Before we can get down to the basics of building, I need to teach you about the various elements, processes, and materials used in Fairy House e construction.
The ultimate location where you plan to place your Fairy House will impact the design and materials used, as will your skill level.
Here are some essential tips to help you orient yourself as you design your first creation.
An extravagant Faerie Château perched on the edge of a quiet lake is kissed by morning light.
Sustainably harvested cypress knees make excellent bases for treehouse-type constructions.
The first place to start in discussing the building of Fairy Houses is to consider whether you want to work strictly outdoors or if you want to create your house in a studio or indoor location.
OUTDOOR Fairy House
Building Fairy Houses outdoors with materials found right in the immediate area results in sculptures that are spontaneous and fun but not very durable.
“Locally sourced” takes on a whole new meaning when you are looking at stumps, forest floors, or other natural locations for building materials.
A general rule of thumb is to collect respectfully and leave living materials in place untouched.
While it is true that some of my images contain fresh-collected leaves and flowers, I always did so following sustainable practices and asked permission first … even from the plants themselves.
Sometimes, even if they are plentiful, a tree may not wish to share its leaves.
Consult your intuition and respect the answer that comes.
Items built to be left outdoors must be constructed using only natural materials and non-toxic glues, which means using no hot glue or glue guns.
This glue is made from plastic, so it will not degrade and can cause harm to wildlife.
Please work respectfully if you are going to leave your studio-made embellishment outside permanently. »
These little creations are naturally ephemeral as they come from the earth and return to it.
It’s likely you’ll make your little house and enjoy it for a bit, only to leave it for others to discover while it still stands.
Oftentimes the site itself will help guide that process.
When building outdoors, you can bring premade elements, such as doors or windows, with you. I like doing this because it adds creativity and sophistication to the design.
Some things are difficult to make out in the field but can be made in the studio ahead of time.
I keep a stash of premade items in a basket to take into the woods with me.
It is great fun to work this way!
Making houses for different seasons gives us fabulous opportunities to expand our creative expression.
Once you start creating, you’ll find inspiration everywhere—such as this moss- and fungi-covered tree.
INDOOR Fairy Houses
Building a Fairy House indoors in a controlled environment with lots of tools, pre-gathered or purchased materials, and plenty of time allows you to make one-of-a-kind, truly amazing artistic creations.
Houses that will be kept safely indoors (with an occasional visit to the garden) can be made with more durable components and adhesives, and with more luxurious decorative elements such as battery-powered lights, sparkly glass beads, velvet leaves, wallpapers, and so forth.
SELECTING A HOUSE STYLE
After choosing a location (indoors or outdoors), decide whether the house will have round/curved walls or flat ones.
There are construction challenges to each design style.
For example, doors and windows are a bit more difficult to install on curved walls.
Flat-walled houses require more creativity on your part to ensure that they don’t look like miniature human houses.
Once you’ve had a little experience with each, you will feel comfortable using either design format.
Here are some examples to illustrate the point.
DESIGNING & BUILDING A FAERIE DREAM HOME
Once you have decided whether to use curved or flat wall construction, it’s helpful to make a quick sketch of the house so you know where you plan to put doors, windows, and towers on your house.
You should also think about the type of roof you’d like to build.
Once the sketch is done, you can gather your materials.
Select interesting materials to inspire construction—perhaps a particular twisted branch, a lovely jewelry finding, or a special shell or stone that you’ve found.
Don’t worry about having absolutely everything on hand before you begin, as part of the process—the adventure of creating—is going out to find additional bits for your project to enhance its design.
When you have a basic plan for your Fairy House , you’ll follow these general steps to build it.
Select and prepare the wall materials, as well as the base—if the house will have one.
Create the individual elements for the house such as doors, windows, vestibules, towers, porches, and so forth.
It is much easier to create these elements separately ahead of time and add them to the body of the house.
Install the doors and windows while keeping in mind whether the house is to be finished on the inside or not, if lighting will be added or not, and if the roof will be removable or not.
Attach towers, bay or bump-out windows, decorative outside features (such as vines and twig trim), and prepare for the roof attachment.
plan for your Fairy House
Install lighting, keeping the battery pack handy (but as hidden as possible).
So it’s easy to operate the switch and change the batteries, when needed.
Finish the interior walls, including decorative elements and trims, lighting sconces, window seat upholstery, and so forth.
Final finishing is done at this step if the house will have a fixed roof.
If the roof will be removable, finishing can be done later.
Build the roof(s), attached roofs directly onto the house and Build removable roofs separately.
Add dormers, towers, chimneys, and finials that are part of the roof.
Finish the inside of the roof if it will be removable.
Create and install the floor for the house.
If a fixed roof has been installed, this will be your final chance to make any adjustments to the interior of the house before it is sealed up.
For removable-roof houses, adding the floor is usually completed before the final interior finishes are done.
Add final landscaping details to the house.
If you desire to attach the house to a base, do that now as well, and landscape around the base.
Fairy House TOOLKITS
If you’re like me, you’re always going to want to have your Fairy House toolkit handy because you never know when inspiration might strike!
There are certain tools, such as hand pruners.
that I always carry when I’m walking about, looking for materials or building Fairy Houses in nature.
Other items, including things like glue guns and epoxy resin, are only used indoors.
So I have two different toolkits with a few items that are common to both.
Because building out in nature requires respect for the environment.
I tend to use a lot of thorns, raffia, and cotton/linen thread to hold things together, as they will eventually break down and return to nature.
There are a few more tools in my kit, They are :
Small foam kneeling pad
Collecting bags or baskets
Notebook and pen
The toolkit for studio work contains more carving, cutting, and sculpting tools as well as various kinds of adhesives.
Below is my basic set of tools that I use in the studio.
Tools not shown but part of my studio collection:
Flat, fine-toothed draw saw
Coping saw—essential for cutting plywood bases
Small hand drill and bits
Last Fairy House Idea
When sourcing materials, always keep the idea of scale in mind.
What might be a tiny bead on the end of an earring could serve as a full-sized doorknob for a Fairy House. Choose materials that look harmonious together in terms of size, and that will help you recreate a tiny world. Mostly, think small.