Vase Fillers: How to Decorate with a Terrarium without Plants

I love using a terrarium for everything but growing plants. I have limited luck with indoor plants, and creating a terrarium is too much work for the high risk of failure I’d expect. Besides, I like changing my mind too much to put something in my terrarium that I can’t easily remove later. Instead, I like to use fillers (as you’ve seen). As I explained in my winter décor post, I was having trouble coming up with a filler for winter décor. I turned to Google for inspiration…

If you google “terrarium décor” you get terrariums used as terrariums. Not helpful. But if you google “Vase filler” you get TONS of creative ideas. I don’t really want to have to dig through Google every time I want to decorate, so here are two great ideas for every season:

Winter Vase Fillers: Cranberries and Ornaments

For Christmas, try jingle bells, cranberries, fake snow, or silver-tipped pine cones. I particularly like the cranberries and the layering effect of using fake snow and then another vase filler.

I also have a soft spot in my heart for solid color ball ornaments. Antiqued mercury glass ones are the best, but packages like these  work just as well and are very cheap at Wal-Mart or Meijer. Not to mention you get your pick of color options!

Spring Vase Fillers: Moss and Birch Wood Rounds

For spring, use moss with a candle. Or basically anything with moss:

A woodland theme goes along with the idea of a budding spring season as well, so get inspired by these birch rounds from Pottery Barn:

Summer Fillers: Sea Shells, Dried Peas, and Dried Beans

Green is a great color for summer—like a bright lime green. Nothing too mossy or spring-like. Enter dried split peas and bay leaves. Perfect! If you are looking for a cheap white filler—you are still in luck. See how great northern beans would work, or you can even use white rice.

Of course, sea shells are a classic choice—my mom pulls out all her great Florida sea shells for summer, and they look great in a basket and vases in the living room:

Fall Vase Fillers: Wine Corks and Crimped Book Pages

What is more romantic than wine by the fire in the fall? Enter wine corks as a vase filler. Also, they’re free. So that’s nice, too.

Of course, crimped book pages are beautiful and simple as well. The vintage look goes well with wood and autumn tones but can easily transfer to almost every other season:

So those are a handful ideas for vase fillers and terrariums. What unique vase fillers do you use or love?

DIY: How to Make Silver Mercury Glass Pears

So here is my guide on how to make Mercury Glass Pears. The project cost about $20, but I had a lot of fun and know I will keep using these. I got my inspiration from an ornament tutorial from Polka Dot Made, but she used paper ornaments, gold, and gold flakes. I wanted to use fruit since I couldn’t find any paper ornaments small enough, I wanted silver, and silver leaf was cheaper than silver flakes. SIDE NOTE: You will have extra silver leaf to add to your craft box after this. Hurray!

Aren't they lovely? Can you see the hint of gold?

Aren’t they lovely? Can you see the hint of gold?

Materials from Hobby Lobby:

  • Fake pears (1 bag of small pears, 1 bag of large pears)- $8
  • Silver Acrylic Paint – $1
  • Gold Acrylic Paint – $1
  • Silver Leaf – $5
  • Modge Podge – $3

I used a coupon so I got 40% off the silver leaf and the pears. That helped!

Step 1: The Initial Silver Coat

All the materials, plus Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3 of the process

Put a coat of silver paint on the pears. It will form a translucent layer where the pear will still look green or yellow but with a slight sheen of silver. That’s fine.

Let the pears dry.

Step 2: The Modge Podge and Silver Leaf

Working in small areas, brush on a very small amount of Modge Podge and dab the silver leaf onto the pear. The Modge Podge should be such a light layer that is it immediately tacky and begins drying before you add the silver leaf. Dab on the silver leaf by pressing the sheet against the area of that has Modge Podge. Don’t try to cover every area—leave gaps and let the silver leaf crinkle and clump so that the final look is more dappled than unified. You can always go over an area again with more Modge Podge and silver leaf.

Let the pears dry—actually, the first ones will probably be dry by the time you finish the last ones, so you can go ahead and move to Step 3.

Step 3: The Second Silver Coat

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Brush another thin layer of silver paint over the silver leafed pears. Dab paint thicker over areas where the original green or yellow of the pear is poking through. Let Dry.

You can leave the pears here, and they will look great! However, I took them home and realized that they were too silver-y to match my Mercury glass. They needed the added warmth of gold. So in that case—

Step 4: The Final Gold Coat

Apply a very light, almost dry-brushed layer of gold paint all over the pears. This will add just the final touch of warmth needed. You can see how the silver and metallic look still comes through, but it is muted with the antiqued look of gold. Perfect!

It was kind of an involved process, but I love doing stuff like this and had a blast!

Of course, it is pretty easy to see that the process is flexible and that I was kind of learning as I went. You could begin with a gold layer instead of silver, or you could try skipping the initial silver layer altogether, etc. Try the look with a couple of experimental pears first to get an idea of what you want to do.

Here’s the final look with it all put together:

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