Monday, March 19, 2012

Action Figure Terrarium

by Megan S.

I love my action figures but I often wish I had a better way to display them rather then gathering dust on a dark shelf.  So, when I saw a terrarium a few weeks ago, it hit me.  Mini terrariums personalized for each figure would be a perfect and stylish way to show 'em off.  Even better, I could easily create each display using items I already have at home and a few key pieces from my local chain craft store, Michaels.

Intrigued?  Here's how you make an action figure terrarium...

What you'll need:

An action figure - one smaller than five inches works best.
     (My Princess Leia figure is 3.75" tall.)
A clean mason jar with label and contents removed
     or another medium sized glass container
Dried moss
Medium sized decorative polished stones
A plastic soda bottle top
Double-sided tape
7" x 7" square of fabric
Ribbon or embroidery thread (optional)
Buttons or other decorative items (optional)

One thing before we begin: a true terrarium is a miniature ecosystem containing living plant matter.  Because I'm a klutz and there's a significant chance I will knock over anything within arms reach and because I don't know if exposure to water and decaying plant matter will affect action figures, I made  a non-working terrarium.  If you'd like to learn how to make a true terrarium, check out these instructions on Garden Design.

Now, on with the show!

Step one: thoroughly clean your container.  I soaked the mason jar in warm soapy water for a few minutes to loosen the label and then carefully peeled the paper off.  I used glass cleaner on the lantern to remove any smears from the inside and outside of the glass.

Step two: Carefully form a layer of stones on the bottom of the container approximately one and a half inches thick.  I arranged the stones (a two pound bag of multi colored stones available from Michaels in the floral department for $2.49) so a variety of colors would be visible from the outside.  It just looks nicer that way.

Step three: Make a base for your figure using the bottle top, stone, and double-sided tape.  It the stone doesn't stay in the top when overturned, use a piece of tape to secure it.  Then apply a few layers of double-sided tape to the top and attach to the feet of your figure.  If your figure's feet aren't flat, roll up a length of tape into a ball and use that to attach it to the bottle top.  It will offer more stability.

Step four: cover the bottle top with with moss and place the action figure in the container.  Be sure to thread a few pieces of the moss (the variety pack is available from Michaels in the floral department for $6.99) between the figure's feet so none of the top is visible.  Then, carefully position the figure in the container, making sure it looks good from all angles.

Step five: tear of small pieces of moss and position the material around the figure's base.  I used my scissors to tuck the moss between the stones but anything long and thin will do the trick. 

Step six: (Optional) If you're using a mason jar, you may wish to cover the lid so the label doesn't show.  I used a piece of felt I had left over from making Lilly's Ewok costume and secured it using double sided tape and embroidery thread.  I attached three wooden buttons to the ends of the thread for some added flair

So, there you have it - an easy, cheap, and stylish way to display your action figures using items you have at home and a few key pieces from a craft store!
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