DIYdiy projects

diy project: kate’s miniature tin gardens

by Grace Bonney

my house is not a great home for plants because of how little light it gets, but it is earth day and i wanted to bring a little nature to my work desk. these mini zen gardens combine several of my favorite things, including my love of anything miniature. the faux wood paper gives it a little todd oldham mod feel too, which i love. these take no time to make and are a good little gift idea for moms, or anyone special. have fun! –

CLICK HERE for the full project after the jump!

What You’ll Need:
1. altoids tins
2. scissors
3. ruler
4. pen
5. florists foam (comes in cubes of all sizes, available at craft stores, you just need a small rectangle for the tin)
6. dried moss (also available at craft or floral supply stores)
7. tiny balsa wood strip (available at craft stores)
8. 3 bamboo bbq sticks
9. low temp glue gun
10. knife
11. sand
12. dried flowers (i found most of my greens around my yard, the billy bobs are dried and leftover from a bouquet)
13. rocks (i picked these up from around my neighborhood)
14. faux wood paper/drawer liner paper (available at hardware stores)
15. pliers


1. remove the tops of the tins. clean the bases and dry. flatten the back hinges with a pair of pliers.
2. trace the base on the paper and cut out the shape.
3. measure a strip of paper that is 1.5″ wide and long enough to wrap around the tin with a little overlap. cut out the strip
4. stick the bottom panel on first and smooth out any air bubbles.
5. start the strip in the middle of the back of the tin. stick the strip flat, lined up against the bottom edge of the sides. wrap tightly around all four sides and overlap slightly at the back. cut off any leftover length of the strip.
6. fold the top of the strip over the top edges of the tin into the inside and flatten along the inside edges. there will be slight wrinkles in the corners but it will flatten nicely. smooth out all wrinkles.


for the rock garden:
1. fill with sand and rocks.
2.. to make the tiny rake, cut the balsa strip into two pieces: one .5″ long and one 2″ long. cut the tips off of three bbq sticks (about .25″) and glue these tips to the .5″ strip. hold the 2″ strip at a slight angle and glue to the back of the .5″ strip.
for the flower garden:
1. trace the altoids tin onto the foam block and slice the block with a knife. cut it down to about .5″ thick and cut down sides until it fits in the tin. glue the foam down.
2. cover the foam with moss pieces and glue those down. snip off any moss hanging over the edges.
3. cut your desired dried plants and flowers down to size and stick into the foam. practice your ikebana skills as much as you want because the foam is very forgiving.



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