How to Build a Fairy House

Gather your twigs, leaves and woodland charms and learn the basics of how to build a fairy house.

| November 2012

  • To make the fairies comfortable, you must “feather the nest,” as they say.
    Photo By Liza Gardner Walsh, from “Fairy House Handbook,” reprinted with permission from Down East Books, 2012
  • The bark you have collected can be turned into a wall. The giant clam shell can be turned into a bath tub. Your nook, hollow or hidey-hole will become a home for a delighted fairy.
    Photo By Amy Wilton, from “Fairy House Handbook,” reprinted with permission from Down East Books, 2012
  • In “Fairy House Handbook,” learn how to scout out a site, what materials to gather and how to accessorize a diminutive structure for these magical creatures. The popularity of fairy houses has soared and constructing these tiny houses has become a fun pastime for children and adults.
    Cover Courtesy Down East Books

Step into a whimsical land where magical creatures reside in miniature houses made of twigs, leaves and berries. In Fairy House Handbook (Down East Books, 2012), author Liza Gardner Walsh presents a fun craft and lore book that guides readers in the process of building a fairy house, from how to select a site to what tools and materials to use. Learn the basics of how to build a fairy house in this excerpt taken from the chapter “Building.”

So, now you have found a perfect site, planned, and gathered your materials. You are ready to build. The bark you have collected can now be turned into a wall. The giant clam shell can now be turned into a bath tub. Your nook, hollow, or hidey-hole will now become a home for a delighted fairy. You are now an official fairy house construction worker.

Many of you know exactly what to do first. You will build your house with not one ounce of hesitation. The perfectly flat rock becomes a patio for the fairies to watch the sunset. But others might be a bit more hesitant. They might be unsure where to begin or carefully layer twigs across two roots of a giant maple tree only to have them all tumble down. For those more reluctant builders, remember that a certain amount of frustration is normal in this endeavor. Don’t get bogged down. Keep going. Start stacking those twigs again. There are no mistakes in fairy house building, only patience, stick-to-itiveness, and a healthy dose of fairy ingenuity. (Do you know that word? Ingenuity? It is a good word for this hobby, in fact, it sums the whole business up. It means to be inventive or resourceful.) Keep in mind, that whatever you do and however you build your house, the fairies will be grateful. As much as I could tell you exactly how to build a fairy house, there is absolutely no one way to build a fairy house! They are like snowflakes—never were two fairy houses exactly alike.

The best thing to do is to dive in. Look at your site and your materials and start putting things together. Those twigs and long pieces of grass can be woven together to make a roof.  The sheets of birch bark can stand on either side. What you want to achieve is some house-like form. A-frame or teepee-shape. Cabinesque. Hut-like. You want a place where fairies can fly in and rest a while. As one friend said, “I think fairies like medium–size houses because if it is too big they will get lost in it and if it is too small they won’t be able to move around too well.”

Once you have some walls and a roof, you can begin building the other features: a chimney, windows, and a door. Walkways are fun and since most of you have gathered countless pebbles, seeds, little shells, or small pinecones, you will have plenty of materials for a grand entrance.  Think about your own house—the shingles on the roof, the trim of the windows, the siding. What could you use for shingles—maybe pine-cone bracts? (Bracts are a fancy way of saying the leaves on a pine-cone.)

Depending on how big a space you have, your house can have a variety of rooms. A separate kitchen and bedroom. A bathroom. You may ask the perfectly natural question, do fairies use bathrooms? Well, the following conversation came up when some kids were building a fairy house village. My friend Ian said, “I found a perfect toilet seat! It is soft and has a hole in the middle.” And then Tatum responded by saying, “I thought fairies went to the bathroom in the woods instead of using the toilet.” Hmmm—what do you think?

Tessa Zafereo
11/30/2012 12:02:59 AM

Absolutely enchanting! But I would caution to be careful about bugs,before starting these projects. Just saying....:)



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