If you have been to Sprout Home, you know that we are obsessed with terrariums. If you look closely enough, you might find little figurines acting out a story in these miniature worlds. Once the domain of only children, playing around with figurines is now not only acceptable for us grownups, but we at Sprout Home encourage it. Utilizing figurines can make a terrarium appear larger than life and even more precious.
Always on the lookout for vintage figurines, I have found that scouring flea markets and garage sales is the best way to find them. Most of these vintage figurines were once connected to someone's toy train set, or used by children to depict various scenes as hunters, athletes, policemen, loggers, or people picnicking. I recently happened across a train collector's swap meet, and it threw me into a terrarium frenzy like you wouldn't believe. You can change the mood of your terrarium at will by switching out scenes. We have even gone as far as creating terrariums in which the figures are in fact buried in the soil, only viewable through the glass sides. Try to imagine your figurines interacting with the plants.
It can be difficult to find good, vintage pieces out there, so if you want immediate satisfaction, try going to a hobby shop for newer train figurines, or to a toy store that might have small scale action figures. Just try to avoid figurines that have actual fabric for their attire, since it could hold in moisture and possibly develop a mold or fungus in higher moisture level terrariums.
However, you don't have to be limited to just using them in terrariums either. I also love to utilize figurines with bonsai plantings to show off tree specimens. There are artists out there like Slinkachu who feed my frenzy with his street installations all over the world. He even has a book out called Little People in the City that can be wonderful inspiration for your own figurine endeavors. Whether it be in your terrarium, bonsai, or as a matter of expression like the installations by Slinkachu, have fun with it. I know that there are others of you out there who share my passion, and it's ok to admit it. I will support you.