Living Thyme Christmas Baubles

The tiny magical world of terrariums is enchanting!  These little terrariums are a pleasure to make and giveaway.  Be sure to make one for yourself to enjoy!

This is absolutely a craft you can make with your kiddos (see the step-by-step instructions below) and it makes a wonderful present for teachers and grandparents. 

My daughter Violet and I spent a lovely morning making these together.  She really enjoyed layering in all the pieces and picking out special plants to plant in each ball for the wonderful people in her life. “This one looks peaceful, like my Sensi, he likes to be peaceful.”  



  • clear glass or plastic medium-size ornament balls*

  • small sized gravel or rocks

  • potting soil

  • starter plants, we used thyme but you could use any low growing tiny plants

  • chopsticks

  • ribbons

optional ~

  • charcoal

  • spoons and bowls

  • a glass for each person planting

  • towel

  • scissors

You can find most everything for this project at craft stores and plant nurseries.

Messy Fun!

Messy Fun!


Time To Complete: 10 to 15 minutes for each terrarium

Circle of fingers for adding gravel...

Circle of fingers for adding gravel...

Before we start, a note about which ornaments to choose.  If you are working with children I highly recommend using plastic balls.  I made these little terrariums one year with glass balls and cut up my fingers pretty badly because the glass around the opening is very fragile and so breaks easily during planting.  Also the medium size tends to be better than the big ones if you intend to hang the terrariums because the big sized balls get too heavy and easily fall off the hanger.  

Set-up your space with your supplies.  We found that putting the gravel and dirt in bowls along with spoons for planting was very helpful.  Also the charcoal makes you fingers all smudgy, so you may want a towel nearby to wipe your hands.  This project is messy so be ready for a bit of cleanup at the end!

Adding charcoal...

Adding charcoal...

Remove the hanger from the top of the ball and set it in the top of a glass.  This will hold the ball steady while you work on creating your terrarium.  

Carefully add some gravel to the bottom of your terrarium until it is about ⅓” to ½” thick.  You can use your chopstick to carefully spread out the gravel so it covers the bottom evenly.  We used a pretty coral color for contrast against the brown dirt and green of the thyme.  We found that if we gently circled our fingers over the top of the opening it made it easier to get the gravel into the terrarium.  The gravel creates drainage for your terrarium and helps to protect against mold growth.  

Next add a thin layer of charcoal if you are using it.  The charcoal helps to remove toxins from the terrarium and assist in it’s ability to self-clean.  

Arranging with chopsticks...

Arranging with chopsticks...

Then layer in the soil.  You want it to be thick enough to plant your plant, about a ½” to ¾” thick.  Before we added in our soil we wet it just a bit with water (about 3 teaspoons to 1 ½ cup of soil) so that it was just moisten to the touch.  You don’t want to add too much water because then your terrarium is more likely to mold.  Use your chopstick to spread out the soil and make a little hole for the plant.  Be careful not to disturb the layers below.  

Nice layers!

Nice layers!

Finally add your plant.  We used Mother Of Thyme and Wooly Thyme plants.  To add these carefully remove them from their little nursery pot and then pull or cut (using your scissors) apart the plant so that you have a tiny little plant still attached to a bit of root.  This is what you will plant in your terrarium  We got enough plant material for 4 terrariums from each starter plant.  You will have to remove some of the soil from the bottom of the plant so you can fit it through the hole.  Then carefully push the plant roots first through the opening of the ornament.  Use your chopstick to guide the roots into the soil and try to cover them with some of the soil.  Add more soil if you wish at this point.  

Using your chopstick arrange the plant greenery so it looks happy.

Finish off your terrarium with a little ribbon for hanging and a pretty tag if you wish!  

It is a good idea to plant these at least a week or two before you plan to gift them so you can keep an eye on them while they become established.  It there is a lot of condensation in the ball remove the top for a while to let it dry out a bit.  If your plant starts to look dry, give it a couple drops of water.  

Hang them in a sunny spot and enjoy your own little magical world!

Happy Herb Crafting!

Thank you so much for joining me!

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