Succulent Sand Art Terrariums


We already love our Associate Producer Whitney Mendelsohn for her on-point personal style, but she’s also a super talented illustrator and craftmaster. We were in serious need of a hefty DIY sesh here at NGHQ, so she showed us how to step up our terrarium game with some colorful sand layering and spot-on succulents. Check out her tutorial below!

(Photos by Cat Roif)


Step 1:

Fetch your supplies! I love a good craft store (Michaels, Walmart, etc), however, sometimes it is easier and cheaper to jump online and grab your supplies.

Sand: Make sure you buy floral sand. You want this particular sand because remember you are planting a plant. Ordinary sand won’t absorb your water to keep your babies alive. You can have two approaches when choosing your colors: 1.) earthy color tones (natural, brick, army green, burnt orange) or 2.) vibrant tones (pink, green, blue, yellow, purple neons). Personally, I buy mine from Sandtastik.

Dixie cups: Pour your colored sand into their own designated cups.  Always try and stay organized when working on a messy project like this.

Succulents: Go to your local florist, and grab some of these little guys. They are cheap and last forever!

Terrarium: Or a vase, a fishbowl, a Mason jar, or for that matter, a wine glass (don’t judge!) will work beautifully. We even sell ’em at Nasty Gal!

Water bottle spritzer: Don’t overwater your succulents! They have a long life if you spritz them twice a month.


Step 2:

 Slowly pour your sand layer by layer. There is really no technique to this. The outcome of my sand terrariums hardly ever turns out the way I planned, and I love that!


Step 3:

After a few layers, It’s time for your baby succulents. Remove each succulent form their planter and massage the soil in your palm of your hand, Be mindful not to break the roots of the plant, but we don’t need all that excess soil. Carefully burrow into the sand.


Step 4:

 Add a few more layers of sand so you cover all the roots, keeping the plant exposed. I tend to use a small paint brush to clean the sand off the plant, because it will get a bit messy.


Step 5:

 You can add some finishing touches around your plants once you’ve completed these steps. A few sea shells might work wonders…


Step 6:

 Keep in mind that the beauty of these sand terrariums is that they will forever change their shape and color. Over time colors will blend and straight lines will become wavy. Finally, have fun, and keep it nasty!

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