First of all, many people have asked: why make this book? There are two parts to my answer to this question. The first reply usually is something close to this: I've been doing this work for over a decade now and I've developed many tricks, tips and insights that I suspect fellow crafters would love to know so they could make their own whimsical faerie houses. So often it is hard to figure out where to start when something is completely new and different. This book not only gives you great inspiration by showing tons of my house creations, but it also gives a good background in materials, tools and the basic series of steps needed to construct your own wee house. But I go MUCH further with very detailed photographs and instructions to show you exactly how I tackle all the key elements that go into making a sweet little house. My goal is to help you successfully build your own fabulous faerie house out of natural materials.
The second less obvious reason is this: I really want to encourage people of all ages to increase their relationship with nature and the invisible world. While it is true that the crafting instructions in this book are generally geared towards adults, kids can still be very much involved in other aspects of this work from assisting with collecting expeditions to erecting a special place in the garden to showcase your creative results OR for some lucky ones they may be the recipient of your creative courage and willingness to try new things. It is my hope that knowing how much fun it is to work with natural materials (once you know some tricks) will inspire you to get out into Nature more to find building materials that reflect your own environment or are collected from various travels to more distant locations. We all need more Nature in our lives and this book may be a tiny path to a new level of enjoyment for you and those you love...at least that is my hope!
In the content below I will outline the entire book and show you excerpts so you can get a really good feel for how the book is laid out and how it works....for above all I wanted this to be a useful book to help you build the fairy houses of your dreams with skill and confidence. I want you to be able to take advantage of all my years of experimenting and making mistakes so you won't have to when you make your own magical homes for the wee folk! So let's get started!
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Here you can see how the book is laid out. I'll go into more details shortly, but the over-all the flow is this: Getting inspired, getting familiar with the materials, tools and basic concepts, delving into the detailed tutorials to make all the individual elements for a faerie house, how to attach the elements to a main house, how to add fabulous embellishments (including lighting), how to cap it all off with several roof tutorials and many more ideas for making and finishing the base to complete your project. Then there are two Faerie house examples (which you can build from start to finish if you want) to show all the steps of how I put these houses together from start to finish. All the tutorials have detailed photographs to show you exactly what is going on and will hopefully encourage you to try your own stylistic renditions once you know the basics of how a thing is done.
Never before have I revealed all these tricks and tips for how I do this work. I've been asked many times if I can teach a workshop or show people how this is done... this book is the answer to those requests.
Here are some sample excerpts and more details about each chapter:
CHAPTER 1: Introduction & Inspirations
This chapter is mostly all eye-candy. It features a fantastic collection of my best images from houses I've built and shot on location for the past 10+ years. Here are some pages from the first chapter:
In this chapter I also briefly discuss some of the different kinds of Faerie houses that can be built: on site with found materials, on site with materials you've pre-made and brought with you or fully crafted studio projects which may be taken outdoors for fun and photos.
CHAPTER 2: Blueprint for a Faerie house
In this chapter we begin understanding the materials, tools and processes needed to build a faerie house. I go into some basic design considerations as well as detailed material examples and a check list of the most important tools that will help you make your own beautiful project. The good news is that most crafters will already have nearly all of the tools already in their studios. There are of course many other small, specialized tools that you may want to get later on, but I do cover the essential tool kits as you'll need them; one for working outdoors in the field and one (with a lot of cross-overs) for detailed studio work. Finally, I discuss the basic order of construction so you can see how how the project is broken down into simpler steps which are then joined together to make a whole house. Here are some sample pages from this chapter:
CHAPTER 3: The Itty-bitty nitty gritty
Here is where the real how-to tutorials begin. First we look at doors and all the different design and function considerations there are. I show various examples of each style and then I show two of my most commonly used door styles and how to make them. After each tutorial I show several examples of other doors made using the same functional techniques that may look radically different. Also each tutorial begins with a list of tools and materials you will need to complete that project to help you feel more confident about what you are learning to create.
Next we tackle windows. In the same way as I covered door construction here I cover the basic considerations for making magical windows and then delve into the step-by-step processes needed to achieve each style/design, with additional examples.
Since Doors and windows give a considerable amount of charm and sense of detail to a house, I cover these in great depth and it takes a whole chapter to do so! Next we go on to more fun stuff and begin to pull it all together into a fully formed house which we address in Chapter 4.
CHAPTER 4: Adding twinkle and style
In this chapter I begin with how to add lighting to your house during the construction process. This is where a lot of tricks get revealed but I'm happy to share them now so you too can add the magic of battery-powered lights to your house.
Then I go into a general discussion with some examples of how to apply interior finishing details such as wall-paper, lighting sconces, trim around the inside of the windows and some fancy details such as window seats.
Next we have a discussion on the different styles and choices around floors and floor coverings as well as detailed instructions on how to finish the raw/open edge of a house to give a finished, professional look to your creation. Here are some of those pages:
CHAPTER 5: roofs, bases and exterior details
This chapter covers the exterior mostly. Roofs can be made in a variety of designs and construction methods. I cover both removable and attached roof styles plus show you several examples of how to make the roofs look very appealing. I love making fun roofs for my houses and people love knowing how they are made.
Next, I look at all sorts of different bases you can make for your faerie house. Landscaping and decorating the base and the exterior of the house is the part most people look forward to doing when they make their own creations so I wanted to show many examples of what can be done as well as some inspirational messages about making twig bridges, stairs and pathways.
There are also hints and suggestions about how to decorate the exterior of the house and make it uniquely your own....which brings us to...the final chapter...
CHAPTER 6: Building a Faerie House from the ground up
This chapter is devoted to the step-by-step instructions on how to make two sample faerie houses. I deliberately designed both of these houses to be used as models for this book because between them they encompass all the major construction elements and features that you could want in any house you would like to build. The first house is a round design with a fixed roof, basic windows and a closed door. It is a good place to get started. Of course the reader can make any modification they like to the basic plan but this tutorial will show the steps, in order, needed to make this house.
The second house tutorial is for a very complicated design that will be rather challenging for many builders so I don't recommend that you start out with trying to build this particular house until you've mastered many of the building samples in the previous pages. However, the information is still valuable because in these pages I show several key details that can then be used in any other house you may wish to create. These tutorials are designed to reveal a great deal of information about how the crucial steps are undertaken and more importantly, the best order in which to do them!
The final pages have a bit of a blurb about me and some other useful reference materials.
All through the book you will find little idea spotlights to give extra tips associated with the feature being discussed. Look for the little box with the shining light bulb for these extra tid-bits.
So there you have it! That is a rather detailed look inside my new book! There is an additional bit of fun for all readers who have managed to get this far in this posting and that is a sweet little video which you can watch HERE: