How to Make a Radiant Terrarium Lamp [DIY Guide]

A terrarium lamp is a wonderfully creative blend of art, nature, and good old-fashioned practicality.

Seriously, what better way to put your reading lamp to use than to feed your terrarium plants along with your mind?

Not to mention the fact that it’s surprisingly easy to create a DIY lamp terrarium for yourself.

In this guide, we’ll shine a light on the key supplies and methods you’ll need to transform a terrarium into a bright and beautiful piece of homeware.

Let’s shine!

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Terrarium Lamp 101: Things to Consider

Before we dive in headfirst, there are a few things we need to ensure for this project to work.

  • Safety stuff – This one’s a bit of a no-brainer… The light system (electric) and the closed terrarium (water) cannot come into contact. The light will be connected to the terrarium lid, not situated within the terrarium itself.
  • Stability – It needs to be stable. If your lamp knocks over, your beautiful creation will be ruined (not to mention the whole electricity and water thing). So, we need to consider the weight of the piece and how securely the elements are attached to each other.
  • Accessibility – The “self-sustaining terrarium” is a bit of a holy grail. While I’ve had terrariums that could eventually be left without interference, they’re most certainly going to need some tweaking initially. You need to be able to get to it relatively easily to remove dropped leaves or add the occasional spray of water.

So, with those things in mind, let’s look at what you’ll need…

Lamp & Terrarium Supplies – What You’ll Need

1 | Glass Container With a Wide Base

Ideally, choose a shorter piece with thicker glass over a taller, flimsier piece. You’re adding the light fixtures to the top, so we want to keep the weight of the build low.

This is the one I chose for this project

TJ Maxx and Ikea are great places to search – you can often find big vases for super cheap.

2 | Cork Lid

Of course, you’ll need a lid for your terrarium.

And for this build in particular, getting the right material is very important.

For most of my terrariums, I choose acrylic lids over cork; they look like glass, so the aesthetic is cleaner. But, acrylic lids sit on top of the glass unsecured, and cork can both wedge in tightly and still be removed easily, making it the preferable choice for this project.

terrarium lid
When you have your glassware, measure the opening and grab a cork lid to fit. They’re really easy to get in whatever size you need.

Make sure it fits snugly and securely.

👉 Shop cork terrarium lids on Etsy.

3 | Bottle Lamp Kit

A bottle lamp kit is a logistical lifesaver.

It takes the terrarium lamp from a heavy-duty DIY challenge to an accessible project. And luckily, they’re reasonably cheap too!

As the name suggests, they’re specifically made for turning a bottle into a lamp, but with a little adapting, we can translate it to the terrarium scene. (Of course, you could always make a bottle terrarium too!)

bottle lamp kit
The fixture attaches to the cork stopper, and the cork stopper will be attached to the terrarium lid.

👉 Shop bottle lamp kits on Etsy and Amazon.

Just be sure you get an electrical bottle lamp kit, not a torch wick one – they’re both sold as  “bottle lamp kits.”

4 | Bulb and Lampshade (If Needed)

Many of the kits don’t come with a bulb or lampshade, so if yours doesn’t, get yourself down to the store and grab them.

*It’s worth waiting until your lamp kit has arrived so you know what bulb type you’ll need.

I highly recommend choosing a warm-toned bulb over a cool-toned bulb; this advice is completely unrelated to the project, but the thought of cool-toned light makes me feel uneasy. Lol.

attaching lampshade
My bottle kit actually came with a lampshade; I just had to roll it out and click it into place into the frame.

5 | Tools

You’re gonna need:

  • Drill.
  • “Flat drill bit” or “spade drill bit” (same thing, different names – they’re made for drilling holes).
flat drill bit
This flat drill bit attachment will look something like this.
  • Measuring tape & pencil.
  • Glue-gun.
I grabbed this one from my local hardware store.
  • Spray bottle – this is essential as it’s important to add water to your terrarium evenly and lightly.
  • Any other basic terrarium tools you’d like. My must-haves are aquascaping tweezers and an angled paintbrush.

6 | Your Usual Terrarium Materials

Naturally, you’ll need all the other things you’d typically need to make a terrarium.

For drainage, leca, aquarium gravel, or pebbles all work great, and a good-quality substrate (like our signature terrarium mix) goes a long way.

A nice terrarium rock is the secret sauce of the recipe; not only will it help construct a gorgeous scene, but it will add weight to keep things bottom-heavy and stable.

placing stone in terrarium
I used a nice – and heavy – Gobi stone. I like anchoring mine into the substrate to create an interesting landscape (and keep it secure). Seiryu stone is another good option.

And last but not least… Your terrarium plants.

It’s a good idea to choose hardy tropical plants and mosses for this build. This is because, depending on how often you have the light on, it can be more challenging to get the balance of light and heat spot on.

Better safe than sorry. Why not try Ficus pumila, Pothos, FittoniaSyngonium, or Pilea glauca?

How to Make a DIY Lamp Terrarium: Step-by-Step

Now, it’s time to put it all together. I find it helpful to break this project into four sections:

  1. The terrarium part.
  2. The lid part.
  3. The connecting part.
  4. The lamp part.

And we’re going to do it in that order. Let’s go.

1 | The Terrarium Part

First things first, create your masterpiece. Head to our full beginner’s guide for how to make a terrarium from the ground up (and how to take care of it when it’s finished, too).

2 | The Lid Part

Start by making sure that your cork lid fits securely onto your glassware.

Then, grab a pencil and tape measure and mark the center to guide where you’re going to drill.

measuring lid
Take care with this step, or you could end up with a super wonky lamp!

Next, you’ll need to identify the part of the lamp kit that’s meant to go into the bottleneck (called the adaptor). Choose a drill bit that’s slightly smaller than it is in diameter.

You can always make the hole bigger, but you can’t make the hole smaller.

Drill the hole and check the fitting with the adaptor.

drilling hole in terrarium lid
I thoroughly enjoyed this bit.

Check again, and drill more/ with a larger size drill bit if necessary.

3 | The Connecting Part

Then, when you have a snug fit between the adaptor and the cork lid, grab your glue gun and secure it into place.

adaptor in terrarium lid
Mine is a great fit and ready to be glued into place.

4 | The Lamp Part

Now, get the rest of your bottle lamp kit and assemble it, building it directly onto the adaptor, which should be stuck in the lid.

It may vary from kit to kit, so please follow the instructions. Please note that I don’t know the specifics of the one you’re using, and you should always double-check that the electrical system cannot come into contact with water.

lid and attatchment
You can see the light attachment will easily screw onto my lid.

Pop your lid onto your terrarium, attach your bulb and lampshade, and plug it into the wall with all the pride of the village celebrity switching on the Christmas lights!

lamp terrarium

*As a final note, I’d advise you not to leave this lamp on for extended periods of time or leave it unattended. If it overheats, it could cook your plants and even melt the hot glue.

Please be responsible with this project and its associated safety. Seek professional advice if needed.

Light it Up!

I hope you adore your terrarium lamp. We’d love to see it – share it and tag us on Instagram (@terrariumtribe)!

If you’re already on the hunt for your next DIY masterpiece – why not try a DIY hanging terrarium

2 thoughts on “How to Make a Radiant Terrarium Lamp [DIY Guide]”

  1. Very nice, thank 🙏 you. Another thing you can do is add an LED plant light. A lot of them shine upwards, so I made a small wire frame, placed a round mirror facing down and placed it just inside the top lip of my lampshade. I can place it in any room with a timer to turn on the plant light. 🪴, Cassy

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