I’ve wanted to make a bonsai tree terrarium for a few years now. Though I have to admit, it’s a very intimidating space to explore creatively. The patience, techniques, and craft are unique to what I’m used to doing. But I love challenges and inspiring you so let’s make a bonsai treehouse village!
If you aren’t familiar with what a bantamarium is, I strongly recommend you take a look at this deep dive I put together. In a nutshell, it’s a concept I’ve been working on where we bring a diorama to life. The goal is ultimately to make photo-realistic vivariums anyone, no matter the skill level, can make!
A Bonsai Treehouse Village
The theme I have in mind with this project is a fantasy village that exist in a high tree canopy. Ive pulled a lot of my inspiration for this one from a number of utopian style digit drawings of fantasy worlds I’ve seen on pinterest off and on. I wanted something that the bonsai tree would natural conceal if looked at from a particular angle.
Making A Bonsai Tree Terrarium
This bonsai tree terrarium will be a simple project if done correctly and won’t require as many materials as some of my other builds. As always, I’ll start by listing off everything I used to make mine and walk you through the process:
- Mega Bantamarium Jar 10″ x 6″
- Treehouse Village Decor Pack (7x)
- Bonsai Tree (I Recommend Walmart or Home Depot)
- Mixed Brown Gravel (Pebble)
- Natural Granular Sand
- Coco Fiber Peat Soil
- Preserved Sheet Moss
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The Treehouse Village Pack Decor:
The treehouse village decor is a very nifty pack to work with. I’ve structured it in a way to allow total customization. A single treehouse can be used as a standalone decor or multiple packs can be combined to make a very populated town.
Preparing The Bonsai Tree For A Terrarium:
I’d normally start with the jar and substrate but we will have to start our journey on a slightly different path for this world. To make things easier construction-wise, I will set everything up on the bonsai before placing it into the tank.
The first thing we will need to do is a strategic trim for a number of reasons. First, we need it to be small enough to fit into our terrarium. Second, we want a specific look.
I went for a semi-moon shape for the bonsai tree so that I could set the treehouses up inside of it. I’m using UV resin to glue the models into the tree. I think plant glue as well as some super glues will work just as well. I prefer UV resin because I can set things up at a moderately quick pace. If I don’t like the position of something, UV also peels off easily.
I start with the wooden decks to get an idea of how the overall real estate will fit into the tree. I use some of the stems I cut earlier as supports to help prop up the deck on weaker branches.
As I’m placing in the decks, I’m mindful about where ladders and bridges will go and glue those in as I go. I even glue the houses on as well so I don’t have to worry about them when I’m ready to relocate the tree.
Once everything is in place, I take one last look at it to make sure I’m confident about the overall aesthetic before proceeding to the next step.
Creating The Ultimate Bonsai Treehouse Village:
now that the hard part is out of the way, we can proceed with the stuff I’m very comfortable and familiar with… picking a jar! Lol
Like always, we will need to set up a drainage layer for stagnant water to accumulate… Trees are no different from most other plants with not doing well in a well-drained substrate.
I’m using a beautiful mixed grey pebble to establish the drainage layer. The natural assortment of colors these guys come in will really bring out the overall look I’m going for with this terrarium.
I’m adding an additional layer of sand to help separate the gravel from the substrate. This not only looks good but helps hold those roots back from going straight into the gravel.
My choice of soil is coming straight from the bonsai tree. This will make the overall transplant process a lot smoother and if there are any issues with the tree’s health later I can easily rule out the soil.
Now here’s where things get interesting, we are ready to bring our bonsai tree over to its new home. This was a little challenging for me since my hands are huge and the setup is a tight fit.
Finish this build-off with preserved sheet moss. This will help the soil retain its moisture longer. Working with preserved moss will also make this setup much easier to maintain as you’ll see in the care guide portion of this tutorial.
Best Animals For A Bonsai Tree Terrarium
I haven’t really decided on what inhabitants will call this bonsai tree terrarium home just yet. I might just stick with the usual springtails and isopods since they help keep things clean and stay under the moss most of the time.
Bonsai Tree Terrarium Care
Small trims and adding water to the drainage layer are all I have planned for this terrarium. This is one that will require patience to know if things are doing well or not.
Whew! An actual bonsai treehouse village terrarium. What a marvel to see in person. This one makes another world for the books and I truly hope I nailed it in the inspiration department I really look forward to seeing some of the ideas you guys brew up from this guide.
If you’re interested in seeing updates on how this as well as other enclosures progress follow me on social media. If you’d like to get your tall tweezers on one of these limited edition vivarium decors yourself, check them out in our shop.