Terrarium Lids: How to Find Glass, Cork & Custom Options

Since the dawn of terrariums, thrifty hobbyists have faced one recurring problem time and time again.

It’s hard to find lids to fit pre-existing containers, and it’s hard to find containers that come with lids in the first place. 

Closed terrariums are obviously more fun than open terrariums, so there must be a way (there, I said it, sue me).

I’ve found, tried, and tested the best terrarium lid solutions, and today I’ll share them with you.

So let’s jump to it!

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Custom Terrarium Lids (For Lidless Containers)

Picture it. You’re in Ikea, you’ve worked your way through the labyrinth, the Swedish meatballs are in sight, and only one last obstacle remains – the bargain bin.

That’s when you see her: glass, gigantic, and only $10.

She was born to be a terrarium.

But there’s a catch, as there so often is with thrifty glassware finds. Your new favorite terrarium container is lidless.

Fear not; you have options. Here are the three best ways to approach it:

1 | Acrylic/Plexiglass

All hail the best all-rounder and my personal go-to solution for lidless terrarium containers.

It’s transparent, easy to clean, and readily available.

acrylic terrarium lid going on
For this piece, I went for a slightly green-tinged ‘glass look’ acrylic shade, but in hindsight, I prefer clear…
  • If your container has a circular opening, you can grab one to size from this shop on Etsy.
Terrarium acrylic lid - Etsy Apt3Works
The acrylic sheet sits on top nicely – it looks seamless next to glass. (Image Credit: Apt3Works on Etsy).

2 | Cork Plug 

A big cork stopper is fabulous if you want more of a rustic look and have a container with a circular opening.

Woodland terrarium with cork lid
I went with a cork lid on my woodland terrarium build, and I love how it looks.

And, because they’re wider at the top and narrower at the bottom, cork stoppers are suitable for a small range of opening sizes, just like a door wedge. With other lid shapes, you need to be much more specific. 

Terrarium cork lids - Etsy JustCORKshop
You can grab them in whatever size you need. (Image Credit: JustCORKshop on Etsy).

👉 Check them out on Etsy.

Just be aware that it will block light from the top, so you might need to pop your piece closer to the light source or next to a grow light. 

Or, take a look at some of our low-light terrarium plant picks for options that are better suited to the project. 

3 | Saran Wrap

Don’t sleep on saran wrap.

It’s not perfect, but it’s the ultimate “it’ll do for now option.”

Easy terrarium with saran wrap lid
I’ve used saran wrap as a lid for plenty of our terrariums as a makeshift solution just fine.

And despite what you’d think, if you’re careful to stretch it flat and trim around the edges, it can look relatively neat. Relatively.

tearing saran wrap terrarium lid
Gently tear or snip the excess to create a cleaner look.

The main thing I noticed is that it can get super dusty, and if you need to take it off for any reason, it’ll most likely tear, and you’ll need a new piece and proper reapplication each time.

Make Your Own DIY Terrarium Lid? 

For the absolute DIY heroes out there, I’m sure you’ve already clocked that making an acrylic lid is pretty straightforward.

And it is, provided you have the right equipment.

Acrylic is cheap and easy to work with, but buying a vice and a saw is so much more expensive than I had anticipated (well over $100), so it’s only viable if you already own them.

Lids for Bioactive Terrariums & Animal Vivariums

If your terrarium is home to any lively inhabitants, this whole thing will need a different approach. 

Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Pets will need some level of ventilation and airflow (duh).
  • Depending on the animal and setup, you may need easy access for cleaning and feeding.
  • You don’t want any escapees running around your house. 

Every animal and bug has different requirements, so always do research into your chosen terrarium pet.

First up, bioactive cleanup crews.

If your residents are just isopods, you can either go without ventilation (as long as you regularly open it up) or add fine mesh to ventilation holes to be extra safe on the escapee-prevention front.

On the other hand, if your terrarium houses springtails, I’d recommend forgoing ventilation altogether and choosing a loose-fitting acrylic lid. They don’t need seem to need much airflow and there’s no reason to have them open to the world.

For pets and isopods in small terrariums, the acrylic custom lid vendor I mentioned earlier has the option to add holes in for $1 – just to make your life easier! 👇

Terrarium acrylic lid - Etsy Apt3Works
These holes are a two-birds-with-one-stone situation on the ventilation and escape prevention front. (Image Credit: Apt3Works on Etsy)

Larger animals will naturally need a larger tank-style container to suit their spatial needs.

So, for a lid, you’ll likely need something heavier or physically attached to the container. 

There are plenty of ready-made vivarium tank lids available for purchase, and some good options, like a sliding lid, are available if you want something a bit more high-tech. 

👉 Check out the vivarium lid options on Amazon.

Buy a Terrarium with a Lid

1 | Cloche Dome

This cloche by NCYP Garden on Etsy is stunning. It’s dainty, it’s timeless, and it’s surprisingly inexpensive at less than $20!

What better way to have a lid than to enclose the entire piece with it?

Terrarium cloche - Etsy NYCPGarden
It comes in two options: this traditional dome and a more bulbous, round dome. (Image Credit: NCYPGarden on Etsy).

2 | Hinged Wardian Case

Wardian cases are modern glass pieces inspired by the historical roots of the terrarium. And they make a statement.

This glassware piece by H Potter on Etsy is a beautiful combination of traditional and relevant styles. 

H Potter Wardian Case Etsy
This terrarium container has a built-in hinged lid at the top. (Image Credit: HPotterMarketplace on Etsy)

Admittedly, it’s more pricey than the other options, but for that kind of craftsmanship, it’s pretty reasonable. 

3 | Wooden Ball Lid

This piece by CYS EXCEL on Amazon is so interesting. It uses a wooden sphere to seal the opening, and for under $35, it’s a steal.

The only downside is that more narrow openings are more difficult to plant in, but if you’re up for a challenge, glassware doesn’t get chicer than this.

That’s All For Today

That concludes our quest for the perfect terrarium lid.

I hope you’ve found the perfect solution.

Have I missed any good options? Let me know in the comments if you’ve chosen something else!

And now that you have your lid sorted, why not check out our online terrarium supplies to make sure you’re fully ready to go?

Till next time x

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