Like many children, I loved fairies when I was little. I spent wonderful hours imagining these tiny, delicate, winged creatures with magical powers getting entangled into all sorts of exciting adventures.
Even as an adult, fairies hold a fascination for me. As parents, we made a promise to not lie to our children — even about the Tooth Fairy! So, when my first child lost her first tooth and expressed excitement about a visit from the Tooth Fairy, I went down to her level, looked her in the eyes and explained: "Honey, there is no Tooth Fairy!" Her response took me aback at first. She said, "Oh, Mommy, I know you take my tooth and put the dollar under my pillow! But it is so much fun to pretend that fairies are real."
From that day on, we pretended to believe in fairies. And maybe, just maybe — for a moment when we snuggle up and read fairy tales together at bedtime — we cannot help but smile and ask ourselves, "What if they were real?" And that's when we decided to build a fairy door.
What Is A Fairy Door?
A fairy door is a creative play object that encourages imagination in children (and adults). You can buy them online or in retail stores, like this absolutely adorable one from Lil' Fairy Door (pictured below) that was featured on the TV show Shark Tank in 2016.
But they aren't just pretty to look at! They are a wonderful tool to help your children through a difficult situation (e.g., adjusting to a new school or home) or to reward positive behavior. My children, for example, feel more connected with their grandmother who lives an ocean away ever since they built her a fairy door. Now our fairies can visit her house over night and the other way around!
As a parent, you can encourage imaginative play and interaction with the "fairies" by leaving evidence of visits. Try sprinkling some sparkle dust or stamping little chalk footprints in front of the fairy door at night. You could also leave encouraging notes for your children to stay in their own beds, or letters of praise if a goal was accomplished. The possibilities are endless.
What You Need To Build Your Own Fairy Door
This fairy door was built with natural materials as well as bought items. In total, the cost of two fairy doors was less than $12. Here is what you need:
- Hot glue gun and Elmer's Glue
- Flat wood piece (We used a very thin piece of a maple that was cut down in the neighborhood. It is completely untreated, but you could use Wood Juice to preserve it or if it is green wood.)
- Large rock (They should be at least the size of an adult's palm and flat on the bottom.)
- Small sea shells, rocks, and sand (Aren't you glad you kept all those sea shells you collected during your beach trip?)
- Glass pebbles (These are available in the garden section of any hardware store.)
- Small decorative items (We got these at A.C. Moore.)
- Acrylic Paint (We used non-toxic Hand Made Modern from Target.)
How To Build It:
1) Paint The Rock & Door
The first thing that you are going to do is to paint the rock and the wooden piece that will be the door. The acrylic paint we used is non-toxic and has amazing coverage, but it will make stains, so be sure to put old newspaper under your rock and wash off any stains immediately. Put aside to dry.
2) Do A Trial Set Up
Once the rock has completely dried, try out a few arrangements of your decorative elements. The most important element will obviously be the Fairy Door. When all is said and done, the door will be on a wall with the stone in front of it, so make sure to choose a flat spot on your stone.
The walkway will lead to the door. You can take a pencil, draw an outline, and arrange the other elements to see how it all comes together. Do this now, because once the hot glue gun is on, you will have to work fast.
3) Create A Walkway
Once you have decided where to put your path, sift your sand to separate it from bigger rocks. Then put an even layer of white Elmer's Glue on your painted rock and smooth it out with your finger. Wipe the glue residue off your finger. Take the rock in one hand and pour sand over it with the other. Carefully pat the sand down until no more sticks. You can leave it like this or you could add a border with tiny rocks.
4) Decorate Your Mini-Garden
We decided to create a mini-garden for our fairy, but feel free to get creative! We found brush trees left over from Christmas decorations, foamy-feeling grass from the model train section of the arts and crafts store, little buckets and tree benches. There are so many options out there, so have a look, get inspired and get creative. Just make sure the proportions are the same.
5) Assemble The Door
Now it is time to assemble the door. Since you already painted it, you can glue on sea shells as decorations or door handles. We decided to add a little round window on our door so the fairy can look outside before she opens the door. For a better effect, we painted the back of the glass pebble aqua blue before gluing it.
After everything was dry and the glue hardened, we placed the door on the spot where we wanted it to go so that we could gauge where to apply a thick layer of hot glue. Then we carefully attached the door to the stone.
As an alternative, you can also add a differently-painted piece of wood as a "wall" and use clay to create additional elements, such as windows or door casings. However, you have to be careful that it doesn't crack once it has dried.
Now you have your own fairy door.
Install Your Fairy Door
There are two ways to "install" the door. I like to just place them in a spot that is not a high-traffic area, but can easily be accessed by the children. A great example is a less-used corner in the hallway or kid's bedroom. You can use a pair of Velcro sticky-back strips (e.g., Command™ Strips) to secure the door on the wall, but this fairy door is freestanding, I prefer to just put them against the wall, so I can pick them up to vacuum and mop the floor.
I hope you enjoy making and playing with your own fairy door!