Fairy gardens are just so darn cute! Large or small, you and your kids can create a tiny world to spark their imagination. Plus, it gets kids outside and learning about plants! I’ve got two examples of fairy gardens we’ve made, including a fairy house from sticks, bark, and scraps, a sign, and a birdbath. I also include a list of the plants we used.
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Sorry no post last Friday. Em just began her summer vacation and we are trying to adjust to a new schedule. Plus, I went to the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee! That was loads of fun. I’ll try to post stuff to Facebook about that.
As I mentioned in a recent post, 10 Engaging Nature Crafts and Activities for Kids of All Ages, I have fallen in love with fairy gardens. Big or small, they are just so adorable! Em and I made a small one last year out of a broken flower pot. This year we decided to go bigger and even build a fairy house! As an added bonus, we also made the dragonflies mentioned in my former post to put in the fairy garden. So, I have lots to cover today!
Small Fairy Garden DIY Using Broken Flower Pot
I’ll start with the small fairy garden. Em disassembled the whole thing a while ago, but I guess it ends up being a good thing because now I can show you the how-to as I put it back together.
When the flower pot originally broke, I thought about gluing it back together, so it went into my fix-it pile, where it sat for quite a while. In the meantime, I started using Pinterest (what a wonderful time sink!) and found an example of a fairy garden using a broken pot. My pot happened to break in the ‘V’ shaped wedge just like the example, so I got excited and decided to try it myself. I inserted the broken piece turned in a bit to make a channel where the stairs will go, and began filling the pot with dirt to hold it in place.
On the left side, you can see there is vertical gap, which is covered with moss in the final piece. You could put the broken piece closer to the edge of the pot to avoid this space, but I decided I wanted the gap. To help hold the dirt in, I put a small piece of wire mesh I found in our junk scrap pile. You could use burlap or a piece of window screening too. Or, make a little rock wall with some stones. I covered this with moss. I had to hold some of the pieces of moss in place temporarily with little tiny sticks, like pins. You could also use upholstery staples or even T pins.
For the stairs, I found various sized rocks. I tried to find ones that were pretty flat, or at least had one flat side. The last time I made it, I only used rocks for the stair treads, and left the risers as dirt and covered them with moss. But it didn’t hold up very well. So this time I used some rocks for the risers too. After building my staircase, I filled in some of the little empty areas with bits of moss.
Now that your structure is in place, you can do whatever you want at the top! I made a little path leading over to a little bench made with just a rock base and a piece of bark. I planted a few small plants (a fern and some creeping thyme). [See below for specific plants I used.]
Em wanted a sign, so I made a little “Welcome to Fairyland” sign out of a wood chip. I used a Sharpie to letter it, then added a little glitter, and gave it a few coats of Mod Podge glue to seal it. I then hot-glued it to a stick.
My favorite part is the bird and birdbath. My grandmother gave me this tiny glass bird she’d gotten on one of her trips when I was young, and I’ve managed not to lose it all these years. I thought it would be so cute in the fairy garden, so I made a birdbath for him. For the birdbath, I used a bottle cap for the bowl, and an empty cap from an old Avon lipstick sample from the 70’s. (Okay, how many of you recognized that tube?) It was in my old Barbie stuff Em now uses. It was being used as a glass. (My upcycling tendencies go waaaay back.) I hot glued them together. To make it look like stone, I coated it all in Mod Podge glue and applied fine sand. I had some white sand and black sand left over from one of those sand art kits, so I mixed a little black in with the white to make it look more like gray concrete. I gave it several coats to build up the sand to get good coverage. I love the way it came out! I made this last summer and you can see that it now has aged nicely.
Larger Fairy Garden and Fairy House DIY
That’s all that is in the small fairy garden at the moment. A couple of weeks ago Em and I started on the new, bigger one, and it’s been an ongoing project, doing a little bit here and there. We started with an 18″ diameter plastic bowl-style planter. At a local garden center, we picked up a few plants we thought might work well, and began planting (I give details below). But then Em decided she wanted a fairy house, so we switched gears and worked on that project.
It was a spur of the moment thing and Em wanted to get started immediately (and so did I!), so I scrambled to find some supplies as she gathered sticks and bits of bark. I found a scrap piece of wood from our deck resurfacing project last summer, and some strips of thin wood from the old lattice we had taken down around the deck. I got out the tool kit Em received for Christmas, including the little nails.
We used the piece of decking as the base. It’s a little thicker than I wanted, but it’s what we had. It did give a good base to hammer into. We then took pieces of the lattice to use as vertical supports in each corner, and also between the window and door in the front. We found pieces that even had the angles already for the roof line. We nailed these to the base in each corner. Then we added some cross pieces for stability. We decided to then start adding the sticks for the log walls before adding the roof so it would be stronger. We hot-glued them to the vertical supports. If you just add hot glue at each end, your kiddo can hold the stick in the middle to put it in place.
Once we got to the top of the walls, I added the roof supports. I hot-glued them on top of the vertical supports, but I wish I had nailed it on so it would be stronger and also the roof would be lower. We then added some sticks horizontally up the roof as a base for the roof shingles, which were made of pieces of bark we hot glued in place. Em took a stab at using the hot glue gun and did pretty well. She never touched the tip of the hot glue gun, but twice she touched the hot glue as she was putting on a shingle, so then she left the rest of the gluing for me.
You may have noticed that the back of the house doesn’t have a wall. Em wanted to leave that open in case she decided to play with little figurines (or her Lego Friends) in the house. The last thing I did was go back over the whole structure to make sure things were sturdy, adding hot glue here and there, especially at each corner, almost like chinking in a real log house.
It’s also missing a door. We couldn’t decide exactly what we wanted to make that out of, so we left that as another project for later in the summer.
There is one final detail we added. Em wanted a window box! I found some popsicle sticks that we had used as plant labels in the garden last year, so they were well aged. I had one wide one (like a tongue depressor), which I cut into two long pieces about the width of the window. Then I took the skinnier popsicle stick and cut it into one long piece (for the bottom) and 4 shorter pieces. I attached the two long sides to the bottom with hot glue. Then I used two of the short pieces as sides. The last two short pieces (that still had the rounded edges) I stuck between some sticks under the window to make a ledge to hold the window box. I don’t think we can find any real plants that will survive in it, but she added some tiny clovers and I added flowers made from some flower beads and plastic-coated wire. Maybe we’ll find some tiny silk flowers to add later.
The house ended up a bit big for the size planter we have, so I decided to make a ledge hanging over the back of the planter with a large flat rock. The house is on the ledge, so it doesn’t take up as much planter space. After rearranging the plants a bit to accommodate the ledge and larger house, we made a little path and added some moss. Then we added some pea gravel on the right to look like a dry creek bed. It doesn’t show up well in the photos, but we even added a curved piece of bark over the creek to look like a bridge. Em found some “boulders” she liked, which are scattered here and there. I put the birdbath and bird from the small fairy garden in this larger one (but she didn’t want it, so it was moved back).
And everyone knows fairies like shiny, sparkly things, so we added some bling. I found a few glass pebbles (used in flower vases), and Em found some gems from her collection. We also took a cool round bead and put it on a stick to look like a garden mirror ball.
Fairy Garden Plants
Regarding the plants, we didn’t spend a whole lot of time trying to find the perfect miniature plants. We saw some small, dainty plants at the garden center and read the labels. Some might get a bit large, but we can either prune it back or transplant later and replace with something else.
Here’s what we chose:
- Blue Ageratum: bluish-purple small flowers in clusters. These might get a little tall, but then they’ll look like Dr. Seuss trees.
- Platt’s Black: soft, fern-like groundcover that adds a nice variety of color.
- Lysimachia ‘Aurea’: another low groundcover with yellowish green leaves.
- Showstar Melampodium: Small yellow flowers. They are low now, but the tag says they can get to 8″ to 12″ tall. We planted them around the edges, so even if they get big, I think it’ll be okay.
- Plumosa Fern: I love the daintiness of this one. And it almost looks like a bonsai plant. I put part of it in the large fairy garden and part in the small fairy garden.
- Lavender Alyssum: This is a really common flower used in borders. It doesn’t get too big. It’ll look like a large hydrangea in fairy-scale.
- Creeping Thyme: I don’t have a tag for this because I yanked a few pieces out of one of my gardens where I have it growing between stepping stones. It’s another foot-traffic plant. And you can eat it!
- Moss: I didn’t take a close-up picture of it, and I don’t know what kind of moss it is. We just found it in the yard.
Dragonflies & Butterflies
We put some of the dragonflies on the roof of the fairy house, some around the plants, and some I stuck wire into the glue on the body so they could look like they were flying. You can see them in the pictures above, but here are a couple of close ups:
I just love the way both fairy gardens turned out! Have you made a fairy garden yet? Give it a try!
By the way, if you like nature crafts, you might want to check out my post 10 Engaging Nature Crafts and Activities for Kids of All Ages.
I also have a Pinterest board with more ideas: Nature Crafts and Activities for Kids board on Pinterest. Please follow me while you are there!