$2 Thrifted Brass Light Fixture Turned Glam Terrarium

I love simple projects - especially simple projects that have a big impact. Don't you? Well I've got one of those to share today that I know any one of you could put together. It just takes a quick trip to a thrift store and the Home Depot and you're set.

As the weather starts to turn cooler and the lush green landscape outside starts to disappear, I've been thinking about ways I can bring some green, living things into our home for those drearier months of the year. I had a little succulent terrarium in our old apartment in DC and loved it, so I decided it was time to make one for this house as well. I managed to keep most of those succulents alive for well over a year, and the others accidentally went to live at my parents' house for the summer while we were in transition from DC to Philadelphia...and I forgot them there. I'll bring them back someday - hopefully in the near future. In the meantime though, it was time for some new ones!

I wanted to find a cool vessel to put them in - something a little more exciting than a clear glass container - and I found one in the most unexpected place: the lighting section of the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Nestled in a hodgepodge of lighting parts was a dismantled 90s style brass ceiling fixture. It was missing all the important parts like the wiring and mechanism to attach it to the ceiling and all that was left was this:

Not very useful for functional lighting, but in my head, it was perfect for a terrarium. A glam terrarium at that with its shiny brass edges. I imagine the original light looked a little something like this:

Eek. Not exactly what I'd love to have on my ceiling (no offense to anyone who has this in their home!), but again, the one piece I had was great for holding a collection of succulents. At $2, the price was right too :). So after a trip to Home Depot to pick up six little baby succulents and some soil, I headed home to put it together.

Aren't succulents just the cutest? And also the oddest looking things? Especially the ones that look like butts? Haha.

I gave the brass light fixture a quick scrub to get the grime off and readied it for soil and succulents.

And yes, despite how precarious it looks balancing on the narrow center, it does balance itself quite well in case you were wondering! I wouldn't put it somewhere where it would be knocked over easily, but it's quite stable.

I filled it up about a third of the way with soil and then added the succulents (after pulling them from their tiny pots and loosening the root balls), filling in around them with dirt once they were in the right spots.

Glam terrarium complete!

I'm really happy with how this project turned out. For around $20 total, I gained a pretty display of succulents that will hopefully live for a good, long time!

Do any of y'all have fun terrariums in your homes? If you do, please share! I'd love to see!


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  1. love this, chaney! it's a great shape and style and perfect for plants! :)

    1. very is love mayricherfullerbe

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  2. This is brilliant, Chaney! So perfect. I'm going to keep an eye out for an old light fixture now!

  3. I have totally seen these lights before. What a genius idea! It turned out beautifully. Thanks so much for sharing with us at The Makers!

  4. This is so neat and creative!! What an easy project, and it's totally glam. Great job!! :)

  5. What a great project! Featuring you tomorrow at WIW:-) Hugs

  6. Actually I had these light fixtures in my old home and loved how they looked back in the late '80's & 90's. You created a great upcycle project using the broken fixture as a terrarium! It really turned out adorable for the succulents.

  7. Clever repurposing. I love it!

  8. You should make sure to use correct soil for your succulents... Good idea.

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