Kokedamas, or moss balls, originated in Japan, and these charming floating gardens are taking over the internet. Reminiscent of the hanging gardens of Babylon, they’re a great way to turn a plant into a unique feature. Just recently, I bought one from my favorite online nursery Plantify. They found me a lovely Spekboom, and two days later, she arrived on our doorstep, intact and ready to fight climate change. She was such a gorgeous specimen I thought I’d dress her up a little and turn her into a Kokedama fairy village.
Isn’t she so cool? This indigenous beauty is often confused with the Jade plant. But they’re different species. The Jade plant is a Crassula while the Spekboom is part of the Portulacaria family. We have quite a few in our garden.
Some interesting facts about the Spekboom
In Afrikaans, the word Spekboom literally translates to “Bacon Tree” and our elephants love it, consuming roughly 200kg of the leaves in a day!!! The leaves, which have a slight lemony taste, can be used in salads or to add a citrusy tang to icing. There’s even a gin made from this wonder plant 😉
A Spekboom (Portulacaria afra) can remove 10 times more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than a pine tree. The Xhosa’s call this carbon sponge an iGwanitsha. Legend has it that if a soon-to-be grandmother eats lots of iGwanitsha leaves before her daughter gives birth, she’ll be able to help suckle the baby when the new mom needs to pop out for a while. They might be onto something. Research has shown that when cows graze on a Spekboom their milk production increases dramatically.
It’s fire, frost, and drought-resistant and only needs a cup of water a year to survive. Easy to grow from cuttings, a Spekboom can grow up to 5 meters tall and reach the ripe old age of 200. I suspect my fairy village won’t be around for that long though 😉
If you can’t find a spekboom in your neck of the woods, a Jade plant will work too. In fact, people often confuse the two. It’s easy enough to tell the difference though. Spekboom has distinctive reddish-brown stalks, whereas the stalks of a Jade plant are more grey.
This beginner eco-friendly project fits perfectly with this month’s IBC “Environment Day” challenge and it’s a great way to celebrate National Garden Month too. The entire fairy village is made from leftover craft scraps, with a rusty nail or two thrown in for fun. And because the Spekboom is known worldwide as a miracle plant, it was a natural choice.
Soooooooo what’s the IBC all about?
The IBC, or International Blogger’s Club, is a group of bloggers from all over the world who challenge each other to make something using a common theme. Our previous challenge was “Black and White” and we turned a napkin into a dream catcher. This month our challenge is all about saving the planet and celebrating world environment day. I’m always surprised by how we all interpret the same theme in so many different ways. You can see what everyone else did with their Environment Day challenge at the bottom of this tutorial.
What you need
For this easy little project I used:
- Leftover pieces of 2 x 2’s
- Craft paint
- Permanent marker
- Thin ice cream sticks (popsicle sticks)
- Jewelry wire
- Rusty ceiling tile offcuts
- Tin snips
- A kokedama
How to make a kokedama fairy village
Depending on the size of your kokedama you may want to adapt the measurements below to fit. Kokedamas come in all sizes. To make the fairy village cut the 2 x 2 into different lengths. Ours are all between 5 and 10 cm. Find the middle point on one end of the 2 x 2 and make two cuts at an angle to form a roof pitch. On the other end cut the 2×2 at a 30-degree angle as shown below.
Paint the blocks. I used Rust-Oleums’ Flat White Primer and Paint in one. It goes on really easy and the coverage is great.
Using tin snips, cut strips from the ceiling tiles that are just a little wider than the roof of the blocks. Bend the ceiling tile strips over the blocks and trim to size.
Make sure to keep the block and the roof you cut for it together if you want to preserve your sanity. I spent an hour trying to figure out which roof belongs to which block 😀
Putting the fairy village together
Draw some windows on the fairy apartment blocks that will make up the village with a permanent marker. I used a bronze marker for the main window and a thinner marker to create window frames.
Isn’t it amazing how a few pen strokes can instantly transform oddly shaped blocks into fairy apartments 😀
Drill a small hole on the 30-degree angle and insert a piece of wire.
Glue the tin ceiling tile roof on. To finish the little apartments off, I made some TV aerials using jewelry wire for one of two of them and added a bent rusty nail for a chimney on the others. For the door, trim the end of a popsicle stick and glue it on.
Once you’re happy with each fairy apartment, insert them into the kokedama.
You can hang your kokedama fairy village or put it on the mantle.
Either way it looks lovely and it’s a great way to celebrate our planet.
Each apartment can be customized to make your kokedama fairy village unique and special.
More ideas to customize your kokedama fairy village
- Make a deck or platform from popsicle sticks and add a fairy hammock or some recycled garden furniture.
- Add this easy little fairy swing to give the fae folk a place to chill.
- Use this tutorial to make cotton wool mushrooms and pop them around the kokedama. The kids will love helping you make and paint them 😉
- If you don’t have any scrap wood, use a few medium-sized garden branches to make the apartments. You can sharpen one end for a roof and paint the windows and doors on.
If you like the idea of dressing up your kokedama or moss ball with a fairy village, don’t forget to pin it for later.
Sharing is caring 😉
Don’t forget to see what the other ladies from the IBC have done with their “Environment Day” challenge.
Oh and if you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us come up with more amazing craft ideas to share with you 😉
And if you prefer to buy rather than DIY
And as always, here’s wishing you a beautiful crafty week filled with love and laughter. Thank you so much for popping in for a visit.