Thanksgiving may not be celebrated in the Star Wars universe, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sprinkle a touch of the saga into your festivities. Chances are you’ll probably be making or buying a centerpiece for your table, and that’s the perfect place to express your fandom. A terrarium is a fun and simple DIY project and has the bonus of also looking elegant. Plenty of environments in the Star Wars galaxy are suitable to recreate in a terrarium: Dagobah, Endor, Naboo, Tatooine, and Kashyyyk to name a few. I chose to make a mini Dagobah scene.
Hit up your local craft store or hardware and gardening store for supplies. I go to Pat Catan’s which has both great prices and a large floral section. They had several varieties of moss and glass containers. Remember that you don’t have to attempt to exactly replicate this terrarium; use these directions as a guideline and create something that’s uniquely you. However, since we’re making a centerpiece, I do recommend choosing a glass container or vase tall enough to be seen from all sides of the table. It’s helpful to take your action figures with you to make sure you get a glass big enough to hold them.
Dagobah Terrarium Thanksgiving Centerpiece
12” glass vase with a lid if you want a long lasting terrarium
Rocks, decorative glass, or marbles
Sheet or sphagnum moss
Peat moss or potting soil
Various tops of moss
Action figures or miniatures
Straw or skewer
Plastic container and water
Terrariums are built in layers so that the mini ecosystem can drain and filter properly. It starts with rocks, marbles, or decorative glass. Since we’re using a larger container, you’ll want to put down at least an inch worth of rocks.
Cover those rocks with a filtration layer. You can sprinkle in powdered charcoal on top of the rocks if you wish, but it’s not necessary unless you want to cancel out the mossy smell (I’ve never had an issue with not using charcoal). Get sheet or sphagnum moss, grab a handful and dunk it in water for a couple of seconds. Wring out the moss thoroughly; it should be a bit damp. Flatten the moss and put it on top of the rock layer. Take time to cover the rocks completely and use a straw or skewer to squish the moss down and make sure every crevice is covered.
The next layer is soil. Peat moss soil is recommended for moss terrariums, but if you can’t track it down and want to use potting soil, it’s not the end of the world. Just don’t grab dirt from outside. You don’t want to bring any critters into your terrarium. Cover the sheet moss completely with a thin layer of soil.
With the base of the terrarium done, it’s time to tackle landscaping. I carefully tried out a few different action figures in the glass vase and realized the space was too small for the 3 3/4” toys — you might have plenty of room in your container though. I turned to miniatures, and since I had Yoda and R2-D2, I decided the setting for my terrarium would be Dagobah.
I used sheet moss to construct a small hill in the back of the terrarium that sort of represents Yoda’s hut. I dug into my moss variety pack and covered the hut with reindeer moss. Use your fingers and a straw or skewer to tamp the moss into place as you work. I covered the soil in front of the hill with sheet moss and pushed it into place. I added some reindeer moss along the sides of the terrarium and broke off a few inches from a twig garland to make a tree. I topped it with more reindeer moss. I added a few rocks, some broken pieces of twigs, and sphagnum moss. I added Yoda and R2-D2 last.
Creating a terrarium landscape isn’t an exact science. Mixing different types and colors of moss together along with extras like rocks or beach glass creates a nice contrast.
If you plan to leave your terrarium in place on a long term basis, waterproof the action figures with a clear craft sealant and let the sealant dry before you insert them. Find a lid for the glass container and make sure the terrarium isn’t in direct sunlight. Mist the terrarium with a spray bottle every two to four weeks.
You can take these basics and design a terrarium that looks like Dagobah, Endor, or even Naboo. It’s possible to create a sand environment, too, and build Tatooine. Customize to your hearts content with different materials, toys, and glass containers. I highly recommend reading Tiny World Terrariums by Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow if you’d like to up your terrarium game.
If you create a Star Wars terrarium for your Thanksgiving spread, please drop a link to pictures in the comments or send me a photo on Twitter.