Written by Andy Duncan, ReStore Development Coordinator
At this year’s Habitat for Humanity Global Conference, I was able to speak with several other ReStore folks from affiliates across the country, and one of the topics that came up several times was the illusive “Pinterest Unicorn.”
For those who don’t know, Pinterest is a social media platform wherein crafty folk from all over can post and assemble pictures demonstrating the results of their hobbies. So the idea of donors and shoppers repurposing materials from the ReStore – turning vents into light fixtures, doors into garden benches, and lamp globes into planters – is an enticing and exciting one for us! At the conference we all mused and dreamed of such donors/customers bringing in picture after picture of their deft feats of re-use.
But in reality, we call them unicorns because, well, they are rare – perhaps even mythical. Not anymore! After myriad discussions with my peers and colleagues, I set off to not only find a Pinterest Unicorn, but to actually become one! I give you my new hobby: turning old light fixtures into terrariums.
It’s rather simple and inexpensive. First, you find the light you want to use – about $10 at one of our three ReStore locations. Next, remove the lighting parts; this is usually just a couple of screws undone with a wrench or two.
Then you needs some rocks (these are free, outside). Put a layer one to two inches deep at the bottom of your light fixtures for drainage. You will need some activated charcoal – this is pretty cheap in the aquarium aisle of your local pet store. Sprinkle a layer of this over your rocks for moisture filtration. Next place some moss – the kind that comes with hanging plant pots these days ($2 at a hardware store) – over this mixture. Then you need some dirt and sand, these can also be free but it’s recommended you get them free of earth-bound creatures who may not appreciate finding themselves trapped in a new glass house. Mix these together and fill a layer two inches on top of the rocks, charcoal, and moss!
Finally, you need some small moisture-loving plants. I’ve done well with ferns and certain types of succulents; ask your local garden center about these. You may need to cover and uncover the terrarium periodically to get the moisture level stabilized, letting water evaporate to lessen moisture level or misting to up the moisture level. And Voila! Do I have a rainbow horn coming out of my forehead yet?