Mum makes magical fairy garden for free – using an old butter container, salt dough & twigs!

This family has used their free time to transform a flower bed into a fairy haven...

Looking for ways to encourage kids in the garden? Why not stage your own fantastical fairy garden? Take inspiration from this creative family from Worcester.

Emma Richards, florist and mum of three, decided to make the most of family time under lockdown by creating a fairy garden for all to enjoy.

Using everything from an empty butter container to twigs, this savvy mum managed to make her family-fun garden project for free

Related: Brilliant budget garden ideas to boost outdoor space without breaking the bank

Make your own fairy garden for free

garden with a fairy tale theme

(Image credit: Future PLC/Emma Richards)

'During lockdown we have been looking for things to do and make,' Emma explains to Latest Deals. 'There have been a lot of people posting pictures of their fairy gardens, and I wanted to have a go at making my own.'

'While out on a walk for our daily exercise, we collected a good amount of bark and twigs,' she explains. They were all fallen of course – no natural environments were harmed in the making of this fairy garden!

Related: Celebrity gardener David Domoney's 1p gardening trick all gardeners need to know!

How to make an upcycled fairy garden house

garden with a sculpture of house made with wooden sticks

(Image credit: Future PLC/Emma Richards)

'Once we got home, I found a large butter container (above) and cut a door and windows out.' Can you believe it's a butter container?

'I then cut a circle out of the top to put a solar light in. Then sprayed it black and glued twigs around the sides – using bits of bark and dirt to fill the gaps.

garden with a sculpture of a house and pebbles

(Image credit: Future PLC/Emma Richards)

Here's the newly upcycled fairy house in place, and doesn't it look sweet?

Adding to the charm Emma explains, 'I made some fairy garden bunting using shells and pearls out of my craft box. I threaded them onto wire and attached to two twigs.'

garden with fairy design and sculptures

(Image credit: Future PLC/Emma Richards)

Emma made a little washing line, to which she hung a scrap of material to look like a towel. 'I made a fairy dress using a silk rose upside down with a top I stitched together from a bit of felt and invisible thread.'

'I glued it to the top of the rose and added a twig and a bit of wire for a hanger.' It's this adorable attention to detail that adds t0 the magic of the scene.

Using one of her son's spare toy wheels, she creatively made a tyre swing. Emma explains how she drilled some small holes in t the tyre. She then threaded through some string to attach the twig supports.

'I popped everything into position, and once I was happy I used sea glass and pea gravel to make a path.'

How to make salt dough toadstools

garden with white mushrooms

(Image credit: Future PLC/Emma Richards)

'To fill in the gaps, I made some salt dough toadstools,' says Emma. To make the mixture, she mixed plain flour, salt and water. 

'I made all the components separately, making a large hole at the bottom of each stalk to poke a wire in.' Emma does warn the hole will shrink during the baking process. 'Once baked and dry, I glued them together with my glue gun, painted them with acrylic paint and a coat of varnish.'

Emma explains, 'I glued the wire in the bottom of the stalk to enable me to poke them in the ground.'

'The fairy garden didn’t cost anything to make, as it was all bits I’ve had in the craft cupboard. We have collected the shells and sea glass over the years. The salt dough used plain flour and salt, which I had in the cupboard. The twigs and bark were collected on walks!'

Related: DIY overhaul of balcony decor and flooring transforms this small outside space

This really is free garden fun for all the family. Are you feeling inspired to fashion a fairy garden for your home?


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.