After a big tropical storm made a mess of my daughter K’s fairy garden, she decided to do some remodeling. First on her list was new fairy furniture, so we thought up some simple designs for a table and chairs. If you have a handsaw, a hammer, and some small nails, you can make these, too.
The chairs are made from sections of a tree limb that was about 1 1/4″ in diameter. Each chair is just under 2″ tall, so you need a limb that’s relatively straight for at least 8″. But it helps to get a branch about twice that long so you have something to hold on to while you cut the chair pieces off. If you want to leave the bark on, a tree with relatively smooth bark is best. Or you can strip the bark with a pocketknife once you’ve cut the limb.
I have a workbench and a pretty good set of hand tools, so I prefer to do work like this at my workbench. (Also, my workbench is indoors, where I have air conditioning.) But you can make fairy furniture like this on your front steps.
Each chair requires only three saw cuts. Put the branch on the steps and wedge it into a corner, holding it steady with your foot.
With your handsaw, make a 1″ deep cut with the grain. This will be the “back” of the chair. Don’t cut it right down the middle, though. Instead, I find that cutting it about 1/3 of the way across the diameter makes for the best looking chair.
Next, saw across the grain until you meet your first cut.
Now you’ve made your seat. Finally, cut the chair off the branch, and you’re ready to start another one.
Where should you make your final cut? I don’t know, exactly. I didn’t measure. But I think the seat back should be about twice as tall as the bottom of the chair. At least, that’s what looks right to my eye. Measure it if you must.
At first, your chair will look a little ragged.
Use a pocketknife to trim any rough bits. You can use the blade to scrape your saw cuts smooth if you like.
You should be able to make a nice little set of fairy chairs in ten minutes or so.
Here are a few others we made. I sawed them out, and my daughter smoothed them here and there. (The above pictures are pre-smoothing.)
Now that you have some chairs, it’s time to make a table or two!
A fairy table is very easy to make. The most difficult part was cutting out the plywood.
We used a piece of 1/4″ thick plywood that I had salvaged from an old dresser drawer bottom. The top of each table was about 1 1/2″ square. You can cut that out of the corner of a piece of plywood with only two cuts. Cutting plywood with a handsaw can be a challenge; I find it best to set it on a flat surface (benchtop, chair, table top, whatever) with the part you want to cut hanging off. Hold it down with a knee or a foot as you saw. It helps to have a second person hold the piece that’s hanging off.
Here’s where the kids can really get involved. We made two different tables, both of them with a single, pedestal leg. For the first one, we cut a short length of dowel (maybe 1″ long”). We nailed through center of the table top and into the end of the dowel.
Then we cut a slightly smaller piece of plywood for the bottom of the pedestal and nailed that to the other end of the dowel.
The result is a cute little restaurant-style table.
Here it is in place.
But there’s an even easier way to make a fairy table. For the pedestal, just use a section of a tree branch (you can use the same stock you got the chairs from). Nail the top to the pedestal using two or three small nails. That’s it.
And if you have the little scraps that you cut out of each chair, then you also have some handy fairy stools for the fairy patio.
Now to turn away and let the fairies have their tea party.