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fairy garden

Have you tried your hand at making a fairy garden, or maybe a gnome garden yet?  If you’ve been looking at all of the cute gardens on Pinterest, but feel intimidated about making your own, just jump in and give it a try!

With every craft or DIY project I make, I compare myself to others and feel inadequate.  In my eyes my projects never turn out as good as all of the others I see, however like most of us I’m my own worst critic!  So if we’re making it for ourselves and our home, aren’t we the only ones we have to please? And won’t we improve with each attempt?

So, with that thought in mind, I just completed my second fairy garden!

I wanted something rectangular that would work well on my kitchen table, but I wasn’t able to find the size I was looking for.  So I asked my talented husband, Paul to build one for me.

(This post contains some affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a very small compensation.)

Steps in making the box.

1. We decided on measurements of 12 inches x 30 inches.  Paul already had wood that would work for the box, so no cost there.

fairy garden

2.  After cutting each piece of wood to the correct sizes, he individually glued each corner together and clamped them until they dried.
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3.  For additional sturdiness, Paul used his nail gun and secured the corners with brads.
 fairy garden
4.  He then added a ½ inch strip of wood around the base for it to sit on.
5.  Once the box was securely put together he sanded it nice and smooth.
6.  We needed to put something on the inside to water proof it and tried gluing heavy plastic in place, but we weren’t satisfied with the way it turned out.  So we pulled the plastic out and after more thought decided to use Plexiglas.

7.  We purchased a piece of 1/16th inch thick Plexiglas at Lowes and cut it into 5 pieces to fit the bottom and four sides.

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8.  We sprayed each piece, one at a time, with 3M spray adhesive and secured it to the inside of the box.  Once again it was clamped in place until it dried.

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9.  Next Paul used silicone along each Plexiglas seam to prevent leakage.

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Box complete and ready to paint and stencil.

1. I used white Anne Sloan chalk paint to paint the box.  I gave it one coat on the bottom and two coats on the sides.

fairy garden2.  After the paint dried, I gave it a light touch of sanding on the corners and tops to give it a slightly aged look.

fairy garden3. I chose to stencil “Fairy Garden” on both of the long sides of the box.  I also added in some stenciled dragonflies on each side.

4. To practice prior to stenciling my actual box, I painted a piece of brown paper with white chalk paint and then practiced with the stencils.

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  1. Once I felt comfortable to do the actual box, I taped the stencil to it and using a spouncer applicator, dabbed the paint on.

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  1. Once the stenciling was completed and dried, I waxed the box with Anne Sloan clear wax one section at a time, wiping off the excess wax with an old clean white t-shirt as I went.
  2. I allowed it to dry overnight and buffed it the next day, again with a clean white t-shirt.

fairy garden

Ready to plant!

Before planting the box, I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t leak, so I placed it outside, poured water in and let it sit to see if it would leak.  The Plexiglas and adhesive worked perfectly!

Since this box does not have drainage holes, I wanted to add something to the soil to help prevent excess water from causing root damage.  I did a little research online and the recommendation I found was to use activated charcoal.  I ordered it from Amazon and with Amazon prime it was here in 2 days.

I’ve never worked with activated charcoal before, but following the directions on the bag, I placed a one-inch depth of the charcoal in the bottom.  This size box required two bags.

fairy garden

Next I got my potting soil ready by putting it in a bucket and mixing it with some water.  Then into the box it went.

fairy garden

Before you actually plant your chosen plants, play with your design and see what layout catches your eye.  Now, you’re ready to plant!

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Gently remove your plants from their containers and loosen the soil a little around their roots.  Plant them in the spots you’ve already chosen and add all of your other garden pieces.

You can purchase fairy garden accessories at craft stores or browse through a great selection of them on Amazon.  You can also make your own.  Be creative, make homes out of natural items; lace twigs together for ladders, make pathways out of natural stones.

I made my fairy house out of a piece of tree branch cut to the right size.  I glued a door to the front and then placed moss on it to blend it into the scene.

I made mistakes with my first fairy garden, “Bringing your garden indoors in miniature“.  I’m sure I made some with this one too!  That’s okay though, it’s the way we improve!  So with each garden I do, I’ll let you know the mistakes I made and what I’ve learned to do differently.

Mistakes I made with my first fairy garden:

  1. First off, my container was all wrong.  It was too shallow and the sides sloped making it difficult to keep any water in the soil around the plants residing at the edge.
  2. I lined the container with heavy plastic before putting the dirt in, but I didn’t secure it to the sides.  Therefore, when I watered, especially when trying to reach the plants at the edge, some of the water ran under the plastic.  The water would have just sat on the wood and over time this would have started to rot the wood.
  3. I didn’t add anything to help with drainage.

Needless to say, I dismantled that particular fairy garden!

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My newly completed garden!

fairy garden

I’m anxious to see how it looks as the plants fill in a little.  I also have a few other touches I want to add, maybe some more little forest creatures or who knows!

This garden was far more work because of making my own box to plant in, but unless you are looking for something very specific, it’s not necessary to do that.  You probably have things around the house now that aren’t being used and would work great, or a trip to the thrift store might yield all kinds of wonderful items to plant in!

So let your creative juices flow and have fun making an indoor or outdoor garden!

I’ll be sharing this post on the lovely link parties found on my “Where I Party” page!


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