Fairy Garden Tutorials

Polymer Clay Fairy Babes Tutorial

The darkest day of Winter,
 in frosty early Morn,
Stardust falls from Heaven,
 when Faerie Babes are born.


Part 1 - Making the Baby

Materials for the Baby:

  • One silicone baby mold    -   I saw these once at Michael's but when I tried to find them again, they were out of stock.  They might be available at cake supply shops.  I just ordered it from China using Pay Pal.  Isn't the internet amazing?!
  • Super Sculpey (flesh colored)
  • Super Sculpey liquid  (optional for repair)
  • Acrylic Paints (to add texture and depth)   -   I picked primary magenta and burnt umber.
  • A very tiny paint brush
  • Water or gel medium  (to thin the paint, if needed)
  • Super Sculpey Transparent Sealer (if you want to protect it from the elements).
  • Multi-earth colored yard (for hair)
  • A decorative floral element that works as a cap   -   My glittery gold seed caps all came from one inexpensive Christmas floral stem I found t Michael's.
  • Tacky Glue (to attach hair & cap)

It all starts with a silicone baby mold (pink) intended for making
fondant cake top decorations.

Step 1:  Shaping the Baby

Instead of fondant, soften several small balls of flesh colored Super Sculpey in your hands,
then press them, one after the other, firmly in the silicone mold & bake as directed.

I baked mine for about 30 minutes at 225 F degrees.

Step 2:  Remove Baby from Mold

Once cool enough to handle, gently work the baby out of the mold and allow to cool.

 If you have only one mold, as I do, it can take a while to make lots of babies!

Step 3:  Add Pointy Parts to Ears / Repair Damage

Once the babies are cool, you can give each baby a pointy ear by adding additional Super Sculpey to the 'normal' ear & baking the baby again for about 15 minutes.

Hint: If there are any unsightly holes or cracks in your  baby's skin, you can also repair those by smoothing on a thin layer of Super Sculpey or using Super Sculpey Liquid, then baking.

Step 4:  Add Shadows & Blush

Use thinned acrylic paint to add shadows to folds in the baby's skin & eyes.  Also add blush to the cheeks.

A light touch of primary magenta makes great blush, while burnt umber is good for shadowing.

Step 5:    Protect Skin with Glaze (optional)

You can leave your baby as is, but to protect the 'skin' from elements, add a final coat of Super Sculpey Transparent Glaze.  

This will make your baby shiny.  If you prefer the matte look, omit Step 5.

Step 6:    Create Hair with Yarn or other material  (optional)

Test how much yarn you will need to cover the baby's head by wrapping it approximately in the place you want it, then cut a strip of yarn to the length you need.  

Coat the head with Tacky Glue, then...start at top of the head then pull the yarn down near the face and around the head near the neck.  Continue wrapping circles around the head until you reach the top again.   

Finally, add an additional glob of glue to the top of the head and press on the cap.

Set the baby aside to dry completely.

An alternative to yarn is to glue a bit of combed mohair to the baby's head, then top it with a cap.

Now your baby is finished!  

Part 2 - Give it Wings!

Materials for the Wings:

  1. Vinyl transparency of wings.    
  2. Fine scissors (to cut out the wings)   
  3. One stick of incense & matches to light it  (to make holes in the wings)   -  I kept knocking off the hot tip of the incense and having to re-light it over and over. (Plus I burned a couple of holes in my apron).  You might try heating a thin hot wire to make holes in the wings.  Warning: melting transparencies are not safe to breathe!  Be sure to work outside or have plenty of ventilation!  The same is true for Diamond Glaze and Super Glue!
  4. Diamond Glaze
  5. A toothpick or wooden skewer (to spread the glaze)
  6. Thin floral wire (as armature to make the wings more secure and stable)
  7. Glitter
  8. Super glue
  9. Lots of waxed paper (to keep Diamond Glaze and glitter off your table or counter)

Step 1:   Choose your Wings

Find the right wing images & print a transparency of them.

 There are many different types of wing images available on the internet.  I experimented with many different kinds before choosing this simple front pair of actual photo of transparent bug wings.  Using Photoshop, I rotated each wing in relation to the other so would fit on the baby's back the way I wanted.  Once the wings were the right size and shape, I copied and pasted a lot of them on one 8.5 x 11 inch page.  The Office Max print shop made me a transparent copy for a few cents. 

Step 2:  (First, see note in Step 5 below!)  Glaze the Wings

Use a toothpick or skewer to spread Diamond Glaze over each pair of wings on the transparent sheet and allow to dry.  Then turn the sheet over and glaze the back side of the wings.  Again, allow this to dry.

Step 3:   Add Armature to Wings

Cut a small strip of wire and bend it into the shape of the wing as shown below left:

Add more Diamond Glaze to the upper wing frame and place the wire on top of it as shown above right.

Hold the wire down, into the glaze until it stays in place.  Allow the wings to dry completely.
Add additional glaze as needed to keep the wire in place and again, allow this to dry.

Step 4:  Add Glitter to Wings

Coat the wings again with Diamond Glaze, then sprinkle with the glitter of your choice & allow to dry.  

In the above photo, you can see how additional Diamond Glaze can be added to create
more texture on the wings.

Step 5:    Cut out Wings

Cut out pairs of wings keeping them attached together at the bottom.

Step 5:  Add Holes to Wings (optional)

I later chose to do this after Step 1 because I found it was easier to burn holes through the transparency before adding all the layers of Diamond Glaze!

This idea was borrowed from a website about making fairy wings.  (I'll add the link as soon as I can find it again.)  IMO, holes add interest to the fairy wings and help them look more delicate, but you may prefer to leave them out.  I melted a few holes in my apron in this step so take precautions!

Light the stick incense, then blow out the flame.  There should be a glowing ember at the end of the incense stick.  

Use this, in a well ventilated area, to burn holes through and along edges of the wing pairs as shown above.

Finally, add additional Diamond Glaze and glitter around the holes & allow to dry.

Now the wings are finished!

Step 6:  Super Glue Wings on your Baby

Place a dot of quick drying Super Glue to the spot where both wings connect, then press the wings immediately to the baby's back near the neck & between the shoulders as shown below:

You now have your very own Fairy Babe!

Part 3 - Build a Cradle

Materials for the Cradle:

  1. One small grapevine wreath (per baby)  -  These were 49 cents at Michael's.
  2. Thin gauge floral wire   -    My choice was shiny brass wire.
  3. Greenery    -   I picked Christmas type greens and soft moss for a holiday fairy garden.
  4. A glue gun & glue.
  5. Lots of waxed paper (to keep glue off your table or counter)

Step 1:  Secure the Center

By wrapping it around and around, use thin floral wire to create a spider web shape in the center of the grapevine wreath.   (See above)

This will keep greenery and fairy baby from falling through!

Step 2:  Add Greenery

Using hot glue, add greenery around the outside of the grapevine wreath.
Add soft moss to the center.

Sorry for the fuzzy photos!  

Step 3:  Add the Fairy Baby

I did not glue the fairy to it's crib.  This way, it can have other cradles depending on the season of the year!

My Faerie Babes were made as part of a Faerie Garden Holiday Swap 
hosted by Michelle Faye Cummings.  
Everyone who participated
created such delightful items

                               and all of them are part of my table top fairy garden!

Fairy Birdcage Tutorial

Another item I made for last a fairy garden swap last spring was this bird cage.
Check out: http://faeriedustdreams-michelle.blogspot.com/p/faerie-garden-swaps.html.

After searching the internet for ideas and taking a bit from each of the wonderful tutorials out there, I came up with this way of creating a fairy bird cage that was most workable for me.

So here's how:

Materials needed:

  • 20 gauge floral wire
  • 2 bottle caps per cage
  • E 6000 glue
  • Super glue
  • Metal spray paint (color is up to you)
  • 2 large filigree-type bead caps.
  • (Filigree caps come with holes of 6 or 8, pick the ones with 8 holds large enough for the floral wire to go through.)
  • 1 large hole sparkly bead
  • Tacky glue/or glue gun
  • Wire cutters/pliers
  • ice pick or nail for punching holes
  • Hammer
  • Floral supplies: moss, flowers, eggs, or other items to decorate inside the cage.

Step 1:  Make holes in 1 of 2 bottle caps

Using a nail or icepick & hammer, punch 8 evenly spaced holes 
along the outer edge of one bottle cap.
 Leave the 2nd bottle cap as is. 

I started by punching 4 holes at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions.

Then I added four more holes between each of those.

Here's my finished bottle caps!  Yes I was making a lot of bird cages!

Step 2 - Cut & place the wire

For each bird cage, you will need 9 pieces of wire cut to the same length,
8 to form the cage itself & one to use as a hook to hang the cage.

I cut mine into 3 inch lengths, but it's up to you.
If they end up too long, you can always cut off the excess later.

Here are my cut wires along with one of the bead caps.
Notice I already bent the end of the wire I'll use to hang the cage.  

Take the hanging wire and string it up through the center hole on the bead cap.

When I tried this, I discovered the hole was a little small.
To fix this, I just widened the hole gently with a pair of scissors.

Be sure to place the wire so the bead cap hangs down over the wire bend like this:

That leaves the other 8 wires.
With pliers, make a small hook on the end of each wire.
Then, with the center wire sticking up,
one by one, hook the other eight wires into the 8 outer openings on the bead cap.

As you place each wire, use pliers to crimp the hook,
closing it on to the bead cap.
This will keep it more or less in place.

When you have hooked all 8 wires on to the bead cap,
it should look like spokes of a bicycle!   

In this picture, the cage is upside down. 
The center wire is stuck into the styrofoam below.

With your frame in this position, 
carefully add a dot of superglue to each hook in the bead cap
to help hold the spokes in place.

The spokes will still tend to move around but the glue seems
to keep them more or less in the right position.

Step 3 - Add the hole punched bottle cap.

With the center wire up, push each of the other 8 wires,
one into each hole of the prepared bottle cap.

This is a little tricky!  You will have to bend the wires to get them in one by one,
but eventually you can straighten them out again.

Push the bottle cap as far up the wires as you can.

Then, use pliers to bend the end of each wire to a right angle.

Pull the bottle cap down on to the bent portion of the wires so they settle into place underneath the bottle cap.

Once the cap is in place, pull and stretch each of the spoke wires into a 
curved position to form the shape of a bird cage.

To do this, try pulling on wires that are opposite each other at the same time.
Try to space the wires evenly from each other.

When finished, turn the cage upside down and 
secure the wire hooks under the bottle cap with E6000 glue.
This will help keep the cage wires secured in position.

Allow the adhesive to dry over night.

The next day, use E6000 again, on the bottom of the bottle cap, but this time,
press the top of your second bottle cap up into the first cap.
This will hide the wires from view
and look something like this:

Again, allow this to dry overnight.

Add a second bead cap to the middle wire on the cage.
I think this gives the cage a more finished look!

You can use superglue or E6000 to hold it in place, but it will 
likely be ok with no glue.

Sorry the photo is a bit fuzzy!

Step 4 - Spray paint the cage.

Sorry I don't have any photos of this step. 

I used an old cardboard box set up on it's side in the garage,
placed all my cages on the bottom (side) of the box.

I sprayed them with some white metal spray
left over from an old project & left them to dry for an hour or so.

Then I turned the cages around and sprayed the spots 
missed earlier.

Again, those dried for about an hour.

One final time, I turned the cages upside down, and sprayed the
underside of the the bottom bottle cap.

Once everything is thoroughly covered and dry, 
It's time to decorate!

Step 5:  Decorate the Cage!

First, add a large bead to the wire sticking up from the cage.
Using pliers, twist the wire in a spiral, creating a loop so 
you can later hang the cage.

Here, I used a large plastic bead with iridescent faceted sides to add sparkle!

Next is up to you!
For my cage, I glued a small bit of moss inside the cage.
Then I added a little bird's egg and some flowers.

 The color and contents of your cage is up to you!
You might turn it into a black or orange Halloween cage for bats or bones,
a green Winter Holiday cage filled with tiny presents,
or a sweet Valentine cage with hearts and a singing bird!

Be sure to send photos of your cage in the comments section 
so we can all see what you create!

Fairy Garden Flower Pot Tutorial

This past spring, I joined a Fairy Garden swap hosted by Michelle at  http://faeriedustdreams-michelle.blogspot.com/.  

These fairy garden flower pots were part of my creations for the swap.  
And here is how to make them yourself:

Step 1: Gather Materials

First, I gathered the materials I needed at Michael's 
  • tiny flower pots
  • a stem of greenery
  • a stem of small flowers

Other supplies I already had include:
  • scissors
  • 2 small wooden sticks
  • flat head nails
  • super glue
  • a marker
  • scrap cardboard box or styrofoam
  • left-over adhesive & grout (from a bathroom make-over)
  • glitter glue
  • dark green alcohol ink

Step 2: Cut Flowers & Greens to fit the Pot

First, trim off a small clump of 'flowers',
enough to fit one in each pot.

 Next, trim off small clumps of 'leaves'.
I used 3 branches per pot.

Dry fit the 'leaves' & 'flowers' into your pots
just to be sure they look balanced.

Step 3:  Create a Stake for your Pot

The flower pot will fall over again and again if it does not have 
a stake on the bottom to hold it up.  

This is what I used:

Using super glue, attach one flat head nail
to the bottom of each pot.
I allowed mine to dry overnight.

Step 4:  (Optional)  Decorate or Distress your Pots

Once nails were firmly attached to my pots, I stuck the in styrofoam.
Then, using green and brown alcohol inks,  I stained each pot to give it a distressed look.

When they turned out looking more like camouflage than pots stained with moss,
used my fingers to wipe them with glitter glue.
This gave them more of a 'fairy garden' sparkle.

Step 5:  Plant your Flowers

With each pot stuck into styrofoam or cardboard, 
use a flat stick to fill each with tile adhesive/grout.

Insert the three 'leaf' stems around the outside of the pot.
Drip 1-2 drops of green alcohol ink on the grout to make it look more like soil.

Then add flowers in the center of the pot.

Allow the pots to dry overnight & that's it!

BTW, these were my first 'trial run' flower pots.
I forgot to put the nails on them.

Have fun creating your own fairy garden!