fairies

The Door in the Woods

The Secret Fairy Door



A couple of years ago, soon after we moved into our home, Harry and I began to hear strange skittering noises under the floorboards.  Small things occasionally went missing or turned up in unexpected places.  ’Mice!‘, said my husband.  ‘Borrowers!’ I replied.  Harry was mystified.  Then, we discovered these small doors in the skirting boards (below) and realised that we are not alone.

Fairy Doors in the Kitchen

we’ve come to enjoy watching the comings and goings of whoever lives behind these doors; post is delivered, sometimes with milk or a fresh supply of logs.  But we always assumed that the Borrowers, or fairies, or Lego men – whoever they were – lived indoors… until yesterday, when we were kicking a ball around the garden and discovered the door in the tree;

The House in the Woods

Lit by a small lamp and almost disguised amongst the foliage was this ornate front door, complete with welly boots and a rake, and a freshly swept porch.  We were very taken aback…

Fairy Doors in the Forest

It prompted us to rummage around a little further, at which point we stumbled across what looks like a tiny children’s playground, complete with tyre swing, straw bales, sandpit and even  an abandoned buggy (maybe we made too much noise?).

Fairy Playground



Well… a truly magical garden, and a whole new place to look for signs of tiny life.  We did try knocking on the door of the Tree House, but there was no reply – this time.

If, having paced out every inch of your garden or backyard, you find no signs of miniature life and want to encourage a few fairies or little people to move in, you could perhaps create your own tree doors and playgrounds.  I used unpainted doll house doors which I daubed with grey and green paint before sealing with varnish, adding tiny door furniture and borrowing some accessories from Harry’s ark and toy box.  The tyre swing is a Lego tyre, temporarily borrowed from a Lego City fire engine and repurposed.  The tiny replica gas lamp was a junk shop find (amongst a bag of mixed dolls house furniture and accessories), and miraculously works with a tiny hearing-aid sized battery, casting a magical glow over the undergrowth.  eBay is a good source too for miniature accessories and pre-loved dolls house kit.

To protect the tree from damage I simply glued the door to the bark in a natural hollow; a strong enough hold to allow the door handle to be tugged, but not a permanent fixture.  Oh, and a word of caution; when I first crept out at dusk to create this scene for Harry, I set a small dolls-house sized tomato plant by the front door, with attractive cherry-red tomatoes strung along it; by morning it was gone, and is probably even now being spat out in disgust by some local urban fox… so perhaps remove any bits and bobs at the end of each day.  Besides, half of the magic is never knowing where the evidence of the little people might pop up…

Secret Fairy Doors in the Woods

Have a great weekend!

handbag logo

We are not alone… (Fairy Doors)

Strange noises have been heard in our house of late.  Scratching and skittering from behind the panelling, often at night.  Things are also going missing; tiny things, like single earrings, and crumbs from the floor. My husband, ever the pragmatist, is convinced that we have mice.  Whilst he headed off to the rodent-control section of the hardware store yesterday, Harry and I stumbled across the truth, and it’s much more exciting; We Are Not Alone!



Almost invisible to grown-ups, camouflaged against the kitchen skirting boards, is a very tiny front door.  To adults it looks just like a plug socket from a distance, but to eagle-eyed little people it is immediately obvious that this is the entrance to the home of the Other People who share our house.  And look; as if more proof was needed; they even receive mail and milk deliveries!

So now we watch this door very carefully, from the corner of our eye, just in case we manage to catch someone coming or going.  We’ve found that the best thing to do is to be very still and to pretend to be absorbed in something else entirely.  Whilst we wait, Harry has led an exhaustive search of the house to see if there are any other signs of our neighbours, and lo and behold; we found another door!!  Occasionally when Harry comes down in the mornings there is a tiny plastic ladder nearby; we think they borrow it from his toy box and use it to scramble up the skirting to reach the door.

Harry is convinced that this front door belongs to all the little action-figures which by day are jammed into his toybox; at night, they obviously retire home to a warm – if tiny – bed, shortly after Harry wends his own weary way upstairs.  As a lifelong fan of Mary Norton, I think that we have Borrowers, and have been telling Harry all about them.  In due course I expect we’ll also discover that this is the doorway that Santa’s tiny elves use on Christmas Eve when they slip in to check that the coast is clear for the Big Man himself.  The tooth fairy, too, probably makes a cameo appearance via this very same entrance.  In the years to come, doubtless Harry will forget this wee door and it will fade into obscurity again.  Till maybe one day, years from now, someone small enough and attentive enough will discover it once more…

This is the lovely site which inspired me to create the presence of tiny neighbours in our own house.  I ordered a couple of inexpensive, non-opening dolls house doors online (‘proper’ doors have deep frames which make it difficult to affix them to skirting unless you actually go the lengths of channelling them in – only for the truly dedicated), then spray painted them and added some miniature door furniture.  I crafted tiny letters and tied them together with bakers twine; interestingly, it’s these that Harry has been most captivated by and saw as the ultimate proof of life.  The doors are attached to our skirting boards with double-sided tape; strong enough to withstand Harry knocking on the door and tugging the knob, but easy enough to remove if necessary, with perhaps just a dab of touch-up paint if needed.


And finally, for those who want the instructions in an all-in-one Pinnable tutorial, here’s a montage below;