How to make a terrarium: fabric succulent tutorial

How to make a terrarium | Mollie Makes fabric succulent

Become a mini botanist, and stitch a tiny terrarium – no green fingers necessary (well, only if you get paint on them). Forget water and sunlight, the only thing this sweet succulent plant needs is a place to show it off.

For the rosette leaves, choose a mid-weight cotton that doesn’t easily fray. For the sprig leaves, go for a light-weight cotton; it works great. Another tip: choose your paint shades a few tones lighter or brighter than your succulent leaf fabric.

You will need:
• Mint green and fresh green cotton, 35 x 25cm (14″ x 10″) each
• Pale pink and pale yellow cotton, 22 x 5cm (9 x 2″) each
• Two pieces pale green fabric, 9cm 2.5cm (3½ x 1″)
• Brown felt
• Skeins of embroidery thread in mint green, fresh green, pale pink, pale yellow, and pale green
• White thread
• 22-gauge floral wire, 60cm (23½”)
• Wire cutters
• Soft toy stuffing
• Acrylic paint
• Approx 0.5cm paint brush
• Recycled cardboard (an old cereal box is fine)
• Hot glue gun
• Old teacup
• Poking tool (knitting needle, chopstick, etc)

Step 1
Using the templates starting on page 89, cut out your fabric pieces.

How to make a terrarium | Mollie Makes fabric succulent step 2

Step 2
For each rosette succulent, place two leaves right sides (RS) together and sew around the edge, leaving the bottom open as marked on the template. Repeat with all the rosette leaves. Turn RS out and tease out all the edges using a poking tool.

How to make a terrarium | Mollie Makes fabric succulent step 3

Step 3
Press the middle of each leaf, making sure you avoid the outside edge. Turn under the open edges, and stitch closed.

How to make a terrarium | Mollie Makes fabric succulent step 4

Step 4
Mix equal parts acrylic paint and water. Lightly brush around the edges of each leaf two or three times for a graduated colour. Allow to dry.

How to make a terrarium | Mollie Makes fabric succulent step 5

Step 5
Lay out your leaves in sets of three, according to size. Set aside your one remaining size 1 leaf. Arrange each set in a triangular shape with overlapping corners. Stitch the corners together.

How to make a terrarium | Mollie Makes fabric succulent step 6

Step 6
Sew the remaining leaf on top of the group of size 1 leaves, in a more upright position.

How to make a terrarium | Mollie Makes fabric succulent step 7

Step 7
Stack your two sets of size 3 leaves, so that the tops of leaves are not overlapping. Stitch together in the centre. Stack and stitch your size 2 leaves and then the size 1 leaves on top.

Step 8
For your sprig succulents, repeat steps 2-4 for the leaves.
Set aside.

Step 9
Taking stem pieces of fabric, press each piece in half lengthwise. Unfold, leaving a centre crease. Fold each side into the centre crease, and press.

How to make a terrarium | Mollie Makes fabric succulent step 10

Step 10
Along the top, fold the corners towards the centre crease. Press. Fold the triangle down, and press again. Fold the fabric lengthwise and press together.

How to make a terrarium | Mollie Makes fabric succulent step 11

Step 11
Stitching close to the edge, blanket stitch along the edges. Leave the bottom open.

How to make a terrarium | Mollie Makes fabric succulent step 12

Step 12
Cut two lengths of floral wire, 30cm (117/8 “) long. For each piece of wire, fold in half and tightly twist the halves together, then fold in half and twist together again.

Step 13
Insert the wire into the open ends of your stems, making sure to lead with the uncut end. Push in all the way, then stitch closed below the wire.

How to make a terrarium | Mollie Makes fabric succulent step 14

Step 14
Starting just below the tops of your stems, begin to slip stitch on leaves down the sides of the stem.

Step 15
For your pouch, turn your cup upside down on felt and trace around the edge. Repeat. Cut out the circles about 0.5cm (¼”) in from your line. This will be the bottom and top of your pouch.

Step 16
Cut out a cardboard circle about 0.5cm (¼”) smaller than your felt circles.

Step 17
Measure the inside diameter of your cup, and then multiply by 3.14. This will be the length of the centre piece of pouch.

How to make a terrarium | Mollie Makes fabric succulent step 18

Step 18
Measure the inside height of your cup. If it curves in at the bottom, just measure down the cup’s straight part. This is the width of the centre piece. Using your dimensions, cut out the centre piece, and stitch two ends together. Stitch one of the circles to the centre piece, and set aside.

How to make a terrarium | Mollie Makes fabric succulent step 19

Step 19
Sew the rosette succulents to the remaining felt circle. Stitching through the centre of the bottom layer of leaves only.

How to make a terrarium | Mollie Makes fabric succulent step 20

Step 20
Cut a 0.5cm (¼”) slit in your felt, for each of your sprig succulents, and poke your stems about 0.5cm (¼”) down through your slits. Stitch the slits closed, making sure to run your needle through your stems several times, until secure. Gently bend the sprigs into shape.

How to make a terrarium | Mollie Makes fabric succulent step 21

Step 21
Place your cardboard circle underneath the finished top, and mark a line for each sprig. Cut a slit for each mark, and poke your sprigs through the cardboard.

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Step 22
Hot-glue the card to the felt.

How to make a terrarium | Mollie Makes fabric succulent step 23

Step 23
Blanket stitch onto the top of your pouch, leaving a 3cm (1¼”) opening. Fill your pouch with soft toy stuffing, and then finish stitching it closed.

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Step 24
Use the templates to cut out your butterfly shapes.

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Step 25
Secure the pieces together with some running stitches. Place your finished pouch into your cup, and enjoy your forever-plant!

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Mollie Makes issue 32 digitalThis project was originally featured in Mollie Makes issue 32. Other projects in this issue include tie-dye scarfs, neon-print napkins, Liberty-print cloud mobiles, crochet blankets and more

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