Fall Themed Fairy Gardens: How To Make A Mini-Thanksgiving Garden
By: Laura Miller
It’s that time of year again, the holidays are upon us and the excitement of decorating the house is here. If you’re looking for a festive way to usher in the season, why not make a fairy garden for Thanksgiving? A fall themed mixture of live plants and fairy magic is a perfect way to liven up the house, adorn the center of the holiday table, or give as a hostess gift.
Ideas for a Thanksgiving Fairy Garden
If you already have a fairy garden, changing it over to a fall theme could be as easy as switching out a few of the fairy garden decorations. Making a new Thanksgiving fairy garden is a lot more fun though! To start, choose a vessel to house the fairy garden. Try these seasonal ideas to inspire your creativity:
- Cornucopia shaped basket – Use a coir planter liner, trimmed to fit.
- Clay or plastic pot – Creatively decorate it like a pilgrim’s hat, decoupage with fall leaves or make it into a “turkey” using craft foam and feathers.
- Pumpkin – Use a child’s treat basket, a hollow foam pumpkin, or opt for the real thing. Don’t limit fall themed fairy gardens to the top of the pumpkin. Cut a hole in the side for an interior view of the fairy’s house.
- Gourds – Choose a medium to large hard-shelled variety, like a birdhouse or apple gourd (Gourds must be cured by drying before using as a planter).
Next, choose several small plants to adorn the mini-thanksgiving garden. Try choosing flowers with fall colors like orange, yellow, and red. Here are some plant selections to consider:
- Air plant
- Baby Tears
- Ornamental Kale
- Snake Plant
- String of Pearls
- Wooly Thyme
Decorating Fall Themed Fairy Gardens
Once you have the planter and the plants, it’s time to assemble your fairy garden. For Thanksgiving centerpiece décor, it’s best to do this at least a week in advance of the big day. This gives the plants a chance to perk up after transplanting. Miniatures can be added after the plants are set in place. These themed suggestions may spark your imagination:
- Fall leaves – Use a leaf shaped paper punch to make authentic textured fall foliage from real leaves. Scatter these along a stone walkway leading to a fairy sized house.
- Homemade fairy house — Make doors, windows, and shutters from twigs or craft sticks and attach to a miniature pumpkin or small gourd.
- Harvest miniatures – Scout your local craft store for doll-house sized straw bales, pumpkins, ears of corn, and apples. Add a homemade scarecrow and don’t forget a wheelbarrow or basket to hold the harvest.
- Fairy feast – Set up a mini garden or picnic table with all the traditional Thanksgiving fixings including a turkey, taters, and pie. Repurpose acorn caps as plates to give this Thanksgiving fairy garden a rustic feel.
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Take Your Pick! The Top 50 Miniature Fairy Garden Design Ideas
Ever since Walt Disney made fairies even more popular through his creative use of the pixie character, Tinker Bell in “Peter Pan,” there seems to have descended a mesmerizing influence over the dwelling places of women’s homes and apartments with their use of fairy garden designs. Ladies can’t seem to get enough of the little creatures as many women strive to create their own little worlds of make believe within their designed DIY fairy garden.
Using whimsical fairy garden ideas, women create a sense of childlike magic as some even think that these gardens do in fact supernaturally attract the little spirit beings to their abodes. However, knowing that many women simply look at their DIY fairy garden as a decorative touch or as an accessory to the rest of their home design environment, vast numbers of quality online stores have emerged that provide everything the ladies may want to display a mini-fairy garden.
Constructing An Epic Fairy Garden
Anyone else out there have a fondness for fairy gardens? The Epic movie was one of my very favorite cartoons released this year. Every time I wander around our yard with Garrett we point out little humps of moss or gnarled knots in trees that could hide a fairy lurking underneath. I love the imagination behind it all, and the magical wonder of the possibility of a tiny world that exists right underneath our noses. Every time a bug splats our window Garrett asks if it was a Boggan. If you haven’t noticed… fairy gardens are all the rage on Pinterest right now, and seeing all of those cute ideas inspired me to create one of my own. With the help of my mom and my son, we transformed this greenhouse that my husband built from wooden windows and MDF into something pretty magical.
Welcome to Grandma’s Fairy Garden. Come along and I’ll show you how we created this mini-wonderland.
The whole thing takes up about a three foot square area in a sunny corner of my mom’s scrapbooking room. The back window is hung on a piano hinge to make the back of the garden accessible as well.
Here is a behind-the-scenes look at building the foundation before we added all the decorative pieces. I removed a lot of the moss after this photo was taken to make room for the waterfall and lake, but this gives you an idea of how to build your foundation first, then add the pretty stuff later. See the cone shaped thing on top? That used to be the roof of a birdhouse. I found it at a junk store, and even though it was falling apart I couldn’t resist the way the weathered cedar pieces formed the dome shape. Plus, I was able to build a fence with the pieces that fell apart while I was moving it around.
I was able to find plenty of fairy garden houses and accessories at local nurseries and other shops. We took a recent vacation to Helen, GA, where I discovered a shop called The Pickled Peach that had some of the CUTEST fairy houses I’d seen. I had to buy this one shaped like a gourd, along with the sliced wood placemat that is serving as our foot path through the village. If you’re looking for a similar fairy garden gourd house, you can find them on Amazon as well.
We wanted the garden to be whimsical, so my mom added fun little details like this polymer clay face on top of a mushroom house. Garrett added the paper scarf around the unicorn’s neck. There were no rules here. We just kept it fun.
I brought in a big rock from outside my mom’s house to serve as a raised picnic spot above the village. The dried hydrangea “tree” gives them some shade, while the brown cliffs of Stalagmite Mountain loom in the distance. Please don’t ask me to tell you what that weird poop shaped thing actually is or what it was used for. We found it at a thrift store. It’s made of wood. I thought it looked cool. I don’t have any further info besides that.
We twisted golden cord along with green twine to form a hanging chandelier over the table. The cute metal chandelier with a glowing candle came from a local nursery that sells fairy garden supplies. I also loved the galvanized washtubs with acorn dishes piled up. Because even fairies have dirty dishes in their sink. Doesn’t that ease your guilt just a bit?
The woodland table with four stools was made by fiddlehead fairy village. They have the cutest little decorative items for fairy gardens I’ve ever seen! I could have bought out the store I think. The cakes on the table were made from polymer clay.
To wash down all that cake, a galvanized cart over in the middle of the village holds pretty polished rocks and tiny bottles of sodas in a crate. Or wine, if your fairies are of legal age. Which mine happen to be. Drink up, fairy friends.
Even though I probably spent WAY too much money contributing to the delinquency of these tee-tiny winged winos, there were a whole bunch of elements that we didn’t spend a dime on. Like this broken flowerpot that I turned into a bridge over a lake made from scrapbooking paper and green and blue embellishments found in my mom’s old craft supplies. The little humming bird figurine and all the bags of river rocks came from the thrift store for less than a dollar each.
This was created using a 12×12 piece of scrapbooking paper that resembled water, I cut out a kidney shaped pool, then used a longer strip to create a waterfall flowing over a block of styrofoam covered in a wadded up trash bag to give it some irregular shape. Here’s a behind-the-scenes peak….
I sprayed the styrofoam block with spray adhesive to get the garbage bag to stick, then I sprayed the garbage bag with more adhesive to get the paper to stick, then I used more adhesive to get those little green and blue flecks to stick to the paper.
Super simple process here. Don’t overthink it!
A bag of moss and river rocks softened up the edges and held all of the garbage bag down in place. More scrapbooking paper resembling fence boards creates a border along the edges.
We even created a whirlpool at the bottom of the waterfall out of a strip of curled up blue paper. Look out! Also, don’t miss the painted rocks with faces that line the front of the lake. Do you get the feeling you’re being watched?
Behind the lake is the farmland, where the fairies can grow gigantic tomatoes and organic carrots and red mushrooms that look like they would take you on a very bad trip. Purple and orange cabbages are growing in the cabbage patch behind the watering can. Look out for those rabbit holes.
I love this little thatched roof cottage that my mom found at a thrift store to use as a fairy house. I dream of visiting a house that looks exactly like this one someday. Except I’d like to be able to actually fit through the door.
My mom liked the idea of using everyday “found” objects inside the diorama so that it looked like the fairies happened upon something left behind and borrowed it to construct their village. This round clip became the hanger for a basket full of quilled flowers and more dried hydrangea.
And this fun polka-dot pencil makes another garden accoutrement by becoming a fake flower with purple paper petals. Say that three times fast.
More thrift store purchases such as the elf in the back and the birdhouse up front complete the scene with so many fun touches it’s hard to see them all. We made a whole bunch of mushrooms out of polymer clay and scattered them around the scene. Paper cutouts in cute shapes make nice door mats outside all the fairy houses. Can you spot the penny in this scene?
This fairy garden was seriously SO. MUCH. FUN to create. It totally scratched my itch for anything fairy related after watching the movie Epic, plus that whole miniature dollhouse obsession that I have. My mom and Garrett and I had a blast shopping for all of this stuff and putting it all together in one big scene. Now that it’s finished, kids of all ages LOVE playing with it when they come over to my mother’s house. I’m happy to report that after I took these photos she bought four beautiful fairies who now reside in this village together. I would have gone back for more photos with them, but they were too busy flittering around the village, harvesting their ‘shrooms for tea and chug-a-lugging their Fairydine wine.
Maybe we’ll catch them later for an interview.
This Magical Gardening Trend Is Taking Over Pinterest
Your kids will have fun making them, too.
We've long been fans of fairy gardens—those tiny plantscapes decorated with miniature accessories—but they've recently exploded on Pinterest. In fact, they're so popular right now that they even made it onto Pinterest's list of the top 100 emerging trends for 2017.
So gather your kids and take a look at some of our favorite ideas for creating your own miniature fairy gardens below.
You can create a tiered fairy garden with multiple pots connected with tiny ladders.
Don't throw away that broken pot just yet. Follow this DIY tutorial to turn it into a charming fairy garden.
If you have a spare galvanized bucket in your garage, they make great containers for fairy gardens.
Old birth baths also make great spots for new fairy gardens.
Make a mini fairy garden for your desk.
Fairy gardens are an especially fun project to work on with your kids. You could even throw a DIY fairy garden party for their next birthday.
For more fairy garden ideas, read our story on how to create your own, plus check out more of our favorite fairy garden ideas.
Creating Pathways in the Fairy Garden
In my opinion, the best thing about planning my next 'miniscape' is that there are many options for designing fairy gardens. What I mean is that there are different miniature accessories, fairy houses, landscape materials, and miniature plants from which I can select the essential pieces. Once I have decided upon and gathered all my supplies, I can begin to design a unique scene and make my garden special. To find ideas, I tend to watch videos and look on social media websites. The video, Fairy Garden Pathways, provides much helpful "how-to" information, plus Step-by-Step Recipes with links to products. In addition, I have found that talking to other gardeners helps me learn new techniques.
When I started fairy gardening, I had no idea that there were so many ways to create a simple garden path. Little did I know that ‘simple’ is the wrong term for something that can change the personality of your garden in a second. When I see beach sand leading to a blue picket fence, I think of someone living near the ocean, or I visualize a path that fairies take to see a mermaid sitting on a large rock splashed by waves. When I view large stones forming a pathway and framing smaller pebbles, I think of it leading to a cottage in the woods with a large bonfire pit in the backyard. These paths hold their personalities that can be designed to match the existing theme of the garden.
When you start creating a path, you need to border the location of the walkway with edging material. Next, cover the space with hardscaping materials, to achieve the style of the pathway that you are trying to create. For example, if you want to form a natural stone walkway, fill the edged area with sand, and pat it down (I like to use a small piece of wood for this step.) On top of the sand, place stones to cover the area for the pathway, fill in the spaces with the mini path and patio mix, and pat it down again. Once you have cleaned off the excess mix with a paintbrush, spritz the stone pathway with water, and the beauty of the stones will appear. Repeat the spritzing a couple more times during the day. It will take two to three days for the mix to harden so that soon the fairies can enjoy their new pathway. Add miniature plants along the route to soften the edges.
Another popular path would be one created with a dry riverbed kit. To define your space, use edging material or rocks. Next, take a black piece of gardening fabric and cover the soil. On top of the fabric, pour fine pea gravel or pebbles to frame the entire path. Gently brush away any excess gravel, and your pathway is ready. Add a fairy, bike, or wagon for added interest.
One of my favorite types of paths is stepping-stones. Whether you select agates, ancient squares, wooden circles, porcelain, or mosaic stones these hardscape pieces make an easy-to-do, but a refined pathway. You can lay the hardscape in a straight line or make them slightly crooked to add a little personality to the space. If you want a pop of color, consider using bright blue decorative pebbles to define the path and larger blue porcelain tiles to create a stepping stone feel as well. You can also use a simple brown pea gravel to add a more rustic sidewalk. An especially attractive garden path would be large mosaic stepping stones filled in with green moss, spraying occasionally with water to keep the plants alive.
I know next time I start designing a fairy garden I will give much thought to my pathway choices. Since adding hardscape materials attains such a large impact on the theme of the garden, I want to make sure that I choose materials and decorations within the path that will capture the attitude, which I am trying to portray within my newest miniature fairy garden.
25 Enchanting DIY Fairy Garden Ideas for Your Backyard
Although they're small in size, these fanciful abodes are nothing short of stunning.
When you're designing a garden, it can hard to figure out which kind—English! Butterfly! Container!—you want because all gardens are beautiful. So you have to make some decisions about what's most important. Is space limited? You should check out the best hanging plants. Does your plot of land get a ton of sun? Best to consider some full-sun perennials. Are you interested in attracting pollinators? Then you should investigate some of the best plants and flowers that attract bees, flowers that attract hummingbirds, and flowers that attract butterflies.
On top of flower selection, it can be fun to add a little extra flavor to the garden. Our suggestion: Try a fairy theme. After all, what's more magical than a garden? Tiny furniture, cars, and houses placed throughout the garden make it a little extra special, and your kids will love it! You can even get them involved by recruiting them to help you construct sweet little abodes for the various fairies who will be visiting. But don't worry—if you're not up for a DIY, many fun elements can be purchased via Amazon and Etsy. Setting up the tiny vignettes all over the garden is a fun activity, and adults and children will delight in stumbling across these "secret" scenes. Check out some of these fun to ideas to make your fairy garden even fairer.