How to Build a DIY Lantern Terrarium in 5 Simple Steps

Building a lantern terrarium can be a hard task, but, we’ll make it tenfold simpler. Whether you found an old lantern lying around, or decided to buy a lantern for this build specifically, the process is simple.

I’ve chosen a lantern with a hinged door so it’s easy to arrange everything inside. One note before we dig in, treat a lantern terrarium like an open terrarium unless there’s an air-tight seal on your lantern.

This means:

  • Frequent watering (a few sprays here and then)
  • Lots of moss to retain moisture
  • No need for drainage layer


  • Lantern with glass sides
  • Potting soil
  • Moss
  • Ferns
  • Decorations

Any type of lantern will do, the sky’s the limit. My approach to lantern terrarium builds is choosing small, moisture-retaining plants, and customizing the space with decorations.

You could also opt to use a big plant, which will be the main piece, but it will likely just look cramped up inside (you can try though).

Anyways, here’s some inspiration and pictures I borrowed from Reddit users that shared their lantern terrariums:

graveyard terrarium
By u/remyoftherose
By u/TherersomwhocalmeTim
By u/YogurtWarlock

How To

  1. Lay down the soil and use a brush or your hands to arrange it
  2. Make a terrain that fits your design (ex. moss hills and valleys)
  3. Place the moss and ferns on the soil
  4. Place your decorations
  5. Water lightly with a spray bottle
  6. Optional step: wipe the glass, and take a picture!

Watering tips:

There is no rule for watering as every build is unique and will require a different amount of water. But here is some simple advice that can take you a very long way:

  • Use a spray bottle and water lightly, just a few spritzes
  • The soil should be lightly damp, and not wet
  • Check it once or twice a week and water accordingly

Maintenance tips:

As the plants inside grow you’ll need to occasionally trim them to keep everything tidy. Remove any dead or brown leaves. You can also add springtails and isopods to do the dirty work for you, but only if the lantern can be fully sealed.


The best thing about using a lantern as a terrarium container is that you can hang it. But you have to be careful about where you hang it, as direct bright light can be deadly for the plants inside.

Ideally, place it somewhere where there’s a nice shade and indirect light. Direct evening light is also okay.


Building a terrarium inside a lantern can be very fun, and is definitley worth a try if you have an old lantern laying around.

This short guide is here to help you out, but don’t be afraid to step out and try something unique.

Have fun!

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