Fairy Gardens for Beginners: Truffula Trees
Dr. Suess books are one of those special cultural phenomenons that transcend generations of children. One generation grows up and hands it on to their children, and so on and so forth. They really are timeless, and I see this in the way that the girls I nanny for read the books with a special look in their eyes.
Among these books, the one that has a special place in their heart is the Lorax. I read it to them about a week after I started working with them, and we’ve read it at least once a week since then. That’s means well over fifty times this past year! As you can imagine, I know every line by now.
The most iconic image from this book revolves around the Truffula Trees.
“And I first saw the trees!
The Truffula Trees!
The bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees
Mile after mile in the fresh morning breeze”
If you’re like me, you adore these trees. So when I first started making my fairy garden, I thought that it would be a fun, funky way to add a pop of color. It’s also a chance to step away from the typical woodsy, neutral, European fairy garden look that most of us are used to (not that there is anything wrong with this look).
When I finally did get around to making my Truffula Trees, I couldn’t have been happier with the result. Here is how to make these bad boys.
1 Small Package White Polymer Clay (sold at Joann Fabric for around $3 in Alaska, cheaper almost everywhere else)
1 Package Colorful Puff Balls (see images below for reference)
White Paint or Marker (Recommended, not required)
Hot Glue Gun (Mini ones can be found for around $5 at Wal-Mart)
6 Inches of Wire or 3 Paper Clips
First, you’ll grab the polymer clay and break off three of the four rectangles. If your clay isn’t packaged as a square with four rectangles, then break off a 2-inch ball of clay. For either, roll and mash the clay until it warms up.
Once it is soft and pliable, roll it back and forth against a hard surface to create a straight line of clay. Flatten each end with your finger. Give the line of clay a bend that looks natural, or leave it straight if you prefer it that way. Do this with two more rectangles or balls of clay.
Choose which end of each line will be the bottom of the tree. In this end, take your wire or paperclip and poke a straight hole that is one inch deep. Bake the clay according to instructions on the package.
Once your clay has cooled, turn on your glue gun to start warming it up. Grab your white paint or marker and paint the clay, avoiding the hole at the bottom. This step can be skipped if you purchased white clay and do not have white paint. I painted mine because I felt that it made them a purer white color, but if you’re trying to keep it cheap, don’t worry about the white paint. Simply purchase the other materials and move onward.
When the white paint dries, grab your black marker and pick a place on the tree to start your black squiggly lines (completely professional term here). I usually made three black lines on each tree, spaced roughly one inch apart, but you can do more or less than this.
I used a Copic marker from back when I got into drawing, but a Sharpie would work just fine for this (it would probably stand up to rain better than the marker I used). Let the marker dry before moving onto the next step, and always grab the clay between the black lines to avoid smudging.
Lastly, if your glue gun is ready, grab a tree and leave a dab of hot glue on the end that does not have a hole in it. Quickly grab a puff ball and place it on top of the glue. Hold for ten seconds and then let go. Cut three 2-inch pieces of wire or straighten three paperclips and stick them into the hole at the bottom. Find a home in your fairy garden for these, using the wire to secure them into the dirt.
While these do require quite a few materials, a lot of them can be substituted or found lying around your home. I was able to make this particular craft for under $10 (not including the glue gun that I already had). For those $10, I still have a lot of material left over for future crafts.
These trees have been a beautiful addition to my garden, they’re just so colorful and so funky and different. I’m so glad that I added them, and it’s even got me thinking of an entirely Dr. Seuss-themed garden! I hope you find it to be a fun addition to your garden, as well.