Fairy gardens have been something I have admired for some time but in other people’s yards. And on Pinterest.
If you had asked me a couple of years ago about creating a fairy garden in my yard, my answer would have been “No way!”.
Not that I don’t think they are adorable and magical looking in other people’s landscapes. I just didn’t have the time or the interest in taking on a new hobby. That is until I had grandchildren – especially two beautiful granddaughters who I just know will love their own fairy garden at Nonna’s house.
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This post is part of the Creative Craft Hop which I will be your host once again this month.
If you are visiting from Jenna’s site, The Painted Apron then welcome! I know you will enjoy her project for September Pumpkin this month. At the very bottom of this post, I will direct you to the next stop on this blog hop venture, but I can assure you that you don’t want to miss any of the other talented bloggers participating this month.
Honestly, it was actually my husband who got me started on the project of making a fairy garden.
Once the new decks were built this summer and we started talking about the next plans for the fenced-in area of our backyard, my husband pointed to a tree stump in the area. He announced that that stump was not going to be removed because it was perfect for a fairy garden for the grandkids.
As you can expect, I almost immediately started looking at all the options and ideas for putting together a fairy garden.
What did we do before Pinterest?
What I quickly realized was that a fairy garden can quickly become very elaborate and very expensive. Especially the houses. As beautiful and charming as some of them are, I just couldn’t see spending that much money on a whimsical children’s garden that may or may not survive past the first year.
And as you can expect from someone who loves to DIY any type of project, my mind turned to ways to cut some of the cost by creating my own DIY fairy garden houses.
Several searches on Pinterest convinced me that even making my own DIY versions of a fairy house was indeed a project in itself. The most important takeaway was that the style, shape, and theme of the house could be made out of just about anything.
Also that the entire fairy garden could be as unique and varied in style and characters as you want it to be. No two fairy gardens are alike because everyone can use the same little figurines and accessories in a different way.
I can already tell I will need to stop myself from going overboard with this type of project. Also that it will be a long-term endearing endeavor to find each and every piece. Or to make each little special piece.
Every little mushroom statue, miniature creature, water feature, pebble, and especially the fairies chosen to reside in our special little garden will be thoroughly discussed, considered, and debated before they are awarded entrance to the garden by the grandchildren, one more than others.
I have already decided that each grandchild will get to select their own fairy, or gnome, to live in their part of the garden.
Somehow I can already envision this to be an ever-changing fixture in our backyard as the grandkids continue to grow and enjoy it.
As you can tell, I am probably having a bit too much fun planning this project!
Making my first DIY fairy garden house on a budget.
My first idea for a DIY fairy garden house was to use small terra cot pots and saucers. Using small terra cotta pots are not only the most popular for DIY fairy garden houses on Pinterest but can be painted with acrylic paint, or decorated with small stones, gemstones, sticks, or even tree bark to create some very magical addictions to an outdoor fairy garden. I haven’t given up on this idea for the future.
Ready to jump right into creating my first fairy house, I almost purchased several small terra cotta pots but stopped myself because I didn’t feel like I had really given the idea of the theme of the fairy houses enough thought. Living in a modern home, I just felt like our DIY fairy houses needed to be modern and made out of something unexpected as well.
So, I set about shopping at thrift stores and craft stores for unique items to use to make a little house for our planned modern garden decor.
On one shopping trip for ideas, I found that unexpected “anything” item that made me think of a fairy house. A yellow coffee mug on clearance at Michaels.
This bulbous-shaped coffee mug in an earthy yellow color just spoke to me of a whimsical fairy house. Combined with a 3″ terra cotta saucer that fits perfectly inside the rim of the mug for the roof, I just knew it was going to be an adorable little DIY fairy house.
My searches on Pinterest convinced me of several important things about fairy gardens and gave me so many DIY fairy garden ideas. One of those is that fairy garden houses must have a magical and creative-looking fairy garden door.
I could have easily used acrylic paint and painted on a whimsical fairy garden door on the coffee mug, but that was just not special enough. The designer in me wanted the door to be something creative that stood out in dimension and style against the smooth surface of the coffee mug.
I found the creativity needed to craft a special little door by using air-dry clay.
This may have been so obvious to others, but I have never worked with clay before and didn’t even consider it until I found a package in the craft department of a Pop Shelf store. Standing in the store and holding that package of clay, the vision for a rustic wooden-looking door was born.
This project not only used up some supplies in my craft room stash, but I also learned how to work with air dry clay for the first time and I am hooked. Don’t know why I waited so long to learn how to work with air dry clay before now. It was so much fun and the whimsical dimension it added to the fairy house is totally adorable.
Purchasing the package of air dry clay was an impulse decision late one night. I was looking for inspiration for the fairy houses, yes more than one will need to be made, and once I randomly saw the small package of air dry clay on the shelf, my mind filled with all of the other little items I could make for the future fairy garden besides just the door and window for the coffee mug.
The door for the coffee mug fairy house was so easy to make.
First I rolled flat a small pinch of the clay using a small drinking glass as a rolling pin. Then I placed the wet clay in position on the bulbous-shaped coffee mug to create the needed curve in the door shape. The door needed a door frame so I rolled tiny little balls of clay and placed them around the shape of the door to resemble a stone door frame.
To keep the mug from rolling around while I created the shape of the fairy door, I propped it up by the handle of a small notebook.
The edge of a butter knife was used on the clay door to give it the look of rustic wood slats. Last, a small ball of clay was attached as a doorknob for this fairy house’s front door.
For the window, I rolled a length of clay in the shape of a rope and looped the ends together to create a round window. Two more small rope shapes were rolled to create the inside panes of the window.
After watching some tutorial videos on Pinterest, I learned that to get each small piece of clay to attach to another piece, it is important to dip your fingers in water to be able to rewet the clay and mold the pieces together. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn this first because you will see in the later photos that the pieces to the door came apart once dried. Nothing was ruined but it did take more effort to glue them back in place on the mug once dried.
All these pieces were left in place on the coffee mug to dry out for 24 hours. I wanted to make sure that the door and window shapes kept the curve needed to attach them to the coffee mug.
Once the clay pieces had dried and hardened for more than 24 hours, each was painted with acrylic paints in shades of brown and gray for a nature-inspired fairy door.
Air dry clay was a great way to make the fairy garden door and even more small fairy garden decor items, which I will be making in the future to use up the clay.
How to make the terra cotta saucer roof.
To create the roof of the fairy house, the 3″ terra cotta saucer was painted in shades of green acrylic paint. In my craft stash, I had a package of green moss that I purchased for some long-forgotten project. Layers of green moss were attached to the saucer with E6000 glue, along with small pea pebbles left over from repotting a plant.
Two small building tower blocks from Dollar Tree were used for a chimney. Also known as Jenga blocks, they were painted in shades of gray, brown, and black acrylic paint that helped to hide the seam in the middle of the two blocks. The blocks were glued together and glued in place on the top of the terra cotta saucer to resemble a chimney.
E6000 glue was also used to attach the painted fairy door and door frame and the small round window shape.
More green moss was glued to the small clay window frame.
My first modern and whimsical-themed DIY fairy garden house is ready for my first mini garden. I even used the air dry clay to try to make some fairy garden accessories like pumpkins and mushrooms. This was such a fun project, and one I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy.
My plan was to reveal to you very soon my completed beautiful fairy garden in another post. There is just one problem with that.
It won’t stop raining in our area!
In East TN we have been experiencing weeks of severe storms and lots of rain.
Around the designated tree stump, I cleaned up the space, put in a natural rock border, then put down weed control landscape fabric, and a layer of topsoil in preparation for the fairy houses and the few fairy garden accessories that I ordered online.
That was weeks ago.
Our yard is a mess of debris from the storms and thick mud. So I am still waiting to put in the fairy garden houses and accessories around the tree trunk.
At this point, I may have to box everything up for the winter and reveal the beautiful fairy garden to you in the Spring. At least I will be able to make more clay pieces and shop for accessories in the colder months.
To show you the finished project, I just had to take photos of the finished coffee mug fairy house on a shelf for now. It would have looked so much better photographed in the finished fairy garden.
Pin For Later
Now I invite you to take some time and visit all of the other talented bloggers who participated in the Creative Craft Blog Hop this month. I hope you continue your creative journey through this month’s Creative Craft blog hop by visiting the next blogger in line, which is Carol’s project for The Easiest Way to Make Zippered Pillow Covers.