The Making of The Miniature Little Free Library

mac approved mini little free library

Photo shoot in the fairy garden before mailing the LFL

This is a follow on post to It’s the Little Things (Even Libraries) published last week. You can catch up with part one here.

It took me years to realize that everyone creates differently. I admire designers that can sketch an idea, and then make it come to life. I tend to work in reverse. Ideas rattle around in my head where they’re examined and discarded. These ideas simmer in my brain before a usable plan comes together.

My first fairy garden miniature library started with a small box. I thought I would do the same with this one, but none of the boxes in my stash seemed right. I visited a craft store, put a couple of items in my cart, then put them all back. Eventually I left the store with a small container of blue paint and a receipt for seventy-five cents.

Back home, using a photo of Carrie’s library as a guide, I cut pieces from a thin piece of cardboard. I wanted the library to have a working door, so I cut a small rectangle in the body of the library. I cut a cardboard frame for the door, and backed it with clear packaging from a packet of batteries.

Carries library with miniature

Carrie’s full-sized library on the left, the miniature version on the right

mini little free library construction

Constructing the miniature library

It took three coats of paint to cover the glossy white cardboard, but after two days the color looked even.

If I had it to do over again, I would install the door first, and then assemble the library. It would have been handy to have fairy-sized hands that day. I persevered.

After taping the plastic to the door, I glued a tiny hinge in place. On the library itself, I poked two small holes into the opening, then used tiny brads to hold the hinge in place.

mini little free library door hardware

Door hardware

On the opposite side of the door I attached a “doodad” from my stash, holding that in place with another brad. This allows the door to open and close.

mini little free library open door

Miniature LFL with a working door

Since the opening is small, I made a removable roof so adding books is a breeze.

Carrie’s library sits on a wooden post surrounded by a circle of stones. To replicate the look, I used a cinnamon stick, a small metal lid and a handful of pebbles from my fairy garden stash. I hot-glued the cinnamon stick to the inside of the lid, and then glued rocks into and around it. This gives it weight and stability. I downloaded a copy of Carrie’s library, and photo-copy reduced the two signs to scale. Then I headed to the kitchen, tore off a corner of a box of cat food cans, and used the cardboard to mount the signs.

mini little free library take a book sign

Miniature library stand made from a cinnamon stick, a candle lid, pebbles and hot glue

Then on to the books. Again, lots of ideas tried and discarded before I came up with a plan. I used the binding from a couple of paper sample books passed on to me years ago. I cut through all the layers of the sample booklets, and then cut sections down to size.

mini little free library book making supplies

Sourcing supplies for the miniature books. Upper left, clockwise: sample books used for structure, book covers made from a recycled Humane Society calendar, one of my dad’s vintage stamps, floral Washi tape, Graphic 45 printed paper

Each tiny book has a unique cover with a small story to go with it. (The actual books are blank inside, so you have to use your imagination.)

I wrote a six-word story to go with each book, something meaningful to me or to Carrie. Here they are:

Trust, betrayed. Rescued dog’s love, restored.

Flowers. Achingly beautiful. Harbingers of spring.

Magic. How we see the world.

Wanted child. Your new family awaits.

The Wonderland of Alys in miniature.**

Daddy’s stamps lovingly travel the world.

Dragon Folklore. Escape inside a book.

mini little free library collage

Can you match the books with the six-word stories?

**The Wonderland of Alys is a collage art piece by Pauline King, a friend and fellow blogger. The original hangs in our home. The tiny replica of this piece is a sticker, sent to me at Christmas by Julia of Defeat Despair. I couldn’t resist turning one of those art stickers in to a tiny, make-believe book.

Pauline King art the wonderland of alys

22 thoughts on “The Making of The Miniature Little Free Library

  1. Alys what a wonderful creation! I have looked and looked and can see the thought and care that has gone into this quite amazing 3D construction. [Of course I am also quite enchanted that you thought to include a little taste of your Wonderland painting into it as well 🙂 ]

    It never fails to astonish me that when we work with love and dedication to create something for someone else a little spark is lit that shines out much further than we ever imagined could be – this little fairy-land creation will do just that!! You are going to inspire a few more fairy gardens and little free libraries for sure!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Pauline. It was good to stretch myself and to try new things. I’m delighted that it has been well received and that it may inspire others to try the same. This creation also lead me to join a Facebook group of LFL stewards. It’s a wonderful bunch of people, as book-readers and library keepers generally are. It’s added yet another dimension to the joy of our curbside library.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lisa, what a lovely thing to say. Those little books took on a life of their own. it’s been great fun.

      Do you see many of the Little Free Libraries in your area? I didn’t see any on our very brief stay, but I imagine they’re more likely found in suburban settings.

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        • That certainly makes sense for your rich, cultural area. The LFL stories that excite me the most are in places like India where access to books for many is non-existent. Other communities are establishing them in lower-income areas. When I was a child, book mobiles were a thing. They brought books to us. I don’t know if they still exist, but they were such a good idea.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m blown away. The side by side really drives it home….Wow wow wow, totally flippin amazing Alys! The books are astonishing. I bet you wanted fairy size hands,,,,,Omgosh. You have patience like none other. It’s perfect xo K

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to ditto the rest of the comments here. What else can one say. I would have just pasted a picture of a row of books onto the plastic and called it done. You always go the extra distance to make it so authentic and real. No wonder the fairies love you so much! What a delight to look at this tiny library. You’ve outdone yourself again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Marlene! I found that the more detailed I got, the more “lost in the zone” I became. I bought those tiny hinges for a different project a few years ago. When i realized I could make it work for the door, it lead to more and more detail. Does that make sense? Big hugs, you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so beautifully thought out and created Alys! What a lot of work and heart went into it! It really is wonderful, with all that detail. I especially love the hinge so you can actually open the door. And the books too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Cathy! It took time to get it right, but as I worked through each challenge, there was tremendous satisfaction seeing it all come together. I had a small packet of hinges from a project a few years ago. They were the perfect size and scale for this library. The receiver, Carrie Marie, loves it and in turn her joy brings joy my way. A great experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You must have had so much FUN with this! I loved all the details–so clever, using odds and ends, and so creative. The little books are definitely the stars–using stamps and stickers as covers was brilliant!

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    • Thank you, Kerry! I had the usual stresses of “am I getting this right”, but somehow returning from the craft store with just paint and my imagination set my on the creative path. From there it was a joy. It’s been awhile since I lost myself in a project. I must do more!

      The little books are a hit with everyone. That feels really special, too.

      Liked by 1 person

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