The Mother Tree-Part III: Fairy House Door

The Mother Tree's Fairy House Door

The Mother Tree’s Fairy House Door

Fairy doors come in all shapes, sizes, and designs. The Mother Tree’s fairy house entrance was made from scraps of wood, twigs, and jewelry findings. It has an operable latch and decorative hinge made from a recycled Spam can.

Scary Hole

The stone landscaping was completed in Part II of the Mother Tree series. The next step was to cover the tree’s gaping hole and remove the ugly curled  wires. The wires were a part of the armature that initially formed the Mother Tree and left in place to be used in mounting the house front, if needed.

The House Front

Wooden house front

Test fit often!

After the looped wires were cut away, leftover scraps of a wooden yardstick worked out nicely to create the house front that would cover the opening.

The edges of the strips were beveled to form a curve to match the tree, glued together, and the outer portions carved to fit the irregular shape of the void.

Craft sticks were used for the door framing and a curved twig from a broken basket was used for the threshold.

Some of the patio features around the opening were a constant concern, so it was necessary to test the fit of the house front before and after every piece was added.

Little Surprises . . .

Brass awningLittle touches can make a great impact and they are sometimes easy to do with some experimenting. It’s surprising what can be manipulated (cut, glued, or painted) to work perfectly!

A brass filigree jewelry finding was cut in half, sanded to remove sharp edges, and bent to match the curve shape of a brass tube bead, and then glued together to create the decorative awning  above the door.

Awning mountedNOTE: A quality wood glue creates strong wood-to-wood connections and helps with stain and paint results. E6000 and clear silicone adhesive works well mounting metal to wood. I’ve had good results with Ultimate Glue (paste) and Fusion glue (liquid) which also dry clear and are non-toxic.

 The Fairy Door

Fairy house door blankThe blank for the fairy door was made from wooden craft sticks glued side by side with support braces glued to the back. The blank was placed under the house front opening and marked with a pencil for a pattern to cut out the door shape.

  • Fairy DoorA hole was drilled through the middle of the fairy door to embed the mirror “window”.
  • A tiny hole was drilled for the latch wire and a metal bead “door knob” mounted over the hole.
  • A little green paint helped accent the window.
  • The hinge was glued in place after the door frame was whittled out to accommodate the hinge movement.

Making Mini Metal Hinges

hinge tools and materials

Examples of completed hinges and a latch, tools, and materials.  Click for larger image

Miniature metal hinges can be created from scrapped tin, aluminum, and steel commercial food containers. Metal snips/shears and round nose pliers are used to cut and bend the metal into tiny hinges and other miniature house components. Wire, brads, or wire nails can be used as hinge pins.

If you have ever tried making your own miniature hinges and failed, I urge you to try again. They are easy to make, but sometimes difficult to adjust to work the way they are needed. I spent hours researching hinge types, styles, and mounting to get a tiny !@#$% recessed door to swing OUT. I settled on a modified type of half-mortised hinge, meaning I would have to whittle a small cavity for the hinge barrel and the left side hinge leaf would wrap around the back of the door frame (L-shaped bend).

fairy door-rear view

Rear of fairy door. Click for larger image.

  • I cut the bulk of the decorative hinge pattern from an aluminum Spam can using metal snips. Various shaped needle files were used to remove and shape the remaining tiny sections of the design.
  • A plastic tipped watchmaker’s hammer was used to flatten the hinge.
  • Small round nose pliers (commonly used for jewelry crafting) rolled the metal to form the hinge barrels.
  • A tiny wire nail was cut for the hinge pin.
  • A couple wire nails were used to help hold the left side of the hinge, also.

For more information, here is a more in-depth miniature hinge making guide:
Make Miniature and Model Hinges . . .

Making Little Latches

Opened fairy door

Inside of the opened fairy door.  Click for larger image.

There are as many latch types as there are hinge types. I wanted a hidden latch for this fairy door. It was simple to make, but a devil to adjust to work properly.

Latch tools and materials

Latch tools and materials: top view of fairy door and latch assembly components.  A longer wire than the one pictured was used, and the tube bead was not needed.  Latch shown in the open position. Click for larger image.

  • Materials: wire, round metal bead, jump ring, and crimp beads
  • Tools: Dremel, side cutters, crimper, and round nose pliers
  • One end of the wire was rolled into a scroll large enough for fingers to grab. I left plenty of wire to insert through the door and to form the latch hook.
  • The jump ring and metal bead
    were glued around the front of the latch hole
  • The straight end of the wire was inserted through the bead and hole from the front of the door and out the back.
  • The beads were crimped  on the wire close to the back of the door to hold the wire in place.
  • The latch catch (eye screw) was inserted into the back of door frame level with the latch hole (see photos above for reference).
  • The front scrolled end (door handle) was positioned as needed when closed. The wire (back of door) was bent toward  the latch catch with a slight curve on the end to slip into the catch.

Adjustments were made to the latch wire to limit the rotation within a 90 degree quadrant between the open and closed positions, hence the small block of wood on the back of the window mirror and the extra wire below latch hole.

Similar hinge and latch assemblies were used for the entry gate to Mother Tree Circle.

Finishing . . .

House Front & Fairy Door

Dyed twigs from an old wreath were mounted for decoration. The cut edges of the twigs and the threshold were painted to match the dyed twigs.

NOTE: The house front is not permanently mounted so the Mother Tree’s interior can be used for storage and play.

Entry Gate

Click for larger image.

Now to install the entry gate and the few remaining Mother Tree components to finish up this project.

The last installment of the Mother Tree series will be posted before too long to show the final miniature garden project! Until then, have fun!

 ⊱✿ ✿⊰⊱✿ ✿⊰⊱✿ ✿⊰

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