Fairy House, Part II: Stone Floor

fairy-house-stone.jpg

The first thing I did to try to make the glass-and-metal house look more natural was to add a stone floor. Not a real stone floor, of course (though I did briefly consider trying to find some pebbles and mortar), but an amazingly realistic faux-stone floor made of a material I never would have thought of on my own… egg cartons.

Cardboard egg cartons are really perfect for this application– they’re smooth on the front, but the back side has a great texture to mimic stone, and they’re already this grayish-brownish color that works really well, particularly once coated in glue. Apparently miniature artists use egg cartons (and those cardboard coffee-cup holders that hold multiple cups at once, they have an even more textured surface) all the time to make faux stone surfaces, and I can see why!

fairy-house-egg

First, I cut out a hexagonal piece of plain cardboard (harvested from the back of a notepad) to fit inside the metal base of my fairy house. This way, if things didn’t turn out well I could just take out the floor and throw it away without damaging the house itself. I ripped up several irregular pieces of egg carton, mostly from the flat areas on the lid, to use as my “stones.”

fairy-house-floor-materials

Then I took a piece of regular paper towel and dipped it in white glue. After squeezing off the excess, I spread the towel over the cardboard base. You can see on this picture how I tried to leave the edges bare, because I reasoned that the glass house would rest more securely on a flat surface than on a stone-covered surface. Don’t do this. The gluey paper towel not only provides something for the “stone” to grab onto so it doesn’t peel up off of the cardboard, but it also covers up the brown color of the underlying base, which would otherwise ruin the “stone” look of the floor. So you need to have it covering the entire base, or risk having your stones peel and your cardboard show through on the edges.

fairy-house-base

Next, I dipped each piece of egg carton in glue (both sides), smoothed off the excess glue, and laid the egg carton pieces over the paper towel so they mostly fit together. I didn’t try to make things perfect– the white paper towel showing through the spaces just looked like mortar, and a stone floor is irregular anyway. I altered the shapes of my pieces as I went anyway, just to make everything fit reasonably well. You can see here how I ended up adding more paper towel to the previously-uncovered edges, just to cover up the brown base cardboard.

fairy-house-floor

I used my heat gun to speed up the drying process, but didn’t bother to do it completely because I didn’t want the edges of the “stones” to curl up from drying too quickly. Interestingly, the thinner edges of each piece darkened as they dried completely. I can’t say I really like the effect– I’d rather they stayed the same color as the rest of the stones– but it’s not that bad. If you want to avoid it, you might want to consider cutting your egg carton instead of ripping, or at least removing any particularly feathery ripped edges before gluing things down.

Later I’m going to add tiny bits of moss here and there to cover up any particularly bad spots, and to add a more “natural” look, but the basic floor is finished! We’re off to a good start!

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