So for my young nieces birthday we decided to make her a fairy garden. She loves fairies and anything crafty so this is ideal.
It will be set up in kit form so she can build it herself, grow the seeds and use her creativity to make it her own.
The Seeds we added in this case were a mix micro salads. The hope being if she is involved in the growing then she may well be inclined to eat it. (she doesn't like her greens)
By making this present ourselves it becomes more personal, you can customize it to the individual for instance it could be made into a Elf garden (more appropriate for a boy) or any other creature or theme you can think of.
With Christmas just gone and after just buying a house, money is a bit tight. So without seeming cheap we wanted to build this to a budget but still have a nice gift at the end.
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Step 1: To Start
I decided to make the main tray that will hold everything out of pallet wood.
Some pallet wood can be a bit rough but i found a couple of planks that were from a longer pallet that were suitable and with a bit of sanding will look nice.
I start by cutting off any split ends or parts with nail holes. Once cut i sand off any splinters, this makes measuring easier and more accurate.
Step 2: Cut Your Wood to Length
I then cut the timber to lenghts
- 5 x 30cm
- 2 x 34.6cm
(the added 4.6cm is because the thickness of the wood is 2.3 cm and this is added to each end for the joints later)
Tip: If you haven't got a square to use when marking your timber some (not all) saws have 90 and 45 degree angles built in to them. (see pictures 3 and 4 above)
Step 3: Joints
If i had a router or a fine tooth saw i would have been more adventurous with the type of joint used. Maybe dovetails or notched?
Instead i went with the lap joint. Its easy to do, sturdy and means I can use pin nails which will be nearly invisible when finished but were not long enough to go through the 2.3cm thickness
Mark the ends of the two longer pieces in 2.3cm and 1.15cm on the end and down the sides.
Use the saw to cut down to the half way line making sure not to go over it and to keep the saw level then cut down on the end to your first cut. If you have a chisel its probably easier to cut in to the first cut. being on the end of the grain it should follow and stay fairly straight.
Remember you can always cut more off. You can also stick it back on again but it looks rough as rats. so its better to undercut and shave a bit more later to fit it snug.
Use sandpaper to tidy up the ends.
Step 4: Glue and Pin
Set the two 34.6cm sections and two of the 30cm sections together to check alignment. The ends should sit flush, if not trim and adjust as required.
Making sure you keep the corners square glue and nail them. Use an extra nail to hammer the pin nails in a little further. (if you have one a thin punch would be better for this)
The wood should close over the nails in time hiding them from sight. Thats the theory anyway.
Step 5: Add the Bottom
Use two of the three remaining 30 cm pieces and place inside the frame to make the bottom. Measure the gap remaining and trim the last 30cm piece to fit. Glue and nail into place.
Step 6: Fairy Garden Liner
I used a black refuse sack to line the garden. This stops the soil touching the wood and causing rot and also stops moisture leaking out.
lay the bag out inside the frame pushing it into the corners. You'll have to some folding to get the corners lo look neat. A bit like wrapping a present but as an internal wrap.
Staple/nail along the top edge. You could also put some beading along the top edges to finish it neatly.
Trim the bag so its flush or just below the top edge.
Step 7: Filling and Decoration
So the final step is the filling and adding a couple of decorations.
For this garden i wanted to add a few bits but ultimately leave the main decoration to my niece.
Stepping stones - I cut some rounds off of a branch (dead fall not from a living tree)
These could be actual stones from the garden.
Fairy House - Using a section of a tree with a pitched roof, add a door and some windows made of wood. I might add some thatching when i can get some straw.
The mushroom was just a couple of scraps trimmed and glues into shape. glued on the front as decoration.
Seeds - Mixed micro salads. Could use any small plants or flowers.
The soil was just some compost I had I filled the tray to just below the rim as per photo. (this would be emptied into a zip seal bag ready for her Birthday)
Pack everything neatly into the tray and wrap.
Step 8: All Done
So the Fairy garden is all done.
I left any painting and extra decoration for my niece.
Some other additions could be;
- Pond/ water feature
- Tools (spade, rake etc)
- wood pile
The possibilities are endless.
Hope you Enjoyed this Instructable.
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