Tutorial: make a fairy door

      Corner by corner - fairy door tutorial

It all started, as things so often do for me these days, with Pinterest*. It started with a pin that showed some rather adorable looking ‘fairy doors’ made out of lolly sticks. But, frustratingly the pin didn’t take me anywhere useful. And I suddenly thought, ‘I could DO this. I could make them myself, and make a tutorial, and maybe it would be good for me, and perhaps it would even be useful.’ So here we are.

Tutorial: make your own fairy doors

Materials

  • Lollipop sticks / popsicle sticks (around 9 per door)
  • Glue (either PVA or, more thrillingly – and with more opportunities for James Bond impressions – a glue gun)
  • Thick carrier bag or other smooth non-porous surface to act as a gluing mat that you can easily peel gluey lolly sticks off
  • Buttons
  • Hacksaw, or something else sharp enough to cut lolly sticks with

1. Glue together enough lolly sticks to make the main body of your door. I just judged this by eye, and I found around 6 looked good. If you have a glue gun then this is the work of a moment. If you don’t have one, or if like me you DO have one but can’t lay your hands on it, then PVA is your friend. I laid out my six sticks next to each other on a reasonably sturdy carrier bag, thinking this would be easy to peel off afterwards. I made sure they were straight by pushing something straight up against one edge of the door, and then just ran glue up and down all the visible joins. I did think about carefully applying glue along each thin edge, then butting them up against each other one by one, but I thought this a) felt like a big faff and b) felt as though the glue would seep through and be visible from the ‘right’ side.

Corner by corner - fairy door

In fact, you can see in the picture above how this worked out. My red lolly sticks are ‘wrong side up’ so you can see shiny glue along where all the lolly sticks meet. The plain one is right side up, and you can see how they’re joined pretty seamlessly. You can also see how gluing like this made them bow slightly, but fear not! Step 2 will address this.

2. Glue on your reinforcements.

Corner by corner - fairy doorI wanted each of my doors to have two horizontal reinforcements, and one diagonal one. But there are no rules, obviously. I like this stage, because I think this is what makes a row of lolly sticks start to have undeniably door-ish qualities.

Corner by corner - fairy doorsI again did this by eye. I think the fairies are not exacting in their carpentry requirements. Strangely, I had two different sizes of red lolly stick, meaning I could use a whole one for the diagonal piece. But when it came to the plain sticks, I had to cut all three of my reinforcement pieces to size.

Fairy doors - corner by cornerBy now I had found my glue gun, so pressing my little doors flat, and holding on the reinforcers was the work of a happy, hot-glue moment. But if I’d still been using PVA I would have applied glue very sparingly (to stop it seeping through to the front), then folded over the carrier bag so that the door was encased in plastic to protect it, then thwacked a thick book on top to keep it all flat whilst it dried.

3. Adorn

Fairy door furniture - corner by cornerAfter all that ‘right side’ / ‘wrong side’ flapping about, you can clearly see in the picture above that I glued my reinforcers onto the wrong side of my red door. Ah well. Learn from my mistakes.

Once the doors are glued and flat you can stick stuff on. I kept it very simple and just glued on some very plain small buttons to act as doorknobs. If I’d had more time I would have roamed around the house looking for more stuff to act as door furniture. I’m thinking perhaps beads, more unusually shaped buttons, and perhaps little bits of broken jewellery to act as door knockers, letter boxes, finger plates, hinges etc.

4. Hide around the garden

Fairy doors - corner by cornerThe plain door (in my head this is the ‘untreated pine door’) found a home amongst the ivy of a tree stump.

Fairy doors - corner by cornerThe red door I tucked into the base of a tree on the other side of the garden.

Fairy doors - corner by cornerThis picture gives you more of a close up. It is hard to convey how cute these doors look. They are seriously adorable. I have left them out overnight because quite apart from any enjoyment that the girls get out of them, I really like the idea of them hiding out in the garden, ready to charmingly surprise at any moment.

But talking of the girls…

Fairy doors - corner by cornerI was trying to get a picture of them playing with the doors, and this was my first attempt. I show it here just to demonstrate the level of their enthusiasm: it was very hard to move them away sufficiently to take pictures. They must have spent at least an hour, perhaps two, out in the garden today playing fairies, entirely independently, only interrupted by my asking if they needed the toilet, and Persephone wandering over to destroy their games and pull their hair, in her indomitable toddler way.

Fairy doors - corner by cornerInspired by the wonderful Red Ted Art, we made peg fairies yesterday and today, and they delightedly invented games where the two fairies went in and out of the doors, and got up to various other adventures that mere parents aren’t privy to.

Fairy doors - corner by cornerThis is Rosa’s doll, Periwinkle, which she made all by herself. I made a conscious effort to sit back and let her do it herself, and not intrude. She totally loved it, which made me realise I should get less stressed about the girls’ craft generally, and just allow them free rein with all my their craft materials, at least occasionally.

Fairy doors - corner by cornerAnd there you have it. Lovely fairy doors. Entertaining for children. Charming for whimsical adults. I don’t know how long these will last (though I am suddenly tempted to give them a good spray with clear varnish tomorrow, for good luck). But frankly, they took so little time to make that I don’t really mind. I feel quite happy with the idea of making more of these in the future. There were certainly plenty of places where I could imagine hiding them, inside and out.

Which brings to a conclusion my very first tutorial I hope you liked it. I do have more planned…

*As an aside, talking of Pinterest, I was recommending to a friend with a new lovely house that she should look on Pinterest for pictures of amazingly capacious, over-styled American laundry rooms, and another friend overhead and said, “Why? Why would you do that? Why torture yourself by looking at these pictures?” And I was torn between wanting to shout, “You just don’t GET it!” …. and feeling that, actually, she had a point. Why do I browse the web looking people living amazing lives and doing things I can’t replicate? How is that different, exactly, from reading celebrity gossip magazines? Hmmmmm.

Rachel
x

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8 Responses to Tutorial: make a fairy door

  1. Sadhbh says:

    I love this! We have a ‘bought’ fairy door in our house, but I think I might make some of these with my girls for the garden. So lovely!

    • rachel says:

      I am rather hankering after a bought one, too…. I don’t think there is a limit on fairy doors. The more the merrier.

  2. How lovely, think these would fit well around our house and garden

  3. This is so sweet, and a great tutorial. My daughter made a fairy garden with me last year and loves the thought that there are now fairies dwelling there :) #MBPW

  4. Gillian says:

    Oh….these are too cute for words. You’ve created a little bit of magic here, just lovely. x

  5. Judith says:

    Hi there! First time I’ve come across your blog (through Mumsnet plug your post) and very pleased to have found it. LOVE the fairy doors! I think I may have to do something similar in my garden – it is certainly overgrown enough to have plenty of corners where fairies might hide their doors.

    • rachel says:

      So pleased you like them! :) The girls haven’t quite revisited the initial flurry of imaginative play and excitement that they created, but they are definitely a well-loved addition to our garden.

  6. Pingback: 5 Summer Fun Activities for Kids | Lifeworks Families Blog

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