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How to make upcycled miniature fairies for fairy gardens from pop cans

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Fairy gardens are making a resurgence in popularity within the crafting world. After all, who can resist cute little mushroom houses, tiny benches and ornate fairy doors neatly arranged in a planter? However, accessories for fairy gardens can be quite pricey leading many crafty people to search for DIY alternatives.

This tutorial presents step-by-step instructions for creating your own miniature fairy figures that can live both indoors and out! The materials are low-cost, and most of them are likely to already be on-hand. Since the cut cans are sharp this is not a craft for small children, nor are the finished projects toys.

Materials needed:

  • Oven-bake or air-dry clay
  • Tooth picks
  • Scissors
  • Empty soda can, throughly rinsed
  • Water-proof adhesive or epoxy
Create heads
Create heads Claire Thalken

Create heads

First, grab your toothpicks and clay and roll up some fairy heads.  I used a white oven-bake clay because it is more durable than air-dry clay.  Carefully place head onto toothpick, ensuring the tooth pick does not pop out the top.  Follow the package instructions on the clay, either baking it or allowing it to set. 

Cut up your pop can
Cut up your pop can Claire Thalken

Cut up your pop can

Next, using scissors, carefully cut the top and bottom off your pop can. Discard these pieces, you will only use the aluminium from the center.  Careful, the aluminium is sharp!

Cut the fairy's dress
Cut the fairy's dress Claire Thalken

Cut the fairy's dress

Mark the length of the tooth pick on the aluminium to determine the length of the fairy's dress. Use a permanent or washable marker. Cut a rectangular shape longer than it is wide. 

Roll the dress
Roll the dress Claire Thalken

Roll the dress

Once you have cut one rectangle, you can use it as a pattern for any other dresses you wish to make.  To create the dress, begin rolling the rectangle tightly at one corner and continue until the entire rectangle has been rolled into a cone. 

Make sure it can stand
Make sure it can stand Claire Thalken

Make sure it can stand

After you have rolled up your fairy's dress, you will likely notice that bottom is uneven.  Trim the bottom so all edges match and the cone can stand on its own. Make sure to discard the aluminium trimmings.

Cut the wings
Cut the wings Claire Thalken

Cut the wings

To create wings, fold a rectangular piece of aluminium in half.  Cut your desired wing shape. Once again, you can use finished wings as a pattern for making additional wings. I made my fairies with dragon-fly inspired wings, but the possibilities are limited only by what you can come up with!

Grab your glue
Grab your glue Claire Thalken

Grab your glue

Once you have created your desired wing-shapes, it's time to break out the glue. I used a plumbing-grade waterproof adhesive, but an epoxy would also work well.  Hot glue would do the trick in a pinch, but the bond will not be as strong or lasting. 

Attach wings
Attach wings Claire Thalken

Attach wings

Glue the wings on.  I prefer to put the design side on the back of the wings.  Make sure you have them right where you want them as the glue does not tolerate begin repositioned. 

Attach the head
Attach the head Claire Thalken

Attach the head

Once the wings have set to the dress, apply a small amount of glue to the tooth pick at the base of the fairy head. Gently push the toothpick down into the dress and allow the glue to set.  

Display your upcycled fairies
Display your upcycled fairies Claire Thalken

Display your upcycled fairies

After the glue has dried your fairies are ready for display!  If you'd like to add a splash of color to your figures, try nail polish.  The colors are fade-resistant and usually provide their own finish.  

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