Friday, June 14, 2013

Fairy Gardening 101

A fairy garden by Kleas
Fairy gardens are magical spaces inhabited by plants, miniature structures, and imagination. Fairy gardens are often planted in containers. Many parents, especially in the natural parenting and homeschooling communities, use fairy gardens as imagination stations or nature tables for their children. Other enthusiasts create fairy gardens to enliven indoor spaces and patios. Larger fairy gardens can be built into natural landscapes like trees. They can be added to pre-existing flower beds, altars, or rock gardens. Though fairy garden kits are widely available online, they are often do-it-yourself projects that inspire both adults and children to create whimsical landscapes from natural materials.

The following lists and links will help jumpstart your fairy garden project.

The "fairy factory."
Use a saw to slice a stout branch or sapling into disks.
The disks make great tabletops, chair
seats, and bases for other structures. 

Gathering Materials For Your Garden Structures:

Creating a fairy garden shouldn't be expensive. You can create amazing fairy houses, furniture, and landscapes using reclaimed materials and items gathered from nature.

Recycled and Reclaimed Materials

  • Cardboard cylinders - Cover oatmeal containers with paper or birch bark to make fairy houses. Toilet paper and paper towel tubes can be added to smaller houses to transform them into towers and castles. 
  • Terra-Cotta pots - whole pots become instant houses and fragments can be used as walls, stepping stones, or support for multi-layer container gardens
  • Corks - use corks as bases for tables, bird baths, and more
  • Scrap fabric - fabric scraps add a dash of color to your garden as fairy bedding, flags, and banners
  • Plastic containers - burry a yogurt container to create a tiny pond in your garden

The possibilities are endless!

Finding Natural Materials

Next time you take a nature walk, keep your eyes open for lovely twigs, stones, shells, seed pods, nuts, dried plants, and pinecones.

Embellished pots, polymer clay mushrooms, & a twig fence
Early fall is the best time to find natural materials. Since many seeds, nuts, etc. have already dried and fallen, it lessens the temptation to pick living plants. Fairies walk lightly and thank the earth for her gifts. Fairy gardeners do too!

Crafting Supplies

  • Glue Gun - Your glue gun will probably become your best friend as you delve into the world of fairy gardens. While professional miniaturists use a wide variety of glues for different materials, a glue gun will get you where you need to be, kennit? If you use hot glue, it's best to move your miniatures inside during rainy weather. If kids play in your fairy garden, expect a few miniatures to break. You can either return the natural materials to the earth or mend them. I feel that our ethereal fairy-friends would approve of this lesson in non-attachment. (You can find a detailed discussion of different glues here
  • Polymer Clay - Polymer clay is inexpensive and you bake your work in the oven. Easy-peasy! With polymer clay you can embellish terra-cotta pots, make tiny mushrooms and flowers, or populate your garden with clay creatures.
  • Wire Cutters or Loppers - Trim sticks and twigs down to size
  • Craft moss- It's available in both synthetic and natural varieties. As I glue structures together, I stick moss to the spots where hot glue leaks through. It both covers the glue and gives the objects an earthy look.
  • Pre-made miniatures - Why children have brought countless little toys to live in the fairy garden. You can also find wonderful and inexpensive little birds, flowers, and other objects at craft stores and online

Building the Garden

How To Build A Fairy Garden - Natural Parenting Tips
How To Build A Fairy Garden - Fairy In A Garden
How to Make Your First Fairy Garden (video)
How To Make A Fairy Garden - Magic Onions
Mini Spiral Garden - World in Green

Decorating the Garden

DIY Twig Furniture - Kleas
Make a Fairy Well - Juise
Make a Fairy House - Crafts by Amanda
Make a Fairy Tent - Anna Branford
Fairy Home Decore - The Magic Onion
Home For Fairies - Juise
Flower Fairy Peg Dolls - The Imagination Tree


Green Spirit Arts
The Enchanted World of Fairy Woodland 
The Magic Onion
Raven Moon Magic


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