A ‘Secret Door’ is the first real project in my Polymer Clay Journey through Fairies Gnomes and Trolls. In the magical world, the secret door refers to none other than a Fairy Door.
I’ve never done a fairy door before, but I think it’s something every sculptor of fantasy creatures must create at some point in their journey. I see it as a ‘right of passage‘. As a way of truly opening that polymer clay door between the real world and fantasy.
I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out where to put the door so that it ‘fits in’. Above the dozens of science books in my office I have a partial shelf dedicated to my polymer clay books.
And they’re always falling down.
And then it hit me. The perfect location for my fairy door will be on the very bookshelf with all my clay books. As a fairy door bookend, the magical folk have a direct path from their world, through the books, through the door, and into my studio/office.
The tough part was finding a bookend to work with. I wound up purchasing a 6 inch x 4 foot block of wood at Home Depot. They graciously cut down to a series of strips ranging from 2 to 8 inches in length.
Disclaimer: I’m not really the carpentry type, so everything to follow is guesswork on what may or may not work.
I like the idea of a small piece of wood for the base and large standing component for the bookend. Since the wood very light I chose to stack 2 pieces for a more ‘weighted’ base less likely to tip over.
No fairy door is complete without fairies. Knowing that one of the upcoming book projects involves a Spriggle Of Sprites I chose two different size small blocks of wood (2×4 and 3×4 inches) for the base. This will create a step for the upcoming sprites to sit on.
The big debate: To sculpt the door onto the wood and bake, or sculpt and bake the door then bake?
I’ll decide later, for now I want to make sure that my design works.
I marked a pencil line for the ‘step’ and drew circles for the support metal. I have a few L-shaped support brackets from last year’s gardening project. These will be perfect behind the bookend as they can easily slip UNDER a book to add support weight. I plan on using long screws to go through the back wood, and into the step holding the entire thing together.
I used wood glue for the steps themselves as they are less likely to move and won’t be baked.
Additional research made me hesitant to sculpt the door onto the wood. Baking wood can result in everything from warping, cracking, misshaping… I’ve baked wooden bases in the past with mixed results. I feel this project is a bit too complicated to risk a baking disaster. I’ll sculpt the door and decor separately, then secure the clay to the wood with a combination of nails, glue, and magic 🙂