How to Make Plywood Cross Based Globe Terrariums
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- 1/4” x 2′ x 2′ Plywood project panel, or 1/4” plywood scraps
- Clear glass bowls or globes, like this or you could use old light fixtures, fish bowls…
- Decorative rocks
- Fake succulents
- Copper spray paint (or color of preference)
- Jigsaw or Scroll saw
- Miter saw
- wood glue
- cloth tape measure (for bowl circumference) or bowls similar in size to your globe
- tape measure
Step 1: Measure globe width
Step 2: Measure the height of the globe and cut plywood
I also measured the height of the globe to get an idea of how tall to cut my plywood.
You can make your cross base as tall or short as you want. I made mine 1” less than the height of the globe. So my large globe was 8” tall and my cross base was 7” at it’s tallest end points. You will need to know these measurements the height and width to cut your plywood.
For a recap:
- Height of globe Minus 1”
- Width of globe plus 1″
- cut plywood to these measurements for each globe
Step 3: Mark plywood and trace semi circle
Once your plywood is cut, you can mark it for cutting out your semi circle which will hold your globe.
I marked 1/2” on each side and drew a line down (top photos). I also marked the center line, in these photos. In hind site I would have marked center and then lowered the line 1” or 1 1/2” down, I ended up doing it later in the project so learn from my mistake, this makes the cross base section shorter, which I think looks better.
To measure my semi circle I grabbed round bowls/pans from my kitchen that were close to the globe shape (bottom photos) and traced them from the 1/2 marks down toward my center or just lower than center line.
*This is my cheater method, it is not totally accurate but works close enough, math people take over here and bust out your radius and compass and do it right!
Step 4: Cut out your plywood semi circles with a jig saw
I drew my cut marks on one board, you will need two plywood pieces for each terrarium that are exactly the same shape. To make it easy I just clamped them together with the cut marks on the top and cut them both at the same time with my jigsaw.
Step 5: Measure and mark for notch cuts
Find the center of your board (top left), then put your boards together and draw the center mark on the very bottom (top right). Place one of the boards and center it over the center mark, then draw lines on either side of the board, to mark the notch width.
Step 6: Cut out notches
Mark how high you want the notches to be, again this is personal preference, I think mine was approximately 1” tall, draw a line (top left).
You can cut your notches at the same time! Yep! Just take the marked board and place it on the top, turn the bottom board around so the semi circle is facing the other way. Line up the ends and the bottom of the circles. Then clamp the boards down and cut out the marked notch area.
*Cut on the inside of your marked lines, otherwise your notches will be a little too big.
Fit them together! At this point you need to test your globe and make sure it fits, if it is a little too big that is fine, if it is a little too small then you will want to put your boards back together and trim off where it is needed in your semi circle until your globe fits. (This is where the math people are laughing and mocking…just smile and nod, smile and nod.)
Step 7: Glue and shim (if necessary)
I decided to wood glue my cross bases together, if you wanted you could omit this step. On my first terrarium I cut my notches a little too wide (which is why I said to cut inside the notch lines…learn from my mistakes!) so I needed to do some shimming.
I found little slivers of wood from my scrap pile, or my jigsaw cuttings, and used those to fill in any gaps. This sturdied them up quite nicely. If you cut your notches smaller you won’t need to shim or even glue for that matter if they fit nice and snug. If you have gaps use wood filler.
Step 8: Spray paint your bases
I choose a cool copper metallic color, and I really love it because it sort of changes color in different lighting. You can do any color you want, or stain them, I debated doing that, but I took a chance on a new color instead. 🙂
Step 9: Fill your terrariums with rocks and succulents and enjoy!
I went to the dollar store and bought decorative rocks, you can’t beat the prices compared to anywhere else. They also had some succulents so I grabbed some of those, too. Other succulents were purchased at a craft store.
Put rocks in the bottom of your globes and and then arrange the succulents as you desire. I had some mossy looking ribbon that I threw in, but honestly you couldn’t really see it once the succulents were in, so I wouldn’t bother with it.
I love how they turned out!
I may not be the best at succulent arranging, but they make me happy, and that is all that matters, right?!
When my kids came home from school they keep saying, oooh cool! So they approved as well. 🙂
The fun thing about these is that you can make several or one…they look good alone or with a friend!
I love the height variation which is why I made three different sizes.
If I was brave I would do real succulents, but since I only have a few surviving real succulents from my Succulent Planters from Light Fixtures…I decided to play it save this time.
They look real enough to me…AND, I don’t have to worry about them, that is what I call a win win situation.
I am so glad I tried this knock off! They were really easy to make and I saved a ton of money!
So what do you think? Are you up for making your own plywood cross based terrariums?!!
Do it, it is so fun and easy!
Thanks for reading!