Terrarium DIY: Turn an Old Soda Bottle into a Miniature Rainforest!

DIY Terrariums: Miniature Rainforest

by Scott Meeks (aka Crunchy Scott)

Terrarium DIY: Turn an Old Soda Bottle into a Miniature Rainforest!

This awesome, upcycled twist on the classic terrarium DIY is a miniature rainforest in a bottle!

School is almost out! That means swimming pools, red-stained popsicle lips and later-than-usual bedtimes are all in store. And lots and lots of books! Books?! OK, let’s be honest. It’s a pain in the brain to get the kiddies to actually learn something between June and August, right? Well, trust me – sneaking in a fun, hands-on lesson is easier than you think.

I’m Crunchy Scott, an eco-fabulous craftaholic and video producer. I originally shot this “Rainforest in a Bottle” video as an idea for school projects. But it works perfectly as a rainy, summer’s day craft activity too.

It makes for a nice lesson about the rainforest. It uses recycled materials. And it’s super easy! Give it a try.

Terrarium DIY: Rainforest in a Bottle

Here’s the terrarium DIY project breakdown:


  • 2 liter soda bottle (washed and dry)
  • Pebbles
  • Activated Carbon (from the pet store)
  • Pistachio shells (or Spanish moss)
  • Potting soil
  • Fresh moss
  • 2 small tropical plants (like a fern and a palm)
  • 1 small toy animal


1. Have an adult help with this part: Four inches from the bottom of your 2 liter bottle, cut the bottle into two parts with a craft knife or a pair of scissors. The bottom part will be the planter and the top part will be the cover of the terrarium.

2. Layer your DIY terrarium:

  • Add an inch of pebbles to the bottom of the planter.
  • Add a single layer of activated carbon. This will filter the water.
  • Add a barrier layer of Spanish moss or pistachio shells.
  • Add potting soil – enough so that it comes to about a ½ inch below the top part of your planter.

3. Plant your rainforest:

  • Plant the tiniest tropical plants you can find. Mini palms and ferns are perfect.
  • Add fresh moss to the top of the soil.
  • Find a toy animal that would enjoy living in your rainforest.

4. Add the final touches:

  • Lightly water your terrarium.
  • Cut a short slit down the back of the planter, about a ½ an inch.
  • Push the planter together where you cut the slit and place the cover on top.
  • Put your terrarium in a spot where it’ll get plenty of INDIRECT sunlight.

Note: There’s no need to water your rainforest in the future. Moisture will form on the inside of your terrarium and on the plants. That moisture will drip down and water the soil.

About the Author: Scott Meeks (AKA Crunchy Scott). I’m a self-proclaimed eco-geek, a passionate environmental journalist and producer, and last but not least…I’m a children’s book author. When it comes to the environment and all things earthy, I walk the green walk and talk the green talk.

As an avid recycler, crafty upcycler, flexitarian-foodie and die-hard tree cuddler, I put a modern twist on the hippie-dippy crunchy-granola lifestyle.

You can find my Crunchy Scott crafting and cooking segments on my Youtube Channel. And my book is called, Crunchy Kids – Crafting, Cooking and Celebrating the Planet (Barclay Bryan Press.) Both showcase my hands-on projects and recipes aimed at teaching greenies about the joys and responsibilities of an eco-inspired life.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crunchyscott
Twitter: @crunchyscott

4 thoughts on “Terrarium DIY: Turn an Old Soda Bottle into a Miniature Rainforest!”

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