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Mom's Fairy Garden Wall Hanging :: A Thrym Construction Project


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Okay, so not completely a miniature-related project but it's all I got for the moment.  I will be employing a lot of the techniques I have learned over the years though for building bases and terrain.


This is a birthday present for my mother (March 30th) and we're in the last days of this project.


I bought the pieces over the last couple of months and have been playing with the concepts and working the project out as I could.  Same thing preventing me from getting any painting done on minis has hampered this project.


So, here's a quick run down of how this came to be and where it stands.


I found the boxwood crosscut board in Michael's and decided it was a neat piece to make something from.  Originally, and this would have been MUCH EASIER, I was just going to install three tin pots and do an herb pot holder.  The idea being a slightly backwards tilting board with three tin pots that would hold similar sized terracotta pots with herbs planted in them.  Simple.


Naturally, my projects escalate really quickly.  So now, I have a lighthouse fairy garden with two herb buckets wall hanging for her new kitchen.  The darker background wood will work nicely with the lighter foreground wood in her new kitchen.  I'll take a picture when it goes up.


On to concept and construction


I brought it altogether today after some serious conceptualizing over the last two weeks.  Some efforts were made with my buddy and his planer on the black walnut I have which is still at his place so I used a "stand-in" graphic to simulate the surround for the backing.


Here's what I mocked up....



Yup, assembled from a photo I took, stock pics, and my mad, photoshopping skills!


The bucket at the bottom is pretty much stock.  I will line the inside of it to waterproof it.   The water around the lighthouse will be blue sand, light blue pebbles and blue moss to keep the "garden" feel glued down to a cork insert shaped into the bucket end.   The cork is currently drying, as I glued two pieces together to make a sturdier insert.  I drilled holes through it so water can still be applied to the roots and dirt below.




I added a bevel to have it sit in the bucket at the right height and structural integrity.  The bark/gravel beneath it will provide the main support but this will prevent shifting since I can glue it directly to the sides.


On the water will sit a rowboat which could use some more paint and cleaning.




The boxwood board has a plastic wrap in that picture still, hence the label.  Not sure I want the terracotta pot or something lighter for the wall hanging.  I might just use the top of the pot with the broken pot look that a lot of fairy gardens go for.


The mini buckets are taped in place but I will be screwing them in.  Prolly with some washers and sealer to ensure the tin doesn't slowly rip over time.  The little buckets will likely get mini-pot inserts as well as sealed against water damage though rusting will only enhance the look of the piece over time.


The big wood block at the bottom won't be the bottom piece.  It'll be a piece of black walnut.  That's just a stand-in piece of lumber I had around that was the right width.


More work continues tomorrow night.  Enjoy and Stay Tuned.

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Tonight's work...


I took a plank of black walnut bark I have been making bases out of and selling for quite some time and planed it down to about 3/4 inches at my buddy's house.


From the same tree that has provided me with so much bark and interesting pieces of wood, my buddy has garnered several hundred feet of solid black walnut.  He cut me two pieces of to uses as a base, whichever fit best.  We planed these down to 3/4 inch as well.




Next I dry fit the pieces together so I could see what last cuts I need to make and tomorrow I will drill and screw them together for a final dry fit before their quick polycoat tomorrow night.


Those won't be fully dry until Thursday afternoon at the earliest. So that leaves Wednesday for finishing the main bucket and prepping the other pieces to hook to the boards.


Here's tonight's dry fit.




Next up, I added straws to holes I made in the cork for drainage and the glued the base blue sand in.




I will snip them tight once all of the glue is set and dab them with some blue paint.  I will add some more sand tomorrow once this layer is set.  I plan to set the rocks in loosely and use the moss like waves crashing against the lighthouse.


Stay tuned and Enjoy!

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Quick update ... more pics to come.


Water base ready




Lighthouse now has similar color to the bottom of the rowboat above.




And the tin bucket and pots now have flex seal inside them to help prevent water damage and leaks.  Will take more pics tomorrow during final assembly.

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Here are the pots and tub with the Flex Seal applied inside...




And here is the same setup with the other pieces fitted in place ...




More to come as final assembly was delayed.


Sidenote:  the new forum software auto-merged my double post.  Nice.

Edited by Thrym
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Final stages...


Assembly of base and bark back pieces ... check.




6" pot broken apart and wrapped in bark pieces ... check



Apparently I bought the concrete mixed with metal fibers then coated in terracotta pot.  I had to drill holes with a masonry bit to break it apart nicely.


Then, added "fairy garden" props to the bottom.



Includes light blue fish tank ballast, blue moss and some loose bark to fill the back.


Finally, fully assembled.




My wife will be placing the medium light plants in the buckets and the pot.  The pot has a fern like plant that will go along the back.  That way my mother can finish the front "garden" however she likes.


So, next up will be shots of the plants and the whole thing at Mom's house. 


Enjoy and stay tuned.

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First, this is the toughest terracotta pot I've ever dealt with.  Normally I can break one by breathing on it.


But because I WANT to this one to break ... I happen to buy the reinforced version from Lowes.




That's right, there is apparently a core of something that looks like gypsum mixed with metal flakes inside the terracotta.  I know there's metal mixed in because they were glowing while I was trying to cut through it and you can see them reflect a bit with direct lighting.


I have a Rotozip with a masonry bit that I was going to make a nice smooth cut through the whole thing.  Imagine my surprise when it just sits there on the edge of the pot causing the core to glow.  You can see the start of the cut at the top middle.  I look at the cut ... "what the heck is that gray stuff?"


So, after that, I just look at it for a moment in confusion, then I got out a drill and my masonry bit ... sure enough three distinct layers.


I start to "break it down" with holes.  Well that got me no where SLOWLY.  Seriously.  Maybe half a hole.   I got a FRESH, never before used, mason bit out and finally got some holes cut.  But still little progress on getting this thing apart.


It looks like I shot it.


All of this seems ludicrous to me at this point.  I've literally picked up an empty pot at a store and had just a piece the same size as the picture above be the only thing that came away with me.  And here I am contemplating finding my hammer and a chisel.


YUP.  That's how it happened.


The final method was a previously ground-down flat head screwdriver (small chisel with long handle/neck) and a small hammer.  I started tapping my way through the holes I cut along the path towards the lowest point I cut on the pot and then it snapped back to the top on the other side.



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