Shirley Bovshow’s Faux Aquarium


  • A number of different size acrylic photo frames for aquarium: 4 for aquarium box: 1 large frame for planter base: 4 small cube frames for legs
  • ModPodge
  • "Ocean design" paper for background and fish stickers
  • Lightweight lava rock, sand, shells
  • Succulent plants that look like coral reef plants and sea life

Directions to build the aquarium:

  1. Modpodge one side of the frame with the ocean design background
  2. Bond 4 acrylic photo frames together to form an open box using a special acrylic bonding gel called " Weld On 16" ( you can buy at home improvement store) (get someone to help you hold frames in place or you can use heavy books to lean against frame to add pressure)
  3. When finished putting open box together, let dry for an hour before the next step.
  4. Don't allow the Weld On 16 gel to drip on frame, it will make holes
  5. Open small photo cubes and insert small decorative shells
  6. Close cubes and bond them to the bottom of a large frame, which is our planting base. Let dry for one hour.
  7. Bond the box to the large frame, centering it in the middle You are now ready to start the plant design!

Directions to design your aquarium:

  1. First prepare the plants: There are many low water succulents that look like they come from the bottom of the ocean. Wrap wet moss around the succulent roots and secure with old panty hose
  2. Next, create planting pockets for your succulents by stacking lava rocks around terrarium where you will insert plants
  3. Layer pea gravel and moss where you want to add plants
  4. Add some sand around the rocks and 3d fish stickers for an authentic look

Directions to care for your aquarium:

  1. Water when pantyhose feels dry
  2. Place terrarium indoors in bright room
  3. Spray water on moss and plants until wet or add a splash of water in planting pockets
  4. Replace plants as needed
DIY Faux Aquarium with Paige and Shirley

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Original design by Shirley Bovshow. For more detailed instructions and photos of the Faux Aquarium and Coral Reef, visit Shirley Bovshow's website: or on Twitter @EdenMaker

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