Introduction: Matchbox Fairy Garden
so thinking tiny made me think of fairy gardens and that made me wonder just how small I could make one. The result of that experiment is this matchbox fairy garden. Which is pretty simple to make surprisingly. It was however incredibly difficult to photograph because it's a very messy project. So beware if you're planning on trying this one, a mess is guaranteed.
What you'll need: jute twine, glitter, hot glue, a matchbox, paints(I used acrylics but you can use whatever you've got at hand), popsicle sticks, sponge.
The tools I used: a hot glue gun, baking paper, scissors, wire cutters (to cut popsicle sticks, maybe not the best tool but it works, if you have heavy duty scissor or tin snips they work better), sand paper, paint brushes, and a needle.
Now it shouldn't need saying but since I feel like it I'm going to remind you to be careful especially when cutting popsicle sticks. That's by far the most dangerous part of this little experiment. Just play it safe always. Use safety glasses and protective gear if you feel you need it. Because it's always better to be safe than to be sorry. Also glitter in the eye is dangerous too and glitter always gets everywhere. I use Safety glasses with glitter because I'm paranoid about it getting in my eyes. Maybe that's just me, but I've heard horror stories and I'd rather not live them. So yeah not the most dangerous thing in the world but still it's good to play it safe and be careful.
Step 1: Painting Your Matchbox
so I painted my matchbox. The top needs to be brown, like dirt, but the drawer inside can be any color you'd like. I went with black because I have a lot of black paint. That's just how I roll though. Feel free to decorate the inside drawer however you'd like. But paint the outside cover brown.
Now I should probably mention that I made these matchboxes from cardstock. I just made them smaller than normal, so that they measure 2.5 cm by 3.5 cm when complete. You can use any matchbox or matchbox template, you don't need to go as small as I did on this one to get a similar result. I just like tiny things and making them tinier, so my tiny fairy garden needed a tiny matchbox to rest inside. If you look around online there are plenty of tutorials on making matchboxes so I'm not going to bore you with something redundant because they're easy to make and easy to find print outs for. Maybe one day I'll get crazy and show you how I make templates in inkscape, but today is not that day.
Just make or use a matchbox. Paint it brown on the cover and if you're mimicking me exactly then black on the inside drawer.
Step 2: Make Your Fairy House
so first you need to cut a house shape from your popsicle stick. Then I use this to cut a second that's roughly the same size. It's not an exact science and I don't measure these when I make them. Sometimes I make them taller and sometimes shorter. The best part about this is that each is one of a kind. So roughly it's 1.5 cm tall. With an inverted v at the top and square at the bottom. I make one first then use this to make a second that's the same size.
Next I cut a square that comes up to about half the height of the house, just before the inverted v at the top of my house shape. Then I cut this piece in half. Popsicle sticks split very easily. Once I have all my pieces cut (minus the roof) I sand this, sanding all the edges. Since you're dealing with tiny pieces of wood your fingers are going to get pretty c close to sand paper. Two things I've found that help are either using nail files, or sand paper boards or blocks whichever term you'd prefer. I just carefully hooks then and sand until my edges are smoothed out and the sides are sanded down nicely.
Next I glue the bottom of the house together, either using tacky glue or hot glue. It just depends on the day for me as to which glue I use. Tacky glue is my favorite though.
Next I cut two squares of popsicle stick that are long enough to make a roof that extends slightly from the top of the house. Again this isn't an exact science and I don't measure because I want each to be unique. Just cut a square and hold it to your house, these two pieces will make the roof. I sand these and then glue them down.
Now my house has a roof and it's ready to be painted. You can paint then any color you want. Mine I chose to paint white with a red roof and red door. I used a needle to make doors for the windows and a dot for the door knob on the door using black paint. Just do the needle in paint and paint 4 dots for Windows. But you can get as creative as you want. Add little details of you'd like or keep it simple like I did for this tutorial.
Now the hardest part of this project is completed. You've made a tiny house to go in your tiny matchbox. It's not gotten messy yet but it's about to so get prepared for the messy part.
Step 3: Getting Messy With Some Glitter
okay this is actually the easiest thing to do. You simply take your glue gun and put down tiny dots of glue on top of baking paper, then sprinkle glitter over the top and lightly press down to push the glitter into the glue. Easy right? But terribly messy. I made three of these little glitter glue dots. They're the stepping stones that lead to my little house.
Now you could use little bits of wood or bark, maybe even pine cones and just cut them to size to make some stepping stones for your fairy house that are different than mine. I don't use pine though, because I'm actually allergic to it like seriously allergic to it. But the options here are pretty much up to you. You can even use colored paper if you want. Or make more than three to make a longer path. It's really up to you. You just need some stepping stones to lead to the door of your tiny house. Something small enough to fit into a matchbox.
Oh and one they're cool you just gently peel them off the baking paper so you have the little dots which will fit in the drawer of your matchbox.
I suppose I should have pointed out earlier that this isn't a permanent set up but rather one you can put together over and over in different ways. Just a fairy garden to play with.
Though if you wanted a permanent miniature fairy garden you could just glue things down where you want them.
I wanted something I could add to and play around with, set up and take down. I'm strange like that, if you'd seen my bookshelves you'd know that I often make things and take them apart after a week just to change up the décor in my room a bit.
Step 4: Grass We Need Some Grass
okay so this is the second messy step. But it's exactly the same as the last one. Put your down put some cut up pieces of twine down, press into glue, wait for it to cool, then peel off your baking paper. And voilà you have little bits of grass that you can position anywhere you want on top of your little matchbox.
Now first you cut up some twine. I used green jute twine, but you could also use some static grass. Jute twine is just a cheap alternative to static grass, and what I had on hand. I used just one color though usually for grass I mix at least two colors of twine together. I didn't do that because I wanted this to have a less real more magical look to it.
If you don't have jute twine on hand but still want to make one of these, don't worry just use some embroidery floss. Cut it into small pieces and then push it into your glue the same way we did with the glitter.
Yet another option is to take Spanish moss and cut it into small little pieces. This always looks rough to me which is why I didn't use it, but it's an option as well.
Sorry I think I got a bit random with this step. Just to reiterate, you put down little dots of glue, then press cut twine into the glue. Let this cool and peel off your baking paper.
Step 5: A Bush
so for this step I just took a sponge and cut a little corner off of it. Then shaped this with scissors to look like a little tiny bush. Since my sponge was a hideous bright green color, I then used acrylic paint to paint this a darker green color. Don't try to make a perfectly round bush or even worry about the shape all that much, bushes and trees cone in such a wide variety of shapes that it's easy to make one that looks pretty much like a bush with out trying to hard. Just gently clip until you're satisfied with the shape.
Step 6: Some Flowers
okay this part is messy but fun. I just took my sponge and cut it up until it was in sand sized pieces. Then I used acrylics to paint these flower colored. Blue in my case, but also red and pink. I used my finger to paint them, I found that they stuck to a brush. Then just like previously, I took glue from my hot glue gun and applied small dots to baking paper and then pressed the copied up sponge pieces into it. When cooled down I had flower dots that I could add into my fairy house scene.
Step 7: A Pond
i wanted a little pond. So I just took glue and squeezed out a pond like shape into my baking paper. I let this cool, then painted the bottom side with blue paint.