Tutorial: How to Create Dark Garden Miniatures for Spring
Ah, Spring! Flip through a mainstream home decorating magazine or visit a local craft store and you’ll find that garden lanterns and fairy houses are all the rage this season. Fairies are nice, I guess. But what about the little demons? Where do they live?
Today on Dear Darkling, learn how to make a miniature séance room inside of a garden lantern and a little altar for your house plants. Now your tiny demons and spirits will feel right at home!
The Occult Garden Lantern
For the miniature séance room, I began with a garden-variety lantern available at most craft stores for less than ten dollars. The one I found has a wooden body with a metal top—perfect for a Victorian room!
To make the inside of the lantern cozy, I cut a piece of black faux leather the size of the lantern’s floor to serve as a rug. I then cut little curtains out of black spidery-lace and glued them to the side windows. I painted a black skeletal tree on the inside of the back window. Once it was dry, I sewed little black and purple velvet drapes out of scraps and glued them to the inside of the back window. Once the glue was dry, I made tie-backs out of ribbon and glued them to the sides, creating a sumptuous effect. I then installed a small string of battery-operated fairy lights to the inside of the lantern top. Black duct tape holds the battery box in place. Now the little séance room will glow softly in the dark of night!
For the séance table, I used a metal “fairy garden” table that I picked up on sale for a few dollars. It would be just as easy to make your own from heavy card stock or even clay. I then cut a velvet circle as a table cloth. A smaller circle cut from faux leather serves as the altar cloth. I used a white gel pen to create the sigil. Then I installed them in the lantern.
I used polymer clay to create the miniatures that you see here—a framed mirror with red beads, a “stone” bowl filled with candles, black candle holders with red candles, and a tiny Ouija board complete with movable planchette. I embedded beads in black clay at the base of a miniature glass bottle for a magical appearance. I also added black clay to a glass bead to create the perfume bottle on the far right; the same technique was used to make the crystal ball in the center. Once the items were baked according to manufacturer’s directions, I added painted details and set up my séance table. Miniature cards complete the scene!
The Plant Altar
Darken your houseplants and honor the spirits with little plant altars like the one I’ve created here.
I used polymer clay to create the altar table. Simply sculpt the top and two trunk-like supports and bake them. Once they are cool, add more clay to attach them and re-bake. For accessories, I used translucent clay to make candles and faux-stone clay to make candle holders and a mortar and pestle. I also sculpted a little clay book with a silver clasp and a beaded sigil. The crystal ball is simply a crackled glass bead glued to a bead cap. The tiny grey jar is a ceramic bead with a polymer clay top. I hand painted a moon and stars on a “fairy lantern,” painted some small ceramic pots to look like cauldrons, filled them with skulls and moss, and voilà!
With the exception of the small wooden “carpet” and the string of battery-operated fairy lights, these miniatures can remain in the pot during gentle watering. They are not meant for outdoor use—although Darkling squirrels might appreciate the ritual objects!
Dear Darklings, have fun creating miniature worlds and cultivating your indoor gardens this Spring and Summer. And remember…Autumn is only four months away!