garden Club and my girls LOVED them. Of course they wanted one but I also knew they wouldn’t take proper care of them. Instead, we compromised, got a little creative and made some “non-living” versions.
Now, back to the whole point of this post! Let’s make our own “Faux Terrarium Pendants”, you’ll need the following:
Floral Wire OR Loop Pins
Dried Moss, we prefer Reindeer Moss
Vessel, tiny bottle or dome style
Low-temperature “hot” glue gun
The first thing you’ll need to do is get your desired vessel for the pendant because the size, shape and opening size will determine what can be put in the pendant. We’re using some awesome dome pendants that were left over from my class. Now, if you’re working with small kids, you can simply load in some of their treasures- small shells, rocks, a tiny toy etc. If that is the case, it’s best to go with a vessel that’s top loading like a tiny test tube with a cork.
In our case, we wanted to make something fun specifically for the project. I ordered the miniature terrariums in this photo from a fabulous Etsy seller. I used the largest size that Intirado offers. Other stateside sellers are also listed OR you could use some sort of found object- so long as it’s clear with a removable lid, you’re good to go!
- World Glass (if you want to do a ring version instead of a necklace)
- DIY Glassy (rings)
The next step is to create the clay inserts from Sculpey (or similar) clay. My daughter created snails, bumble bees, mushrooms and Robin’s eggs. Once the clay creation is sculpted, impale it on the loop pin or floral wire. The loop pin helps anchor the various parts together while providing a means to attach them to the moss base in the terrarium. Bake the clay in a 275 degree oven for 15-20 minutes (or as the package instructions direct) then allow to cool.
Assembling the pendant is actually the quickest part of the whole project! If you’re using a test tube or similar top-loading vessel, just pull out the cork. If you’ve selected a dome-type pendant like ours, you’ll have to pull the pin first. I won’t lie- that part is a pain. I found it easiest to press in on the flat side of the pin with tweezers to give me a larger grabbing area on the opposite ball-side of the pin. Put the pin IMMEDIATELY where you won’t lose it!
Once you have your container, you’ll need to prep it. The terrarium findings I ordered are held together by a pin. This part is kind of a pain, but worth it. Once the container is open, you’ll glue on some dried moss as a base. A low-temperature glue will work better when kids are creating. The purpose of the moss is to provide a base to wire into for the clay accents my pre-teens are making.
My 13 year old is particularly skilled with clay and made mushrooms, bumble bees and Robin’s eggs. The clay objects are formed around either floral wire or the “eye pins” you can get in the jewelry making section of the craft store. The wire/pins help stabilize the object and make it easier to attach it into the bed of moss. Again, you’ll use hot glue to affix the clay or other objects in the bed of moss. In addition to the clay, we used some thick hemp twine to create a “bird’s nest” for the eggs to settle into as well.
If you have younger kids, you may decide to forget the clay and simply fill the “terrarium” with shells, rocks, or other tiny natural items that have meaning to the child. If you go this route, you will likely not need the moss bed to affix the objects and can forego that step.
Now that your scene is done, re-assemble the vessel. Attach the hemp cording, ribbon or a jump ring and ball chain and you’re good to go!
This is a fun summer project that you can adjust according to the skills of the children involved. My daughter’s friends all loved her pendant so much, we’re having a little party for them to come over and make one too!
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