A Fairy House

Fairy House

Did you make fairy houses as a kid?

I didn’t.

I imagine it’s at least partly because I was the child of a pragmatic mother in cowboy country. But I also think that fairies weren’t, perhaps, as popular as they are now. It seems that there are all kinds of fairy books, fairy dolls, fairy wings, fairy everything these days.


It’s not just me, is it?

Anyway, Maia and her friends are all enamored of fairies. And their belief in them is encouraged even at school (with a fairy journal and letters back and forth with a fairy from their school garden).

Amidst this fairy love, Maia has been making fairy houses in the backyard and leaving out bits of food for them. The other day, she asked for help making a fairy house, so we worked together to create a simple, natural fairy house made of flowers, twigs, leaves, and pebbles.

Fairy House

Her ideas for how to build them come from the appropriately titled Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane. In the book a young girl visits a village of fairy houses in Maine and builds her own using all natural materials. It’s a sweet book and I like it better than some of the other fairy books I’ve had to suffer through. (If you can recommend any good fairy books, I’m all ears…)

Fairy House

Maia and I built our fairy house at the base of an old willow tree. There was a living room with a large leaf as a carpet and a string of pebbles to delineate one edge of the room. We made a wall by poking sticks in the ground, weaving jute twine around them, and then weaving (or mostly poking) butterfly bush blossoms through the twine.

Fairy House

Daylilies along the top of the wall added an extra element of decoration.

Fairy House

Maia made three beds for the fairies with fuzzy lambs ear leaves and grass with hydrangea blossoms for pillows.

And at the other side of the living room was a table made of a piece of wood balanced on pebbles, a tablecloth of leaves, and some food for the fairies (mostly black raspberries and mint).

It was so fun to create this fairy house together and I imagine we’ll do it again—or at least refresh the wilted flowers and put out new food offerings from the garden.

I also LOVE the idea of making a miniature fairy garden with moss and little growing plants (The Magic Onions has a great tutorial) and would like to make one soon with Maia.

How about you? Are your kids into fairies? Do they (or you) make fairy houses or gardens?

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  • Reply
    June 18, 2012 at 7:17 am

    I didn’t grow up with fairies either, and we haven’t had a huge fairy obsession – mostly I think because the huge Star Wars obsession leaves hardly any room for anything else. E did have a fairy door in her classroom at school, which inspired some discussion on weather or not they are real. I guess our main fairy influence was Tinkerbell (before the Star Wars obsession, it was Peter Pan) – but she was really not what they loved about that story, it was more the magic of flying and a place like Neverland where there is lots of adventure and you never grow up. (I had to figure out how to deal with the Native American stereotypes that come up in that story, but it led to a couple of thoughtful discussions.) Love Maia’s careful, thoughtful work on her fairy house though, a nice way to “make” in the yard.

  • Reply
    Emily M.
    June 18, 2012 at 8:50 am

    yes, i agree with fairies being much more popular now than when we were kids. what a fun fairy garden, my kids would love this. my six year old just got this little fairy garden kit for her birthday: http://www.amazon.com/Faber-Castell-1114CK-Enchanted-Fairy-Garden/dp/B000RH2FK4/ref=pd_sim_t_1
    it’s just starting to sprout a few things, we’ll see how it goes. that link you posted though is fabulous! love all the moss. might have to give our own a go.
    for books–one of my daughter’s most treasured possessions is The Girls Book of Flower Fairies. It is a beautiful book. Gorgeous illustrations and binding. It has stories, poems, crafts, and tidbits on fairy life. I highly recommend it for any fairy lover! http://www.amazon.com/The-Girls-Book-Flower-Fairies/dp/072326273X/ref=pd_sim_ac_5
    you might also want to look at The Night Fairy: http://www.amazon.com/The-Night-Fairy-Laura-Schlitz/dp/0763652954/ref=la_B001H6O5V6_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340023214&sr=1-1
    The Giant Golden Book of Elves and Fairies: http://www.amazon.com/Giant-Golden-Elves-Fairies-Classic/dp/0375844260/ref=pd_sim_b_8
    i have not read either of these two yet, but they look promising:
    Fairy Wings: http://www.amazon.com/Fairy-Wings-Lauren-Mills/dp/0316590789/ref=cm_cr_dp_asin_lnk
    Fia and the Imp: http://www.amazon.com/Fia-Imp-Dennis-Nolan/dp/0316574120/ref=reg_hu-rd_add_1_dp

  • Reply
    June 18, 2012 at 9:44 am

    We made a fairy garden last summer. We were going to revive it until we found a dead bird in it. (Apparently fairies are nicer to kids than they are to birds.) We scooped everything out and started all over again. Ours is pretty small. Our house is a teepee made with sticks and string. We have a little gravel path for the fairies to find their house. Each kid wrote on a smooth stone – the five year old wrote “Welcome! Love Laine!” and the three year old wrote “BEN”.
    I occassionally sprinkle glitter (aka fairy dust) around the path and in the house.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2012 at 10:36 am

    This is lovely. I don’t recall building fairy houses. But I remember believing in fairies and I vaguely recall being a little frightened of them. I read a lot as a youngster though and I’m pretty certain that fairies are not always sweet and lightness in the literature.

  • Reply
    MaryAnn F. Kohl, art book author and educator
    June 18, 2012 at 11:58 am

    When I was little in the 50s, I had a huge titled: The Giant Golden Book of Elves and Fairies, printed in 1951 by Simon and Schuster, New York. All the stories in it were magical tales of trolls, fairies, brownies, pixies, and other variations of that genre. The illustrations were by Garth Williams, and are similar to the look of the book you have posted today, but softer…more eerier…more REAL, or so I thought then. Though I didn’t specifically believe in them, I loved them and yearned for them. Now that I’ve said that, I do remember my gramma showing me a fairy ring in her grass, a circle of mushrooms. She said that they danced in the night and mushrooms popped up in the morning where their magical feet had touched. I spent days and days trying to catch a glimpse of them, and woke up several night and peeked out the window to see if I could see them dancing. I believed strongly. I should have built them a house!! Maybe they would have come and eaten my offerings and danced a fairy ring in the grass just for me.

  • Reply
    Chrissy @ muse of the morning
    June 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I love Fairy Houses! When my siblings and I were growing up, we built little cities in the grass for our micromachines or legos, we didn’t really create fairy homes, but I think the idea is really similar. It does seem like there is a ton of fairy stuff out there these days, and I’m ok with that because I do love fairies and gnomes and I try to encourage my daughter to build things out of nature too. :) I think I love the fairy beds best!

  • Reply
    June 18, 2012 at 8:48 am

    What a fun project. I am always looking for new things to do outside and I think my little kids would love making houses for fairies!

  • Reply
    June 18, 2012 at 9:08 am

    B loves making things for fairies probably more than the fairies themselves. She is always putting together something to leave in the yard. I try to keep random stuff on her art shelves that she can use. One time I found papervcocktail umbrellas at Target and they were offered to the fairies to keep their wings dry when it rains. I love my girls imaginations. I wish I had nurtured my own creativity and imaginination from youth.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2012 at 9:09 am

    So, so sweet! I love that fairy house :) A cute book we have is “Who’s Behind the Fairy Doors?”. Here is their website, which is a lot of fun: http://urban-fairies.com/index.html

  • Reply
    June 18, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I second the Girls Book of Flower fairies, my almost 7yo loves it. Emma Thompson has a great series Felicity Wishes. There are lots of easier Chapter books and the writing is much better than Daisy Meadows. It is a British series, you can find some books on amazon but mostly they have just the picture books about the same character. The chapter books are easier to find on ebay or used bookstores.
    The Flower Fairies Friends chapter books are not too bad either, certainly not top notch but heaps better than the Racher and Kirsty series. And of course, if you dare to venture there, the disney fairies books. Some easy chapter books are better than others, they are clearly written by different people, nothing great but I do prefer them to Miss Meadows. And you don’t need to make it known that there is any tie-in merchandize. My daughter holds Tinkerbell equal to flower fairies and the rainbow fairies and pretty much all other random fairies we have read about and they all mix and mingle in her games.
    Oh, and she builds fairy houses everywhere. Every park and beach that we visit is one fairy dwelling richer :)

  • Reply
    Lori N
    June 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    My boys use sticks, pine cones, pine straw, flowers, etc, to build houses. Depending on their mood, they might make a gnome or fairy house, a monster house or a bug house. Once before a thunder storm, they built a house for butterflys to have shelter from the rain. I always stand back and do little more than take a photo. I am always amazed at their creativity and clever uses of available materials.
    My youngest gathers all the soft materials, as he is primarily concerned with the house being cozy. My oldest focuses on proper building technique – firm foundation and the roof always has to be just so, etc.
    We leave them up until wildlife or the weather destroys them.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    I didn’t do fairies either. However my 8 yr old daughter LOVES them and I feel your pain about certain fairy series. :) My daughter received this book for Christmas and she loves it. It is still fascinating to us both:
    And while that is more an explore book this has poems and I am sill surprised how much my daughter loves it. It is by the same author:
    We are always on the search for fairy ideas. :)

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    June 18, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Hmm. Maia hasn’t watched Peter Pan yet. Perhaps it’s time…

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    June 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks for all the book recommendations! I just put a hold on a couple at the library and will keep my eye out for the others.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    June 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Love the idea of the paper cocktail umbrellas for the fairies!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    June 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Cute website!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    June 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Ah, fairy dust. Good idea.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    June 18, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    I agree. I’ve seen some pretty scary fairy books and images and think they were more the norm in the past. Scary’s not quite the right word, but yes, not all sweet and cute like they are depicted now.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    June 18, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I’m going to see if I can get that book! And fairy rings — I had forgotten about those…

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    June 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Thanks for the book recommendations! I’ll take a look for them.
    I love that your daughter builds fairy houses everywhere!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    June 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    “little cities in the grass” — I love the mental images this phrase is giving me. :)

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    June 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Have fun with it!!

  • Reply
    June 18, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Hi Jean,
    Such a wonderful idea for summertime, and a great collaboration!
    Naomi has the same book as the one above by Cicely Barker, it is really beautiful and a pop up book. We get out her flashlight so she can find all the fairies, their secret passageways, etc. I didn’t do the fairy thing growing up either but it is already growing on me.
    We’ve made one fairy home inside my acacia wood bowl and she will add things from nature to it all the time. We made a fairy out of a small pine cone, some wood for wings, an acorn for a head, some fuzz for hair, and then the acorn top for a little hat on top. I love doing natural projects with her, but I think she definitely likes the homes better than making the fairies so far.
    So glad you posted this as now I have lots of books to check out!

  • Reply
    June 18, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Shirley Barber has some beautiful fairy books that are very loved around here. They are not chapter books but the stories are fairly cute and magical.
    You should also look up fairy doors online. They have some great ideas for how to build doors then attach them to trees in your garden. My husband made some for Christmas from ideas he saw online so now we have magical creatures “moving in” to our garden.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    June 18, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Her books look great! I’m definitely going to have to check them out.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    June 18, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Wonderful! I love the idea of all those different kinds of houses!

  • Reply
    June 19, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Are you familiar with the tabletop fairy garden over at the Inspired Room? http://theinspiredroom.net/2011/08/23/miniature-table-top-fairy-garden-with-stepable/ My boys aren’t interested in fairies, so maybe I will have to do this for myself.

  • Reply
    The Magic Onions
    June 19, 2012 at 12:30 am

    What a sweet Fairy Garden :-)
    Oh my… we are deep into the Fairy Garden craze. It’s interesting to watch how differently my daughter (8) and son (5) play in the Fairy Garden. She will play for hours in her imagination, setting everything out for a fairy ball, perfectly. He, on the other hand, has to be ‘doing’ something ‘for’ the fairy garden… making a fence or hauling water from the little well with the little bucket to water the moss. Seeing their two different personalities emerge with our Fairy Garden this year has been a real treat for me… and a little lesson on who they are too.
    I hope you’ll enter your Fairy Garden into the contest when it’s done :-) And, thanks for the link love.
    Blessings and magic,

  • Reply
    The Orchard
    June 19, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Your fairy houses are adorable. I couldn’t believe the timing of your post as I was in the midst of writing a little blurb about the fairy houses we made on the weekend.
    The book that you recommended looks cute! I hope I can get my hands on it before our next camping trip!

  • Reply
    Melissa @ the chocolate muffin tree
    June 19, 2012 at 8:24 am

    We need to do this. I will show my daughter your post today.

  • Reply
    Emily M.
    June 19, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Oh, another series of fairy books just occurred to me. Let me preface this by saying that i really do not like the Disney fairy/princess thing. We do not have any of that stuff in our house at the moment (though i admit that if either of my girls got really into it, i would probably would let them have some Disney fairies/princesses), except for this book by Gail Carson Levine: Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg
    She has written three or four of these books, and the illustrations are really quite beautiful. And, Gail Carson Levine is a wonderful author.

  • Reply
    June 20, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Hi Jean. My daughter is very into fairies. We are always hunting for fairy books, and we especially like Princess and Fairy by Anna Pignataro for the beautiful, detailed drawings and the treasure-finding activity. A very easy craft we did together is a fairy dust bag: a little mesh draw string bag (made from an old shirt of mine) tied shut with a ribbon, so that she can wear it around her neck. We filled the bag with little pompoms, sequins, and other colourful, magical-looking items that can be seen through the material of the bag. My daughter wears her fairy dust necklace about, often handing out fairy dust to people. Krista

  • Reply
    June 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    I’m sure there were a few fae tucked in the corners of your old house up on Court. We might not have noticed them, but I’m pretty sure they were there when we were wee lassies, too. ;)

  • Reply
    June 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Just came across this as I have just finished a post on fairy houses, couldn’t help commenting! We camp a lot and it is a great activity for my kids, no previous skills or equipment required! The most terrible thing happened when some fellow campers, with an untrained eye, pillaged my daughter’s fairy house for fire wood! Oh the woe! http://yellowfieldscamping.co.uk/2012/06/21/fairy-houses/

  • Reply
    June 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    I grew up loving all things faerie, but I never thought to make a faerie house as a kid.
    As an adult, I am looking forward to when we finally buy a home (we are looking now), and when we do I will have a garden and build at least one faerie house with my son. I love this one!

  • Reply
    kara campbell
    June 28, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Yes we are in Fairy mode over her for sure. Check out our DIY fairy garden

  • Reply
    leslie Derose
    September 24, 2012 at 7:52 am

    there is a fairy house festival in charlotte nc at Latta Plantation not sure if they are doing it in ’13 but they have the last two years:
    I have not been but my daughter is old enough now so I hope they have one this coming year too.

  • Reply
    October 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    What a great fairy house! I love how you made the walls by interweaving the string and the flowers.
    I don’t remember as much fairy stuff when I was a child either, but I would have loved it- I had to settle for the 70s rainbow craze and Tasha Tudor:)
    Kids in my classes love to make fairy houses and they are always so sweet – I love your daughter’s beds of grass and lambs ears. This summer two girls at one of my camps made very similar larger beds for our cats:))

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