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Little woodland fairy box tutorial

Posted by on 11 Mar 2009 | Tagged as: autumn, kids' crafts, tutorial, wooden toys

Well, our sunny, warm weather is starting to turn cool again. Just as we’ve been spoiled with a taste of spring, almost summer, really, we’re back to expecting a wintry mix on Friday. I wouldn’t mind if it were real snow again, but I guess I can’t expect another one of those any time in the next decade. Instead, it will be just yucky enough to keep us inside. Sounds like time for a little crafting.

Here’s the little box I made for our little friend’s fairies — it’s so easy, a child could easily make it, as long as an adult handled the hot glue gun!

Fairy box with mushroom chairs and table

Supplies:

1 large wooden spool
1 wooden circle to serve as tabletop
3 small wooden spools
3 small wooden circles for the seats
small wooden box
acrylic paints in cream, white, red, browns and greens
paintbrushes
hot glue gun

Step 1:
Paint the spools a cream color, and the circles red (you may need a couple of coats of red for good coverage). Once the tops are dry enough, paint little white dots in varying sizes on the red. Paint it on rather thickly, though you may still need two coats to hide the red.

Painted mushroom chair and table parts

While they dry, blend two or more shades of green together, not mixing so they are uniform, just enough so you’ll get some of each color on your paintbrush with each stroke. Paint the top of the box green.

I used a dark brown to paint the bottom of the box, using a thin enough coat that the grain of the wood still showed through a bit. Alternately, you could go back through with a lighter shade of brown to add some details such as knots or shadings in the bark.

Painted fairy box

Step 2:
Once the pieces have dried, hot glue the tops of the seats and table to their corresponding spools. Place them onto the top of the wooden box, spacing them as you would like, but making sure the fairies would have enough room to balance on the stools without the table getting in the way. Hot glue the table and stools into place.

Step 3:
I rubbed some natural beeswax polish onto the chairs and table for a little added durability.

Applying beeswax varnish to painted surfaces

You’re done! Well, almost. Be sure to make some sweet little fairies and add a nice little scrap of fabric for them in their little woodland home bed!

Fairies in their box

Fairies on their chairs

The Three Little Fairies Tutorial

Posted by on 07 Mar 2009 | Tagged as: friends, tutorial, wooden toys, wool felt

Our little friend Meredith turned three yesterday, and I thought she should have a little fairy for each of her years. I (well, mostly Tony) followed along with the camera so that you can make some little fairies of your own if you like.

Supplies:

little boy wooden peg shapes
acrylic paint
fine paint brushes
drill with very small drill bit (Tony used 1/16″, but I had skinny 3mm pipe cleaners, so you might need a larger one for larger ones)
pipe cleaners
felt in assorted colors
embroidery floss to match the felt
fairy pattern
beeswax polish

Step 1:

First, I took three little peg dolls — these are the little ones, called boy peg dolls. I painted their heads in a peachy color using about three coats of acrylic paint.

When they dried (I didn’t wait very long at all), I painted on their hair, parting it in the middle and sweeping it out and then down to frame the face. I very carefully dotted on the eyes, and carefully drew a little mouth with a very fine brush.  I really need a finer brush and found myself having to paint over and redo the mouths a couple of times — don’t be afraid to make a mistake, it’s fixable with a little more peachy paint.  Then I mixed a little pink with the peach of the skin and added a hint of pink cheeks just below the eyes.

I was inspired by these clothespin dolls at Posie Gets Cozy, but wanted something a little smaller and simpler to start (though I’m definitely planning to try some clothespin dolls before long!)

Here are Meredith’s three girls in production:

Fairy faces

I realized only after I had finished them that I’d forgotten the little hair bows, so I painted those on at the end. It’s a much better idea to do all the painting BEFORE dressing them — all went well this time, but it would be sad after all that effort, to have to start over on an outfit.

Then, as Lucas slept on my lap, Tony took the dolls and drilled small holes through at shoulder height. They should be just large enough to fit a pipe cleaner through the hole, but preferably no larger than that! Here are the rather creepy pictures he took of this step:

Drilling the fairy arm holes

Fairies with arm holes

Step 3:

I fed the pipe cleaners through the dolls so that 2 inches extended on either side. I bent them to find the middle and then wrapped the pipe cleaners using the technique I learned from Felt Wee Folk. Basically, you just tie the floss onto one part of the pipe cleaner, wrap down around the bend of the pipe cleaner that will be the hand (be sure to cover all the fuzzies!). Then, just above the hand, pinch the two pipe cleaners together and wrap the rest of the way up the arm, tying the floss off at the top. Repeat on the other side.

Fairy pipe cleaner arms

Wrapping the fairy arms

Wrapping the fairy arms

Wrapped fairy arm

Step 4:
Print and cut out the fairy pattern for the fairy dress and wings. Cut fairy dress and wings out of felt, making sure to make the neckline no bigger than it is drawn in the pattern, maybe even a little smaller.

Felt fairy clothes and wings

Step 5:
Pull the dress over the fairy’s head and position the wings in the center back, high enough that the wings don’t extend too far below the base of the fairy. Use a double strand of floss to do a chain link stitch to sew the wings onto the dress (you can take the dress back off of the fairy for this step).

Basically, pull your thread up through the fabric, then put the needle back through the same hole (or near it). Before you pull all of the thread back through, push the needle back up through the fabric where you want your next stitch to go, but pull the needle through the loop of the thread that you have remaining from your first stitch. Does that make any sense? Then you repeat it again — putting the needle back through where you just emerged, but not pulling the thread all the way through, instead leaving a loop through which you push the needle when you make your next stitch. Here’s what it should look like:

Sewing on the fairy wings

Completed fairy wings

Step 6:

If you wish, you can add a little embellishment to the front of the dress (such as the hearts on Mia’s Valentine fairies), but I think they are pretty cute plain, too.

Using a single strand of floss, blanketstitch to sew up the seams along the lower arms and sides of the dress, but also to finish the sleeves, bottom and neckline of the dress. A great blanketstitch tutorial can be found here.

All three fairies

All three fairies

Step 7:
For a little added durability (and sheen), I rubbed the painted faces of the fairies with a little beeswax polish

Applying beeswax varnish to painted surfaces

I finished up our gift for Meredith with a little woodland box home for the fairies. But I’ll be back tomorrow or the next day to share a little tutorial for that!

Fairies in their box

Fairy box with mushroom chairs and table

Enjoy!

Mia’s Valentine Fairy Gourd House

Posted by on 24 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: tutorial, Valentine's Day, wooden toys

Whew, so I’ve been gone a while! We’ve been sick at our house (I’m just getting it, so I figured I’d better post before I’m out of commission. I also thought, I’d better paint the front hall and clean the house. Front hall is painted. House is not so clean.). This is really the first time we’ve had more than a cold since Mia started preschool in September, so I guess we should count ourselves lucky, even if we’re not feeling so lucky at the moment.

But you’re not here to listen to me whine. Here’s Mia’s fairy gourd house:

DSC_0799

She really does seem to love it (which is unfortunately rare for many of my creations — not that it stops me)! And the Mitten animals also took up residence in it right away. Lucas obviously made the connection between the book and the mitten full of critters (by pointing from one to the other and grunting — his typical mode of communication), but found them a bit creepy. He’ll look at them, but won’t touch them. Luckily, his sister is getting some enjoyment out of them:

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I got the idea and initial instructions from this great tutorial over at Bitter Betty Blogs. I’d been planning on making one of these since I first saw it in September, but time and other projects sort of slipped up on me. I borrowed a fancy Dremel tool from Lynn (thanks, Lynn!), and spent one night carving gourds by our front door light. It was messy, especially scraping the inside. And I had a hard time getting the curves to look anywhere as clean as Betty’s, but they were okay.

Then, I let them sit around. For months. Until Mia and Lucas discovered them and immediately turned them into playthings. It wasn’t long before one was shattered. I realized I’d have to make the finished one a little more sturdy. So I made up a trusty old flour/water/salt mixture and put one layer of Papier-mâché on the gourd. This had the added bonus of hiding my somewhat jagged edges that sanding had not managed to soften much. I let it dry for about a day and a half (half of it hanging in the wind outside because it was drying so slowly inside) and then painted it inside and out:

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I then found a piece of wood about a foot square in the laundry room. I’m not sure of it’s source, just that it was real wood, not plywood. I sanded the edges a little, and then painted it green:

DSC_0720

Then I used the brush to sort of sponge some darker green on it to give some texture and depth and a more grass-like feel:

DSC_0723

I gathered some little wooden hearts, four small wooden spools and one bigger spool, and a wooden disk for the table top. I painted the hearts pink, saving four for little fairy stools. With a hot glue gun, I added one heart above the doorway and laid a little heart path up to the front door of the gourd. I also added fake rose petal curtains to the windows:

DSC_0728

I then painted the large wooden disk to be the table top, the large wooden spool as the table base, and each of the smaller four spools to be the fairy chairs, matching them in color to the outfits of the fairies:

DSC_0736

I secured them all with hot glue when I realized how easily they tipped with a fairy on them, wanting to avoid the inevitable frustration of falling dinner guests. I had also hot-glued the gourd onto the base, but it has since come off, peeling some of the paint off the bottom of the gourd in the process. So I’m going to have to figure out another (pretty non-toxic/child-safe) way to attach it. I’m not sure I could get a drill in there to screw it to the wood, and I also worry about splitting the gourd, but I may try it if I can’t think of anything else. Any suggestions?

For now, here’s a shot of the sweet little fairies, sitting at their table:

DSC_0800

I’m working on another bigger project, though I have to admit I’ve been delayed a bit, first by sickness, and then by Mia’s proud announcement that she had cut out a bunch of little houses today. A bunch of little houses out of the only-piece-of-that-color-I-have wool felt that I had already cut to size. I think it may all be her father’s fault. He’s the one who suggested at lunch that she needed her own craft blog since she’s been so crafty lately. And I do love to see the creative urge rubbing off on my little one! I’ll hopefully be back in a couple of days with something new! Thanks for reading and happy crafting!

A sneak peek: little Valentine Fairies

Posted by on 08 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Valentine's Day, wooden toys, wool felt

Oh, it’s been a long time since I posted! I’ve been busy working on Mia’s Valentine’s Day present, and there’s still an awful lot to do and not much time. This is further complicated by the fact that I have two other non-crafty projects that are requiring a bit of time, and although very worthy expenditures of time, they are not quite as enjoyable as sitting on the couch with my sweetie, watching a movie and stitching away.

And then there’s of course the additional complication of completely winging this little present, having to rethink and redo and restitch and replan as I go, knowing all the while that it needs to be something she will like at least as much as she likes The Mitten I made for Lucas.

Here’s what I have so far. These little Valentine’s Day fairies have been painted (which is stressful, but I’m mostly pleased with them), and clothed (after much restitching, removing extra embellishments, worrying about colors):

Felt Valentine's Fairies

I painted the little hairclips without thinking about the colors much. But then when I got to making their little dresses and wings, and picturing them all together, I realized the pink and the red would clash pretty horribly. But then Tony reminded me, our girl, she’s all about the clashing:

DSC_0108

So, I went with it, even sewing a little pink heart onto the red fairy. It is for Valentine’s Day after all. Though I confess I sent Tony off to photograph them with instructions not to put the red and pink fairies next to each other.

The rest of the project doesn’t just involve sewing, I’m afraid. There will be paper mache, there will be paint, there will be a great deal of hoping I pull this off in time!

Thanks for visiting and happy crafting!