How to Build a Kokedama Fairy Village
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.
Right, before we get to the tutorial, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!
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
If you can’t find a kokedama or moss ball at a nursery near you, they’re pretty easy to make. We ordered this one online so all I needed to do was build a fairy village 😉
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.
Northern Feeling | Raggedy Bits
Interior Frugalista | Unique Creations By Anita | A Crafty Mix
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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.
18 thoughts on “How to Build a Kokedama Fairy Village”
You are crazy creative, this is stunning. You inspire me!
Thank you very, very much.
I love visiting your blog to see all of your creativity. You always inspire me.
Thanks so much Meegan
This is just the cutest little Fairy Village I ever did see! I love how you have used tin for the roof and the nails for the chimneys! When can I move in?
One of the apartments has just opened up, so you can move in anytime. Bring your paintbrushes with
Michelle, this is absolutely darling! I wish I were 1/2 as talented as you my friend. I can only imagine what a trip through your home and garden must be like. Magical, I have no doubt!!
Thank you my friend, you have talent oozing out of your pores and you’re welcome to come visit any time
This project is way to adorable. Thank you so much for all the history it was so interesting. I am not to sure how I would feel about my Mom breast feeding my baby? but could become handy I suppose. I have never seen a kokedama before so I will be looking into making one. No one can do a fairy village like you, and with just scrap to do it with. Well done.
Oooooooo I hope you do make one for yourself Anita and you’ll be able to use so many special plants that are indigenous to Australia too. They’re perfectly suited to a kokedama
Oh What a plant! It truly is magical and the Kokedama way of keeping it fits so well! And not to mention the cute little village! Love it both!!
Thank you Katrin. If you can find one on your side of the world it will be a great addition to your succulent collection and they’re really easy to propagate too.
I love this so much. I think we will be making this as a gift. thanks for the tutorial.
So happy to hear that Deborah. Have fun making yours
It’s darling! Love the concept and so needed to brighten our world during Covid. Thanks for sharing.
You’re most welcome Cat. It’s a fun project to play around with
I’d never heard of a Spekboom before but what an interesting plant! They wouldn’t survive our brutal Canadian winters but I wonder if you can grow them indoors. If they can, they must have an ADORABLE Kokedama Fairy Village underneath. Just think how adorable it would look lit up for the holidays. I so enjoyed your take on our environment day challenge, Michelle!
Love your idea of adding lights for the holidays Marie and yeah, they don’t do cold weather very well. But she is a lovely plant and you can grow them indoors. Plus they’re so low maintenance you’ll never have to worry about keeping them alive